Let's be honest, when it comes to the issue of kids at your wedding (with the exception of your own...at a push), every bride dreads the possibility that they may have to endure screams throughout the all-important ceremony, or food fights during the speeches.
You might have to have your best friends children as page boy or flower girl, or maybe you have little baby cousins that MUST be invited? It's not all fear and dread though. There are a few simple tricks and tips that will get you, and them, through your big day...
During the ceremony:
Top tip: The best way to keep the kids entertained is to give them something to do. After all, a wedding is not the most riveting event for a child. Making sure they have a good time is the best way to avoid whinging and crying during your nuptials. Keeping them quietly entertained with simple distractions like picture books, sugar-free sweets and soft toys is definitely the way forward. Tell your ushers to hand out the treats to parents with small kids and seat families with young children in the back row or on the aisle, so they can make a quick exit if needs be.
If you have made the promise to a friend or relative that their child is to walk down the aisle as page boy or flower girl, make sure they are either at the end of the aisle, out of sight of the cameras but in view of their child. It will give them an incentive to walk quickly and properly.
During the meal & speeches:
Top tips: They might push their food round the plate, or guzzle it in a couple of minutes. Then what? Give them something to do with a little kids activity pack favour and fill it with crayons, colouring books, a disposable camera and a check list of what pics they need to capture. A fun task will keep them entertained and make them feel involved. Plus, the parents will thank you for it too. When it comes to toasting the speeches, as a little extra, why not serve the kids a champagne flute full of milk with a yummy cookie on the top.
You could always have a little kids table, with a paid-for babysitter or nanny to keep them company and entertained during certain moments of the wedding.
Top tips: The party might just be getting started for the adults, but the little ones are probably ready to wind down. Just corner off a section of a safe part of the venue, scatter some cushions and blankets around and have a table with colouring in activities, sweets, drinks and floor games. You could even set up a TV/DVD set and put on a film for them too. This way the kids get to do what they please (even sleep if they want to!), while Mum and Dad hit the dance floor.
Alternatively, you could be brave and opt for a 'no kids' rule but be prepared for the potential politics it could cause.