Having children at a wedding can be a tricky business. It’s a situation no one truly wants; weddings are almost designed to be boring for anyone under 15 and the parents want the freedom to have drink and dance and have fun without worrying that their little darling might be trying to lick all the icing off the wedding cake. Many people opt for an adults only wedding policy, but if you have children in your immediate family or some yourself, it can be tricky to exclude them, especially if the wedding is far from home.

There are ways of making your wedding child-friendly however. If you want to make the day magical for the children and stress free for the parents, give the kids a separate party from the wedding. Hotels often have smaller function rooms available where you can set up a kids table away from the main reception, allowing them to run around and make noise without disrupting the speeches.

Children at weddings tend to be of all ages and it can be hard to find suitable entertainment for them all, so depending on how many kids are there you may need several babysitters to organise the different groups. Set up the table with crayons and colouring books, and arrange for a variety of games and activities. Set up an arts and crafts table where the kids can make their own wedding souvenirs. Bring a few board games for the older kids, and ask parents to bring along a few toys so the children can play their own games if they want.

If it’s a nice day there are even more options. There are several companies around Ireland that rent mobile play places for less than €15 per child with slides, ball pits and climbing frames. And you can’t go wrong with a bouncy castle - for kids or adults. Follow it up with scavenger hunts, hide and seek and races and they’ll all be nicely tired out by the end of the evening.

Finally and most importantly, have several DVDs ready to go for when they start to get tired. Choose movies that all ages will like so that everyone can join in. Pillows and blankets set up on the floor after dinner will give the party a sleepover feel, and the kids will be able to lie down and relax until their parents are ready to collect them. The perfect day for everyone.

- Emer Sugrue

Image Credits: Kids Table: Kristyn Hogan | Scavanger Hunt: Angela Brinkley | Crayons: PartySpace.com | Arts and Crafts: Heather Maddan | Colouring Book: Lovelyindeed.com | Bouncy Castle Couple: Emma Case | Bouncy Castle Flower Girls: Rebecca Douglas