The decision to have children at your wedding is a completely personal choice. We have many couples who choose not to have them at their day but sometimes we also have weddings where the number of children can almost match the adults!
Dodmoor House is family run; Mark and Louise who own the venue have two teenage daughters of their own who were teeny tiny when the venue first opened so there is an emphasis of including everyone in wedding fun where we can.
There are lots of ways to make little ones all the way through to teenagers feel included in your special day and here are some of our favourites:
Flower girls and page boys almost steal the show in any aisle walk. Cute dresses, little signs and the look on their faces bring a smile to everyone in the barn.
It can be quite a task getting a very young member of the aisle walk to actually walk down the aisle, so we encourage practising before guests arrive to ease any nerves as well as make sure there are members of the team on hand to guide them across the courtyard (we'll never forget when one little flower girl RAN away from the whole wedding midway through the aisle walk, luckily everyone was howling with laughter as we chased her to get her back in position)! The other option can be to pair them with an older bridesmaid who can hold their hand and give them guidance.
Games and Toys
Whilst all the photos are being taken, we usually find children running around and playing games. We provide a few games such as giant Jenga, croquet and boules down on the lawn and in the courtyard but we encourage you to bring other games you know they love (space hoppers always go down a treat)!
We have a rug and toybox that can be set up in the Courtyard Barn if you have some tiny toddlers around that allow parents to be close by whilst sipping on a Prosecco and have even set up activity tables for colouring and Lego.
We even has our own "I Spy" game in which we give the children their own cards and they can run around and find all the items on the list, ticking them off as they go along to become the winner. A great way to keep them occupied for 20 minutes!
The Dodford Room will be tidied up and allow the children space to play inside if needed, there is a sofa, TV and DVD player for a more quiet atmosphere if needed!
Drinks and Food
We always recommend providing some soft drinks throughout your day for the children. Our no corkage period means you can provide these at no cost to the guests throughout the day and the our Unlimited Drinks Packages cover soft drinks too.
We are more than happy to make up jugs of mocktails for you or we can pop small bottles of things such as fruit shoots, J2O's or cans of pop into our copper trough.
During speeches, it can really make children and teenagers feel like particularly grown up if they can have a drink for toasting too! We love things such as lemonade with colourful cordials or orange juice with a drop of grenadine. Don't worry about the glassware - we have some plastic flutes to avoid breakages.
Keeping children happy usually means ensuring they aren't hungry! If you aren't having canapes, why not provide some nibbles for everyone to tide them over until dinner?
Sweet tables in the evening are still a massive hit at weddings this year and children go mad for them, every single time!
Games and Activities
Sitting down for what can be a two hour meal and then speeches can even make some adults get a bit restless so we completely understand that children get a bit annoyed, when there's so much fun to be had outside running around!
Activity packs on the tables are always a hit and they can come in so many fun ways now! We've seen personalised place mats with lots of different games, story books which need colouring in and even little crafts to be made at the table. One thing we do kindly ask is that your packs use colouring pencils and not felt tip pens or wax crayons! Unfortunately these things can stain table cloths and you may end up being charged for them by your caterers, which is the last thing we want.
Children love a disco! If you timings allow why not ask your DJ to do a kid friendly set for 30/45 minutes prior to the cake cut and first dance before the adults take over.
Get the professionals in!
There are so many wedding suppliers out there, but have you ever thought of using one dedicated to entertaining children? We've had couples provide mini golf courses, petting zoos, bouncy castles and even magicians to do magic shows in the Dodford Room during speeches (just remember an adult or two will need to also be present)!
For teenagers, we find arcade games are great and we've even had Nintendo Switch stations set up in the Courtyard Barn!
Sweetheart Nannies come to us quite a lot, providing a soft play area in the Dodford Room and supervising the children until late into the night!