Keeping Kids Happy at the Wedding

September 7, 2019
Wenjie Han, of New York, is a wedding photographer for

Photo by: Wenjie Han, New York, United States

A wedding is a special event for all involved, and children are no exception. With little boys suiting up in tuxedos and young girls stepping into gowns layered in satin and lace, it’s a milestone for your smallest guests as well. It’s that rare occasion when they receive a glimpse into the adult world in all its ceremonial splendor. But in the thick of wedding planning, many brides and grooms often forget the little ones. Well, you need not be one of the forgetful.

With a bit of forethought, you can help create an environment at your wedding that allows your wedding photojournalist to capture your smallest guests at their best. It’s well worth the effort. The innocence and spontaneity of children can make for colorful, unique memories and photographs. A bright-eyed ring bearer teasing the flower girl symbolizes the carefree and overtly joyous tone of the entire day.

Linda Bouritius, of Utrecht, is a wedding photographer for Zeist, the Netherlands

Photo by: Linda Bouritius, Utrecht, Netherlands

THE KIDS’ TIME

Some couples start off the reception on a good note by handing out goodie bags to the children. Some of our award-winning members have noticed that children who were provided with something to do or entertain themselves with, such as treat baskets, toys, building materials, balloons, etc., stayed preoccupied, busy and entertained throughout the duration of the wedding. 

Annie Kheffache, of Dublin, is a wedding photographer for Medley, Dublin, Ireland

Photo by: Annie Kheffache, Dublin, Ireland

It’s common for parents to expend a great deal of energy trying to keep their little ones “in line” during a wedding. Doing so can make both adults and children high-strung and put everyone on edge. Help to avoid unforeseen disruptions by having a separate area for the kids during the reception. This does not mean have a romp-roaring play center. The idea is to create an enjoyable environment for the children as well as the adults so that both can relax and enjoy your big day.

Daniele Borghello, of Padova, is a wedding photographer for San Floriano al Collio Church - Italy

Photo by: Daniele Borghello, Padova, Italy

Some of our members have recommended separating tables and “kid food” buffets with treats such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (crust trimmed), chicken nuggets, pizza towers, chopped fruit, and macaroni and cheese. While it’s customary (as well as polite) for the photographer not to take pictures of the adult guests while they’re eating, the same does not hold true at the children’s table. Members have gone on to say that some of the best photos of children are taken at the kid tables, where you are sure to catch kids having fun and goofing around with their siblings and friends during a time when the adult guests do not want to be photographed.

Julie Ambos, of Florida, is a wedding photographer for Key West

Photo by: Julie Ambos, Florida, United States

The goal is to accommodate the adults and the children, and the latter should not be left entirely to their own devices. It’s advisable that someone manages the kids’ table and does damage control so the parents aren’t worrying about them. For a smaller group, this may come in the form of an older brother or sister, and for a larger group, you’ll want to hire a babysitter. Whichever way, the goal is to maintain some semblance of civility. WPJA members have shared their experiences saying that when a kid table is provided, its spirited occupants can be as messy as they want to be, notwithstanding a food fight, and their parents can partake in adult conversation.

If you’re inviting more than eight underage guests, you should consider designating a room at the reception for them. This space would be filled with toys and entertainment and monitored by a babysitter. Our members have commented on this kind of setup, saying that when children have their own special room at the reception full of things for them to play with, such as Playdough, dolls, puzzles, games, or even a TV with movies for them to watch, the children are able to relax and enjoy themselves away from the more grown-up atmosphere of the main reception.

Lyndsey Goddard, of London, is a wedding photographer for Kensington Town Hall

Photo by: Lyndsey Goddard, London, United Kingdom

TAKE THE LEAD

Your guests will take a cue from you. Relieve them and yourself of unnecessary stress by conveying to them ahead of time that the kids can act like kids at your wedding, barring tantrums and unwieldy behavior. Yet, sometimes a child acting a little rambunctious or out of line can make a really great photograph.

Alex Paul, of Massachusetts, is a wedding photographer for Nantucket, MA

Photo by: Alex Paul, Massachusetts, United States

Children are full of creativity. They can be fun and capricious. In front of the camera, they can be honest and alive—a photographer’s ideal subject. Creating an environment at your wedding where they can be themselves will help to create moments that embody the festive spirit of the special day.

Miguel Gonzalez, of Pennsylvania, is a wedding photographer for The Brownstone , Paterson, NJ

Photo by: Miguel Gonzalez, Pennsylvania, United States