11 months ago

Open Air Business February 2018

The UK's outdoor hospitality business magazine for function venues, glamping, festivals and outdoor events


FUNCTION VENUES Hosting Keeping all your wedding guests happy – how your venue can best host children with Kelly Chandler 18 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM

FUNCTION VENUES GETTY IMAGES GETTY IMAGES TODAY’S WEDDING MORE than ever is likely to be a true family affair and by that we’re talking a greater likelihood that the bridal couples themselves, or certainly some of their closest friends, siblings and bridal party will have young children. Bearing in mind that the average age of couples marrying is now 30.8, and increases slightly annually, and the fact that the largest proportion of couples have been an item for more than five years, many more wedding celebrations are now focused on relaxed, family friendly fun. As an ambitious wedding hosting venue looking to get ahead and beat the competition you need to look at how you provide for children so that you’ve got a solution before you’re asked, and right from your early marketing. Bear in mind that your couples with their own young children are likely to have very busy schedules and a lot of demands so the more you can help them with preconsidered ideas the better. This applies equally to those couples who don't have their own children but know they need to make plans for their young guests and can often feel overwhelmed and inexperienced in not knowing what the options are. Today’s feature is brought to you in partnership with Stephanie Wallis, childcare expert and owner/ founder of Safe & Sound Events, who is the go-to provider for many an independent wedding planner (myself included) seeking the most professional, varied, creative and safe childcare solution for their clients’ weddings. THE VENUE “STANDARD” Lack of facilities and activities involving a few crayons and paper alongside some games bought from the local store just don’t cut it for the modern wedding, but it’s sadly what’s on offer still at many events. If this sounds familiar then I’m afraid you (and/ or your couples) are likely to find the little ones running amok causing mayhem and ultimately spoiling the event for everyone, staff included, through no fault of their own. A higher standard of provision is a must! It’s worth your venue looking at your terms and conditions also as literally ‘left holding the baby’ is something you are not insured for, neither is an entertainer solely in charge of the children or the obligatory bouncy castle sufficient. Bear in mind too that an entertainer/bouncy castle might provide up to two hours' entertainment, which is great for a typical kid's birthday party but nowhere near long enough for a 10 hour wedding day! TO GET IT RIGHT HERE ARE OUR TOP TIPS FOR VENUES: 1 SPACE So often enough space for children to play is just not considered. With crèche supervision, children often move areas during a wedding to utilise the best spaces for the numbers as the wedding progresses through the schedule. This gives great variety for the kids, gets them out and about in the fresh air (always good for sleeping later on!) and enjoying the venue and all its spaces under safe supervision while being sensitive to the goingson and schedule of the main wedding celebration. Make sure to think about key spaces that are child friendly. 2 HIGHCHAIRS AND SEATING Highchairs are often provided by venues but are not necessarily the best style and may be missing straps. This is a real health and safety issue. Style is often chosen for the look rather than for the practicality, and many highchairs are only suitable for children who can sit upright. There are styles of booster seats to consider which offer a better alternative for varying ages of babies and toddlers. Just as you consider the style of the chair for your adult guests, the same consideration should happen for their children. WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM 19