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Open Air Business February 2018

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

FUNCTION VENUES 3

FUNCTION VENUES 3 TABLEWARE Standard cutlery is usually of the size to be able to perform a tonsillectomy on the average small child! They really don’t need the full setting of an adult - we appreciate that it makes the table look lovely, all matching, but what do the parents do with a mountain of items they can’t use? There are some lovely sets of metal children’s cutlery available and plastic cutlery can always be laid out after the photographer has taken all the shots or handed over to the parents once seated. Long stemmed glasses are not required either! Invest or ask your caterer to provide plastic cups for the kids – there are some beautiful designs for children and it’s a lovely gesture to put some effort into colourful pretty items. If children are invited to a wedding they are important guests, and while their needs are different, this is a chance to treat them just as well, with thought put into their table just as effort is put into flowers and so on for the adults’ tables. FEEDING THE 4 LITTLE ONES Food for children; chicken goujons and chips is so outdated, tomato pasta is not great for beautiful wedding clothes... This area really needs updating and to be put together with the chef. Many children have a well-educated pallet and are rarely brought up on the outdated idea of ‘traditional GETTY IMAGES children’s food’. Having said that, chips are always a hit as they are often a real treat! The size of the portions in line with costs needs to be updated too. The average two year old eats at least half that of a 10 year old but usually all children are classified as one. It’s worth having at least two different portion sizes for the age range, with the appropriate costs attached. THE FUN STUFF 5If your venue is offering toys and games they need to be well maintained, compliant with all the various regulations and actually worth playing with. As mentioned previously, colouring is just not enough! Bear in mind that a wedding day can typically run from 2pm to midnight, which is a lot of time to fill and variety is key. GETTY IMAGES ABOUT THE AUTHOR Kelly Chandler is a long-term preferred service provider for exclusive venues such as Syon Park, Highclere Castle, Spencer House and Stoke Park Club. Kelly’s consulting services to wedding venues draw on prior experience in international conference and event planning, over 13 years of business management, and working directly with discerning couples planning their weddings in diverse locations and forging successful relationships with all components of the wedding industry. A former director of trade body, the Alliance of Wedding Planners, Kelly is a well-regarded innovator, mentor, trainer and industry spokesperson on and in the wedding business. www. kellychandler consulting.co.uk 6 SLEEPTIME It’s the evening in particular when an outside childcare specialist can really make all the difference. From 7pm onwards little ones are usually heading for bed, so what can be done in a wedding environment? Historically parents would leave the party early or carry on but with unhappy exhausted children. How much better for there to be a supervised “film night” zone with comfy bean bags and a DVD for the older ones to watch and floor mattresses and sleeping bags for the little ones to drop off to sleep until parents are ready to leave the party – everyone is happy this way, and most importantly, safe. 7 PROFESSIONAL HELP The biggest key to a smoothrunning event with children is actually the professional supervision of the children and not just the provision of a child size meal or highchairs. If the children are occupied and made a greater part of the event, then everyone will be happy! And all the wedding surveys on current wedding customer behavior indicate that comfort, looking after one’s guests and being great hosts are very high up the modern couple’s wedding needs agenda. How proactive is your venue in suggesting entertainment and childcare for your clients’ weddings? Most of the time young couples without children do not have an understanding of the complexities of what’s required so do need a lot of advice and guidance as to the right provision for them. As an event childcare company, Safe & Sound Events offers the perfect solution to not only consult with venues, enabling them to offer a higher standard of service, but to also remove any logistical nightmares when inviting children to events. MORE INFORMATION For more information on event childcare and Safe & Sound Events, do contact Stephanie on stephanie@ safeandsoundevents.com and www.safeandsoundevents.com 20 WWW.OPENAIRBUSINESS.COM

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