When it comes to feeding children at your wedding, I am talking about children between the ages of two and 10 years old. Children under two years old could be at any stage of weaning, depending on their parents, so it is best to tell their parents to bring their own sealed, shop bought food for the caterer to heat through for them (note: NOT homemade, as a commercial kitchen won’t allow it because of contamination risk). Children over 10 should get an adult meal, or at least something that looks the same, but it is likely that your caterer will insist on this anyway.
The good news is that wedding catering has (thankfully!) moved on from the old staple children’s ‘chicken and chips’ menus of old. Parents will thank you for taking time to choose appropriate and nutritious option for their little ones, and the children themselves will be happier and better behaved if they have a good balance of food inside them.
So, here are five golden rules for feeding children at your wedding…
Feed Children Early
I cannot stress enough how important it is to feed children as early as possible. At the very least you should make sure parents know exactly when their children will eat so they can fit this into their routine – trust me, they will have a routine! As a general rule of thumb think no later than 8am breakfast, midday lunch, 3pm snacks and 5pm dinner.
Feed Children Often
Without good sustenance and plenty of water, young children will tire very quickly. A tired, hungry child is a grumpy and badly behaved one, and a badly behaved child means tired and grumpy parents. I know many parents who have a bag of emergency snacks at the ready throughout the day.
Avoid Orange Juice and Fizzy Pop
Sugar is not the only nasty side effect of these items on a little tummy. Too much acidic orange juice or bubbles mixed with jumping up and down on the dance floor is a recipe for a vomit cocktail. Organic apple juice, elderflower, water and cartons of diluted squash are much better.
Keep it Simple
Simple flavours and simple, fresh ingredients are perfect for even the fussiest of young palettes. You might not dream of feeding cheese on toast or carrot sticks to your adult guests, but young children will adore them. Simplicity also helps to take allergies into account. Remember that simple doesn’t have to mean nuggets and chips (urgh).
Make it Special
Have fun! You can be really creative with the children’s food at your wedding. Picnic boxes with their names on for them to graze at throughout the day, special plates with faces on them, cocktails designed just for them, a special ‘kids only buffet’… make them feel as special as they are.
For more advice read Catering for Children at Your Wedding.
Guest post by Lucy Pask
Image from Hayley Ruth Photography