La Mela (trans. The Apple)
Italians love their bambini! They are the apple of their eye, the core of family and the center of attention and as such they reap all the benefits of the adult world: they get to stay up late, they get to go to all the parties, they even have control of the TV remote. Anywhere you go, there are always some little rascals running around bringing joy to their parents’ hearts. They are especially cherished at weddings: a pat on a child’s head is the ultimate good luck charm for bride and groom. The traditional (and a little chauvinistic) wedding wish in Italy is: Auguri e figli maschi! (congratulations and fingers-crossed it’ll be a boy!)
But sometimes the adult view of a ‘good time’ is too far away from a child’s conception of fun. Weddings fall into the category of unbearable events for kids. Sitting still for an hour-long Catholic mass in a stone-cold church or waiting out a forty-minute civil ceremony are a test of tolerance even for the best-behaved. Those yawns of sheer boredom, that non-stop whining for the end of it all; sulking, sassing, and sighing, all they get from their parents is reassurance that the never-ending end is near. From fidgeting, to fussing, to festering, the little ones keep mommy and daddy (and guests!) on their toes by wandering off and getting into any trouble they can find. Soaking themselves in a basin of holy water, climbing up (and slipping off!) medieval statues, running up and down the bridal aisle, picking flowers from carefully placed (and costly!) decorations – these miniature guests (read: pests) get to the reception venue on high energy and low obedience. And in the meantime their disheveled parents – moms ready to secretly slip off the heels and dads ready to hang out with the boys puffing on a celebratory cigar – are hoping and praying that the children will find non-life-threatening activity to keep themselves busy…
The golden apple
Precious relief for parents and guests alike is to provide entertainment for the youngsters. Affordable costs and priceless value, there are plenty of clowns, play groups, and actors ready to tire out the kiddies, keeping them busy for two to three hours or more, like Born to Life a babysitting company serving Florence and Bologna.
Balloon blowers, song singers, role players, magicians, clowns, dj’s: even if your wedding is in a remote countryside castle, the entertainment squad can reach the venue for a reasonable price and make your wedding party enjoyable and memorable for everyone.
Your wedding invitations may include a separate card to survey for age ranges and scout out popular themes, here are some examples:
Harry Potter games (ages 8 to 12) split the children into the 4 houses of Hogwart and they play magical games that aspiring wizards thoroughly enjoy.
The Treasure Hunt (ages 8 to 12) involves solving puzzles and guessing clues, aimed at finding the valuable treasure to be shared with everyone.
Star Wars (ages 8 to 12) engages everyone in being a part of the universe, discovering new planets and asteroids, competing against each other in outer space games.
Storyteller (3 to 6) stories and fables which amaze and engage even those who try not to believe.
Princes, Princesses and Dragons (3 to 7) dress-ups and dancing in a magic kingdom.
If you’re not sure of what’s ‘in’ with the teens, go for ‘Art Attack‘ – arts and crafts for all ages.
If you just want to tire them out so they’ll mellow out at a certain point, ‘Baby Disco‘ will wear them out for sure.
Entertainers provide materials including balloons, specialty art supplies, child-friendly make-up, favors and prizes, you need to provide the space. If children on your guest list figure at least 10% of the total number, this addition to your budget will make the difference for remembering your wedding celebration as one in a million and ensuring that everyone lives happily ever after!