Around the age of 25 I realised I had definitely reached adulthood as wedding invitations started gracing my door mat in abundance. Pre – children I loved weddings. Seriously, what’s not to love? A slap up meal, a few (ahem – several!) glasses of bubbly, catching up with friends and family, a party and boozing into the wee hours. Pre-sproglets, the only thing not to like about matrimonial celebrations was the morning after.
So a couple of months ago when my big brother got hitched and my entourage consisted of an 8 month old and a three year old, I’ll be honest, there was a slight feeling of dread. I wasn’t too worried about Baba as she was still immobile then so the level of havoc she could create was on a smaller scale. Sure there was always the chance of a screaming fit of epic proportions that would give a group of banshees a run for their money but Lucy is pretty chilled out so this was unlikely. The pre-schooler on the other hand; well, this is the child that rarely sits still for more than 0.03 seconds, is always charging about so consequently crashes in his bed by 7pm at the latest. Coupled with this, it was to be our first night snoozing (well attempting to snooze) in a family room. Yes that’s right – ALL of my children sleeping in one room – kill me now.
But…. apart from Sebastian categorically refusing to play his part as ring bearer (I made a lovely stand in page boy if I do say so myself) the trauma I was building myself up to did not materialise.
Here are my top tips for surviving a wedding with children in tow:
1. LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU
Bored children do not make for happy children and sitting quietly through a wedding ceremony and formal meal do not feature highly in a child’s top ten list of fun things to do! We were lucky, my sister-in-law was super organised with a play tent and boxes packed full of toys for the little ‘uns but if in doubt pack LOADS of toys. Also don’t forget your smart phone. Post – ring bearer meltdown Sebastian was a tad emotional during the ceremony but the Peppa Pig painting app kept him quiet throughout the legalities.
2. YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
A wedding day is not, I repeat NOT, the day to worry about your mini me’s getting their full quota of veg. Pretty sure Sebastian ate his weight in crisps throughout the day but hey, it was only one day! In fact, during a post ceremony energy level slump I high tailed it back to our room to grab some sugary goodness to stuff into the three year old. We’re getting through this day with as few dramas as possible here people not winning parenting awards!
3. NIGHT FEVER
If, like me, you have a completely hyperactive sproglet then the evening’s dancing entertainment is where you can start to relax. Grandparents, Aunts, cousins, work colleagues, complete strangers will all be amused by a three year cutting some serious moves on the dance floor. Let them enjoy it i.e. they get their groove on while you recline with a glass of vino supervising (AKA parenting) from your pew.
4. BOOB OR BUST
If you are breastfeeding make sure you wear something that affords easy access to the girls. With all the noise, celebrations and liveliness of the day you may well find baby wants to feed a bit more than usual. I’ve never been worried about feeding in public so this didn’t bother me but I can assure you a screaming baby attracts a heck of a lot more attention than a feeding baby.
5. PREPARATION IS KEY
We let the sproglets stay up until they were just about ready to completely crash out rather than attempt to coerce them into peaceful slumber with the noise of a party in full swing directly beneath them. Sebastian started losing the plot at around 10pm and Lucy just snoozed on us throughout the evening – the noise of the disco evidently provided a comforting noise background – hey whatever works! We made sure our room was good to go before the evening celebrations started so we literally chucked them in some PJs and plopped them into bed. If you catch the golden moment right just before they lose their mind but are exhausted you don’t want to be faffing about moving bags, clothes and shoes out of the way.
So if you’re facing the prospect of taking your offspring to matrimonial celebrations this year rest assured it’s really not that bad. However, as with all things to do with parenting, we may have just been lucky and another day, another mood and it could have all been so different!