Summer is here! Wedding invitations abound.
I love attending weddings. I love to dress up and visit beautiful venues. Weddings are a chance to gather with friends and family to celebrate love. The good food and music add to my enjoyment. However, having children makes attending weddings much more difficult. I have survived numerous weddings with my children in tow. Here are my tips to make any wedding as enjoyable as possible.
First, read the wedding invitation carefully.
If children are not welcome at a wedding, do not bring them! It is the couple’s choice if they want to allow children at the wedding. You can either hire a babysitter for your children or choose not to attend. Some invitations are unclear, though. If that is the case, you should reach out to the couple and ask if children are welcome, or not. You will not enjoy a wedding if everyone there is giving you the stink eye for bringing your kids.
If you are unfamiliar with the wedding venue, ask for more details.
Even if kids are welcome, it’s still helpful to reach out to the couple and find out some information about the venue. For example, my husband and I attended an out-of-town wedding when our children were 13 months and 2 and a half years old. After talking to the couple, I found out that the church had a crying room where I could watch the ceremony and my children could make as much noise as they wanted without bothering anyone.
If you have picky eaters, ask about the food.
If there are limited food options, your children may not like any of them. My kids hate “fancy” food, so I know they won’t eat it. If your kids won’t eat the food at a wedding, you have two options. You can either feed your children before and/or after the wedding, or you can bring along food for them. The best solution really depends on the specific situation. On the other hand, if there is a buffet or a choice of food items, your children will most likely find plenty to eat. At one wedding, my children mostly ate rolls and cake, but at least they weren’t hungry!
Bring extra clothes!
Bring a complete change of clothes for each of your children. You don’t want to look back at pictures of your children covered in spaghetti sauce, juice, or whatever else they managed to spill on themselves. For that matter, you may also want to bring a change of clothes for yourself too, just to be on the safe side. Kids sitting on your lap tend to also spill food on your lap. My children managed to find a stream to play in at my brother’s wedding. Luckily, that was after the pictures were taken!
Bring entertainment options for your children.
Quiet things, such as coloring or sticker books are great options for when everyone is sitting at a table, waiting for food. If your kid can play quietly on a phone or tablet, that is also an easy option. I tend to avoid this because my children tend to get noisy with these devices. If there is a separate space available, hiring a babysitter for all the children may make the most sense. If the wedding ceremony is held at a church, there is often a nursery room available with plenty of toys to entertain young ones.
Be prepared to leave early.
Children can only be on their best behavior for so long. Weddings and receptions can make for a very long day, especially if you spent the night at a hotel, where it is more difficult to get a good night’s rest. When my children start to get whiny and restless, that is my cue that it’s time to wrap things up and leave. As they get more tired, children’s behavior will only go downhill. Everyone will understand why you need to leave when you have tired children with you. They will almost certainly support your early exit, as overtired children are no fun for anyone.