How to enjoy a wedding when you’re bringing young children
Blossom, green leaves, windswept sunshine – spring is peeking out at us at last, and with it comes Wedding Season! You may have already found hefty, linen-lined envelopes dropping onto the doormat, inviting you to champagne receptions, glorious rural banquets, or chic city hotels to celebrate with friends and family.
So far, so good – but if you have young children, what used to be an excuse for a huge party with your besties can become a minefield of parenting etiquette.
No matter how creative you are, weddings don’t come cheap. The time, effort and money invested by the bride and groom and their families matter to you – as their friends, you want to honour that by making the day go as smoothly and joyfully as possible. After all, marriage is a cornerstone of our culture, and celebrates family and community – so there must be a way for everybody to enjoy a wedding!
What to wear
Dressing your best is one of the ways we recognise the significance of a wedding day – and your little ones shouldn’t be any different. Every girl has something they simply love to wear: maybe a favourite dress, or perhaps their most fabulous shoes? If your daughter isn’t the frock type, she might enjoy choosing an accessory (like a new necklace, hair ornament or bag) to team with her jeans, and make her outfit extra special.
A waistcoat and tie dresses up a casual shirt and trousers so that your little boy looks the part on the day, too – you don’t need to spend much to create a wedding outfit which they can wear to every formal occasion throughout the year – and since many weddings have group photos taken, it’s a lovely way to show the bride and groom that your whole family appreciate the day.
Whatever the children wear, remember to make it comfortable, with various layers to keep warm during the inevitable chilly photos outside of the church or temple. A few extra changes are a good idea too, especially for babies.
What to give
When you’re browsing the gift list, involve your children in choosing the present you’re buying. Alternatively they may like to give something small themselves, like one of our sweet glass hearts.
Or even a handmade card or picture. Most of us no longer have the pepper mill from Aunty Jo, or vase from Graham in Accounts, but a lovingly hand drawn picture of the bride and groom with a bouquet will stay on the fridge for a very long time!
What to bring
Food is at the heart of every wedding – it’s a feast day after all! – so making sure that your children are well fed and watered is completely in the spirit of the event. Bring easy snacks like dried fruit and cereal for the service, and to hold hunger at bay in the long wait for the meal to begin later on.
There’s often a special menu for the children at the reception – check this out when you receive your invitation – and if it’s just smoked salmon and consommé on offer, pack some sandwiches and a cereal bar!
Baby wipes are crucial to keeping that wedding outfit looking snappy for longer, so bring those too, along with a favourite read, colouring books and pencils in case they need some help to get them from “I do” to the disco…
What to expect
It may be a long day, with possibly quite a bit of travelling to various venues, and you can find out about the facilities before you go, such as whether there’ll be room to park buggies, or a microwave to heat milk. Aim to enjoy it where you can, and don’t require perfection. Your family have been invited because you’re special to the happy couple – they want to include you at the very start of their own adventure together, and that’s something to celebrate!