Here comes the bride… baby and toddler? Organise your dream child-friendly wedding with these expert tips
If you’re already a parent when you get hitched, chances are that dancing and having photos with your baby or toddler on the big day will be up there with your best memories of it.
Still, there’s also a good chance that, just like your friend’s new boyfriend or that aunt you rarely see, your child won’t be swotting up on wedding guest etiquette anytime soon.
But with a bit of prep, the right attitude and some props, you can make it a brilliant family day for all of you – and still find time to dance to the YMCA.
1. Involve your child in the prep
Whether you’re looking at flowers or making table favours, it can be nice to include your toddler in the activity – if you have time.
‘If you have a few hours to make 50 tissue paper pom poms, then it may be best to do it by yourself,’ says Carrie Mitchell, co-founder of online wedding magazine and planning service Union & Co. ‘But if you’re not on a deadline, then why not turn it into an arts and crafts session – just make sure you have extra materials so you have plenty to work with.’
And your toddler can always have her own very special (but very separate) table plan to work on.
2. If you give her a role on the day…
Practice beforehand so she knows what to expect and enlist some help. ‘In your head, your flower girl will walk angelically down the aisle, but realistically she may cry, spill something or fall over,’ says Carrie.
‘Perhaps ask a relative or bridesmaid to hold her hand or look after her with a toy and wipes handy for the ceremony.’ It’ll help you relax and feel more prepared.
And don’t worry if she changes her mind – we all know toddlers do their own thing, so it’s much less stressful just to go with it.
3. Recruit a babysitter
Ask someone if they wouldn’t mind looking after your baby on the day – maybe a relative or godparent. Or, even a group of them.
Ask someone if they wouldn’t mind looking after your baby on the day
‘It’s just about giving you a little time as a couple and also with your guests,’ says Carrie.
‘Choose a relative or friend your child knows and trusts so if she needs the loo or it’s bedtime, she’s happy to go with them.’
4. Plan your baby’s schedule
Canapés for hours, endless photos and being desperate for the toilet during a 45-minute speech. Weddings = a very long day. And you’re not a two year old.
So, while you’re organising your own timings, do a separate schedule for your child.
‘Factor in feeds, naps and bedtimes, even if someone else will be doing them for you,’ says Carrie. ‘Yes, you’re going to owe your designated babysitter big time but that’s why it’s important to choose a loved one. They’re less likely to mind!’
5. Be food savvy
Most venues will have no qualms about rustling up a simple children’s meal or heating up something you give them.
‘Warn the caterer if you’ll be doing this, though,’ says Carrie. ‘No chef will want to heat up baby food at the last minute when he’s trying to prepare a meal for 100 people.’
6. Think about entertainment
You get Take That on repeat – it’s only fair she has something too, right?
‘If you’ve got a few little ones at your wedding, make up party bags, including games, crayons, paper and a small toy,’ says Carrie.
‘If your budget allows, there are also great wedding crèches out there – companies like Artfull Splodgers offer professional child carers who come with toys, games and entertainment, so you can party on knowing the kids are well looked after.’
What are your tips for having children at a wedding? Let us know in the comments box below.