Tips for Bringing Kids to a Wedding
My boys were in their first wedding this past weekend. My brother-in-law, their beloved uncle, got married and wanted the boys to be a part of it all. There has been much excitement leading up to this event from getting fitted for tuxes to practicing our dance moves in the kitchen. Overall, the weekend was a great success. The boys both walked down the aisle with no problems, they didn’t complain about their shoes as I’d anticipated and they danced the night away, staying at the wedding reception almost until the very end. Ben even debuted some breakdancing moves I didn’t know he had.
The weekend was not all sunshine and roses though. The novelty of sleeping in a hotel got the better of them and my boys turned into giggling, wrestling heathens until almost 10:00 p.m. the first night we were there. Couple that with a quick and too early wake up the next morning to be dressed and at church (to which they are not accustomed to going) by 8:00 a.m. and you have a recipe for disaster. I think the day before the wedding was one of the most difficult days I’ve had as a parent thus far (and I’m pretty sure my husband would agree). As it was happening, I was writing this post in my head and have some tips or suggestions to share if and when your little ones are invited to or asked to be in a wedding.
Tips for Bringing Kids to a Wedding
1. Choose your battles. Ben did not want to keep his shirt tucked in, neither for the rehearsal nor the ceremony. I kept tucking it in, and he kept untucking. Eventually for the rehearsal I gave up and let him be disheveled and for the ceremony made him tuck it only for the walk down the aisle and photos. After that, he was welcome to do whatever he pleased.
2. Speaking of photos, be sparing with your own. I wanted to capture every second of the process…getting dressed, practice, riding in the limo etc. and Ben wanted no part of the photos. I kept asking him to pose, and he kept whining about it. It made it difficult when the photographer asked him to do the same. He was just done. We agreed that if he smiled nicely for the photographer, I wouldn’t take any more photos of him (that he knew of!).
3. Bend the rules. I generally don’t let my kids use electronic devices when we’re in the company of others, especially in restaurants. But being on their best behavior for so long, and all of the hurry up and wait that accompanies weddings made for very long days. I gave in and let them play on my phone once in a while to allow them some downtime (and let’s be honest, me too). I think part of the stress was that my husband and I were not relaxed enough. We were expecting our children to behave perfectly and they just had other plans.
4. If you can, bring a babysitter. My parents were invited guests to the wedding and thank goodness for that. We’d already discussed ahead of time that they would take the boys back to our adjoining hotel rooms when need be. Since my husband was the Best Man, having them there allowed both of us to perform the duties we needed to and also kick back and have fun. They enjoyed being part of the boys’ experience, and we appreciated the break. Older cousins and other family members were helpful as well. You can also check in with the bride and groom to see if they know anyone if the area if you don’t have a family member or friend to help out.
5. New toys/games/books can be great distractions. At both the rehearsal luncheon and the wedding reception, the bride and groom provided all of the kids (there were three others in addition to mine) with a bag full of coloring books, stickers and other easy, not messy craft projects. These bags were LIFESAVERS. I could have brought my own, but because they were NEW and part of a gift, they did the trick of keeping them occupied. A quick stop at the Target $1 bins or the dollar store before the wedding might make a big difference.
6. This goes without saying, but try to enjoy yourself and your children. It really is a great feeling to have your whole family on the dance floor or to see the joy on other family members faces as they watch the kids walk down the aisle. Being in a wedding is a really special thing and something most kids won’t do more than once. Take as many photos as your children will allow, but just live in the moment too.
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