Mummy and daddy are getting married… what an exciting time!
With all the excitement, comes all the vital plans to consider to keep your little one happy, entertained and well watched. It’s a difficult aspect of the planning, because the people you’d usually entrust childcare with will be guests at your wedding presumably, and as hosts to the big day it’s not fair on you, on the biggest day of your life, to be worrying about the little one non-stop. People may disagree and think I sound selfish but honestly, it’s a magical day you’ll never get back. Making sure your wee one is sorted is tantamount to you being able to enjoy YOUR day.
Here’s my guide on child related eventualities to plan for, based on my own wedding experience recently.
Things to consider…
- Who will watch them during the day and have them on the night of the wedding?
- What entertainment should you bring?
- What if they’re poorly?
- What role should I give them?
On the 19th of January 2019, Max’s daddy and I became husband and wife at long last. It was the best day of our lives besides Max’s birth and we want to do it all over again to drink it all in. It was also one of the HARDEST days of our lives, for many reasons both related and unrelated to parenting, and we are so relieved to have planned for all eventualities to make sure the day went as smoothly as possible.
Firstly, Max came down with the nastiest virus he’s ever had, the poor child. SHIT timing, and we were heartbroken to see our poor wee baby struggling with a horrid cough, sore throat, fever, and the snottiest nose we’ve ever seen. He was really unwell, not seriously though or virulently and cancelling a £7000 wedding for a virus just wasn’t an option. Everyone who could have had him was a wedding guest! We knew we’d have to improvise.
We were stuck with a huge dilemma; my parents had already agreed to take responsibility for Max for us and have him in their hotel room overnight, but the fact that he was poorly made us worry that it was too much responsibility for them to take on. We didn’t need to worry though, because as it turns out, it really DOES take a village to care for a child and with the help of all of our wonderful relatives who took it in turns to chaperone poor Max, we got through the day wonderfully. He didn’t even sleep too badly either, which made me and hubby feel less guilty for my parents having him overnight.
Secondly, Max wouldn’t settle during the day. The ceremony clashed with his usual nap time; he chilled with my uncle in the bar watching Peppa Pig during our vows at 2pm (makes me a little sad that he missed that but he was too poorly to sit still), and then he was SO overtired during our wedding breakfast at 4pm, which made speeches super difficult as Max was crying on and off and very clingy to my dad and to my husband. He didn’t let me near him the whole day – I think my huge pink dress scared him somewhat plus I looked very different to my normal scruffy self… We dealt with this by people taking it in turns to cuddle him, play with him, and push him around in his pram.
Peppa Pig on our tablet was of course a huge help… I grudgingly feel grateful to that blasted pig for once and I am glad we packed the tablet.
For any parents getting married, I’d advise packing the following to account for potential illness;
- Calpol and Nurofen
- A first aid kit
- A snuggle blanket and pillow
- A teddy if needed
- Plenty of toys
- Spare clothes, wipes and towels for any surprise puking
- LOTS of handkerchiefs or tissues for snotty noses
- A comfortable pram or place to nap. Our suite had a bar with squishy leather sofas where Max eventually zonked…
Kids get bored easily, there is no denying it, and during the rather formal setting of most weddings, boredom is something that it’s vital to plan for! Something discreet that you can hide in a bag is great, and big activities for during the wedding breakfast and evening reception are also great.
- Our tablet
- Toy cars
We also paid for a very good wedding dressing package which included;
- Giant Jenga
- Giant Connect 4
Finally, we gave everyone a tube of bubbles to use instead of confetti, so the kids went wild for them as kids typically do with bubbles.
Toby also brought along Max’s push along BMW, and my parents brought his ride on tractor, neither of which left their respective vehicles as we realised Max was too unwell to play on them but they’d have definitely come in handy otherwise. The Giant Jenga and Giant Connect 4 games also came in highly useful for the many nieces, nephews and cousins running wild, much to the relief of our relatives.
Hands on heart, it is NOT selfish to ask others to help you with your child on YOUR wedding day. It is such a special occasion, one that you’ll (hopefully) only ever experience once, and as hosts to many guests you cannot juggle it all as well as drinking in the romance and significance of the day with your spouse. And in all honesty, your loved ones will want you to have the best day of your life and will likely be very willing to help out both during the day and overnight. Every married couple I’ve spoken to has had a grandparent or aunty take their little ones off their hands for their wedding night – it’s a fun sleepover for the kids, and means you can get romantic with your new spouse! Your options are;
- Ask your or your spouses parents to be your ‘second in command’.
- Ask a sibling or other trusted relative to be your ‘second in command’.
- Arrange with sensible and responsible older children/teens (like my cousins) to play with your kids as much as possible, depending on the nature of your venue. Our hotel venue was perfect for safety as it was escape proof!
- Set a ‘village’ agreement with family, friends and other guests whereby all guests keep an eye out for everyone, a kind of pack mentality which encompasses the whole wedding party. Usually people are very content to do this as it helps everyone, not just you!
- Hire a mobile nanny. There are quite a few companies who specialise in supervising kids at weddings for a reasonable price!
Giving your little one an important role is a really sweet way of involving them in your magical day with their daddy (or step daddy, or mummy/step mummy). It’s also something for them to focus on and it’ll keep them occupied. Examples of important roles for children could be;
- Flower Girl
- Page Boy
- Ring Bearer
- Giving a reading
Max was originally meant to be our ring bearer, but as he wasn’t well enough to sit in the ceremony, we gave that role to Toby’s best man who was happy to take on that responsibility. Had he been older, he’d have definitely been our page boy!
All in all…
It was a wonderful day, and whilst sometimes we wished we’d done this years ago before having Max, we’re so happy that he was there and able to be part of our big day, even though he was poorly. My top tip would be to get the kids as involved as possible as these are memories that will shape them for life.
Is there anything else you’d add to this from experience? Tell me in the comments!
Love from the new Mrs Katie Hodgkins. Xx