We’ve recently had the delight of attending a beautiful wedding and we took our 1 year old son. He’s at the age where he gets bored very quickly, wants to constantly be running around and picks and chooses what he wants to eat. I’ll be honest, I was rather anxious with how it would go! I’d imaged (on more than one occasion) that Oliver would start screaming during the ceremony, would cry and chuck his food around at dinner and would be that one child that makes a noise when ‘does anyone object to this marriage’ is asked. How the hell do you prepare for all of this? I needed a survival guide!!
I’ll have to say straight away, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I more or less prepared for pretty much anything that could have happened – Apart from Oliver falling over and grazing just below his nose within an hour of being at the venue… I thought I’d create this ‘survival guide’ of how to get through the day with a one year old, in hoping I can help and calm the nerves of anyone else who will be taking their child to a wedding!
What to put in your changing bag
During the day by our side we just had Olivers changing bag. We didn’t want to lug too much around with us, so a lot of things stayed in the car. We had the obvious things that we’d take with us anywhere; nappies, wipes, nappy bags, Sudocrem (nappy rash cream), tissues, his beaker, a fold up changing mat and antibacterial gel.
In the bag we also had a packet of Organix gingerbread men cookies and crisps. The gingerbread men were for during the ceremony and the crisps for any other moments where he wanted a snack. The reason we chose gingerbread men for during the ceremony is because we wanted something that wouldn’t have a huge crunch when he was eating them – that’s the last thing the bride and groom will want to hear whilst saying I do!
Apart from everything I’ve mentioned, and our bits and bobs, I’m pretty sure that’s all we had in the changing bag for Oliver.
Everything else we brought
Everything else that we brought with us we kept in our car. If you haven’t got a car, ask the venue whether you can store your belongings in a room for the mean time. We kept Oliver’s buggy in a spare room for when he wanted a nap.
Because Oliver was under 3 years old we needed to bring some dinner for him (I’d check with the bride or groom whether you need to bring any with you). Oliver isn’t keen on toddler microwave meals so we cooked him a pizza and a chicken breast at home and brought it with us. It was the perfect food to bring with us as he could eat it by himself and it lasted him a while. You should be able to heat this up at the venue if need be.
As we were out for most of the day we needed to bring enough drinks. Oliver is quite picky when it comes to drinking… He doesn’t like milk, water or anything apart from squash – we’re working on this… We purchased a few bottles of diluted squash and had a couple in the changing bag and the rest in the car (they’re heavy to lug around!). He didn’t go through them all but it’s best to have more just in case!
To reduce the amount of things we carried in the bag we kept about three changes of clothes for Oliver in the car. Oliver never used to have ‘nappy explosions’ but the past week he’s had about 4, so we didn’t want to risk it! We also thought he’d probably spill something down him hence why we went for more than one change of clothes.
We did struggle with the napping as it’s really something you can’t control. We hoped that Oliver would have a nap in the car on the way to the venue, which he did! Because of this he survived through the ceremony no problem. After then you usually have the mingling around and then dinner. I knew Oliver would survive through dinner because it’s food – he never sleeps through food! Once we finished eating and it was time for the speeches this was when we thought it would be best for him to nap. We’d be sitting around for a while and toddlers don’t like to sit still! We brought his buggy through and rocked him to sleep, and luckily he went down no problem. I’ll be honest and say we were very lucky this day.
My top tip for napping would definitely be try and plan around what will be happening throughout the day. The moments he’ll get bored, try and squeeze in a nap. I know it’s not that easy sometimes, but we can hope!
Change their nappy as often as possible
I don’t know about anyone else but time flies when you’re at a wedding, and before you know it, it could have been ages since the last nappy change. We tried to change Oliver’s nappy at each break we could. The last thing you want to do is have to change a nappy during the speech because it’s rather heavy! Unfortunately we can’t plan poops so we just have to pray they time them well!
If you’re not able to get your toddler to nap during the sit down bits, then make sure you have a back up plan. Make sure you have a quiet toy, teddy or book for them to play with. Again, I know it’s not as easy as ‘hey, play with this toy!’ but as long as you have enough back up plans, hopefully one will work!
Be a team
One thing I must stress is be a team. It can get tough but stick by each other and make sure you and your partner, friend or family member enjoy the day. My husband, Nathan, and I have an agreement where whoever’s ‘side’ of the family the wedding is for, the other one takes Oliver out of the room if he gets too noisy. For example, this wedding we attended are family friends of mine, so Nathan planned to take Oliver out of the room if he cried. We’re also attending Nathan’s brother’s wedding next year, so if he starts to cry I will be taking him away. We just thought it was fair this way so the person who the wedding has the tie to doesn’t miss it. If the wedding isn’t just for one side of the team, plan to take it in turns if anything happens.
The late night
Something I wish we did was arrange for someone to pick Oliver up when the party started, which was his bedtime. We hoped if he had a nap late enough he’d survive a couple of hours. We were able to stay till about 9pm (his bedtime is usually 7pm) so it was pretty good going. Unfortunately after his bedtime he just wasn’t very happy. The next wedding we attend my parents will be picking him up and he’ll stay the night round theirs. It just takes that stress off of your shoulders and you can enjoy the evening for as long as possible. Plus I wouldn’t feel so guilty about having a drink!
I really hope I’ve covered everything that could happen at a wedding! If I’ve missed something that really helped you, please leave your tips in the comments so we can all read them! That’s the great thing about parenting, we can all help each other out with our experiences. I hope this survival guide is helpful to someone. Weddings can be a stressful time with a toddler. As long as you plan for anything, you should have a wonderful day together. Please do share this survival guide with anyone you think may need it!