This summer, the Checkers family was able to witness and participate in the nuptials of a few very dear friends!
Mr. Checkers was a groomsman for one of the weddings, and Toddler Checkers was a flower girl in the other. I felt so honored that my friend would want our little girl to be a part of her special day, and I asked the bride several times if she was absolutely certain she wanted my Sassafras to participate. Toddler Checkers had never been to a wedding prior to this summer, and I was not sure she would be able to sit through the ceremony, much less walk a straight line down the aisle!
If you like predictability, schedules, and a routine, then attending and participating in weddings with a small child can be cause for a little stress for parents. I wanted to make sure 1) Toddler Checkers was well-rested and 2) she did not disrupt (i.e. wreak havoc on) the events of the day. Number One can be tricky since we all know the world does not revolve around our children, and neither do wedding ceremonies. Many ceremonies are scheduled right during nap times, and Number Two can be hard to come by if Number One does not happen.
Fortunately, Toddler Checkers had a blast at the two weddings she attended this summer; we attended a third “adults only” wedding without her which was a blast for an entirely different set of reasons.
Here are some tips I have gathered from these last few weddings:
- Be flexible/creative with nap/bed times – When Toddler Checkers was a flower girl for our friend’s wedding, she did not take a regular nap on either the rehearsal day or the day of the wedding. I had envisioned her bursting into flames or screaming her way down the aisle, but she surprised us all and did quite well. Perhaps it was all of the excitement (or delirium), but even through her tiredness she enjoyed the day. At our other friend’s wedding, most of the toddlers were up until at least 10:30 PM dancing the night away; in fact, most of them were the first to hit the dance floor and get the party started! Weddings are a special occasion and a great reason to forgo normal routines and schedules for a day. Kids are also resilient and may surprise you!
- Pack extra liquids, snacks, and food – If there is one thing that is cause for a toddler meltdown, it is hunger. Since the wedding was at 4 PM, I figured we may not be eating until 6 or 7 PM which would be close to Toddler Checkers’ bed time. I packed her extra snacks and a small sandwich to tide her over until dinner.
- Bring a portable high chair/booster – Some venues may actually provide high chairs for small children, but if you want to play it safe, bring a portable chair (or be prepared to seat them on your lap). Unless she is strapped in, Toddler Checkers is unlikely to eat a meal seated anywhere, so I found our portable booster chair to be the best option for us.
- Sit near the outside aisle – In the event that your child decides to melt down in the middle of the ceremony, sit near the aisle or in the back to make a quick escape.
- Bring a goody bag/toys/lovey/entertainment – Since you are likely to be out for awhile, it might be a good idea to bring some extra toys or entertainment for the day. At both weddings Toddler Checkers attended, the bride and groom provided goody bags for all of the children in attendance which included crayons and coloring sheets, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, candy, and other small toys and goodies. This was such a thoughtful, sweet, and completely unexpected gesture for the guests! But it is also great to be prepared with your own artillery of toys and goodies to help your child make it through a long day.
HB parents of small children: Do you have any tips to share for attending weddings with children?