So wedding season is upon us and planning a wedding with a toddler in tow is an utterly daunting concept! I know how stressful it can be to consider your perfect day with a toddler in tow; If you haven’t had a cheeky gander already he’d over to my recent #bloggybrides post ‘Bloggy Bride gets married’ to see all of the photos of our gorgeous day! You spend years, potentially, meticulously planning your special day and you more than anything want you small person to be involved, but there is a part of you that dreads and worries for them and how it will all pan out with the unpredicablility of a toddlers whim. Here, and from personal experience, are my 7 essentials to help you on your way to the perfect day, stress free!
1. The environment
I think that, although you are undoubtedly searching for you and your future husbands perfect setting for wedding nuptials… it is essential to figure out what environments might be better suited to a small child if they decide to go wandering during the ceremony (no toddler is going to want to just sit patiently for an extended period of time, especially in a new environment with loads of people around them! Its far too exciting!)
We chose an indoor venue which posed far less risk if the small dude decided to run around.
I also decided to set up a little play area at the back of all of the seats where he could have a ‘base’. We set up a teepee and scattered toys inside and around.
If your little one has a favourite pram or stroller I highly recommend popping that in the venue ready when you go to set up too… it just gives them a safe place to sit or nap that is comfortable for them if they can’t it still on someones lap or a chair.
2. Bag of distraction
Now I have used one of these before, and if you remember my post ‘Top tips for rockin’ Wedding with toddlers’ you will recall that ‘The bag of distraction’ is a magical entity that you can pack full o all of the things possible that enable you to distract a child from their unquenchable thirst for adventure in situations where you might be uncomfortable with them releasing their inner wild child!
It proved entirely successful at my friends wedding back in September and I packed one ready for my own wedding day too!
Some ideas of what to pop in are… food (we found miniature bags of breadsticks amazing…), an iPad perhaps (pre-loaded with favourite shows or films), small toys, beverages (its a long ol’ day and after the ceremony there is the few hours of photographs and waiting until the sit down meal and child friendly refreshments! You guys get champagne… little ones are not so lucky!), a dummy perhaps?
Also don’t forget basic needs like nappies, wipes etc…
3. Safety items
So were not talking hard hats and steel toe-capped shoes here ladies, I mean items of clothing etc that your small person finds comforting. I don’t know if your kid is the sam but my little man had a spell of insisting on taking his woolly hat with him everywhere and wearing it at all times!
It was like his little safety net and on the wedding day there was absolutely no taking it away from him! It was like he needed it to be calm and that was fine by us!
Now on the day there is always the undoubted fear that something will go wrong and your child will decide that the moment you are walking down the aisle or while you are saying your vows is the best possible time to release his bowels or that the wedding venue looks like an amazing playground.
Do not fear…
It is hard to assign someone to the task of ‘the one who will take my child outside if he kicks off or is unhappy’ as most of the guests will be people there will be close family and friends and you want them to watch this incredibly special moment of your lives.
Usually having extra guests to JUST the ceremony will not cost you anything extra if they are not staying for the meal… so we invited one of my friends (and fellow Rockin’ Mama Carly Stirling!) to look after the small dude if he decided he wanted to go wandering or if he needed anything/someone to play with during the ceremony.
She was genuinely our absolute guardian angel on the day and as it was quite a last minute decision we now don’t think we could have done it without her!
We forgot about the whole hours long photography session that commences directly after the ceremony and were so swept aways with congratulations and posing that if we hadn’t has her there it would have been SO stressful and unfair on the small man to be carting him around with us!
She was just incredible!
5. Kids table favours
I think this goes without saying but FO SHO get on this bandwagon and have something for the kids on your tables. We only has three children at our wedding including our own and we had little gift bags mad for each of them with bubbles, colouring activities and snacks to keep them entertained while we were sat down eating and then during the speeches.
Bubbles FYI are a winner every time…
6. Babysitter for the evening
This may not be your bag, but as we had just been married we wanted some time to ourselves to bask in our newlywed glory after the days antics (Also some mindless drinking with our friends and family was not going amiss… hey it was our wedding day!)
The small mans bedtime routine, also means that usually he is asleep by 8pm latest and we didn’t feel comfortable breaking his routine. He did stay a little later than planned and left the venue with my Mama who took him back home and popped him to bed before letting our bad sitter take over.
It was hard, again, to find a babysitter that wasn’t a huge part of our wedding guest menu so we called upon the services of his nursery and luckily one of his adored nursery staff came to our aid!
It was great as we knew that he would be in safe hands and he would feel comfortable with her if he woke up during the night or anything (which he actually didn’t bless him! SO amazing)
Open yourself to the possibilities that things might not go exactly to plan.
Chill and accept that if things do not go exactly to plan then it will become part of your day.
Our little dude decided that during the whole of the ceremony he would run backwards and forwards between us, intermittently asking to be picked up… which was fine by me! Also the registrar will be super understanding of the fact you have a small child! Ours was great and even made a few jokes about him bless him!
The best part of the ceremony that is now remembered by all godly is when we sat down to sign the register and the cool dude decided that the choir was not enough entertainment so started dancing at the top of the aisle, right in the middle… which set every in to awww’s and laughter at his adorable cuteness!
Moral of the story… preparation is key. However also be prepared for the unexpected, as those moments might actually just make your day extra special!
Did you find this advice helpful? Are you a Mama getting married or know one that could use a little advice with planning a wedding with a toddler?