Can you picture it; you’re gliding down the aisle on the arm of your father while your soon to be husbands gives you that look from the alter…you gaze lovingly into his eyes when you reach him and his whispers ‘you look beautiful’. That’s pretty much every bride’s idea of perfection, and something which we all want to achieve on our special day. But what if you throw a loud and energetic toddler into the mix? Can you wedding day take the strain and still be everything you’ve always dreamed it will be? Well, the answer is yes, but you need to be even more organised and flexible than the average bride in order for everything to run smoothly.
The subject of toddlers at weddings is something which is very close to my heart as I will have two very headstrong little girls walking down the aisle with me come December. I also attended a family wedding a couple of years ago where the bride and groom had a two year old daughter, a little girl who just so happens to be my goddaughter and the most beautiful princess in the whole world! Yes, I’m biased ok! Their wedding day was truly magical, and it was in no small part due to the presence of children.
Anyway, that couple coped very well with the pressures of including their daughter in their big day, and I’d like to share some advice with you to ensure that you’re big day is as successful as theirs. Oh, and remember not to worry too much about how your child will act. The unpredictability of toddlers is what makes including them so much fun…
Ask for help during the planning stages!
Unless you are some kind of superwoman there’s no way that you and your groom will be able to plan your wedding on your own when you’ve got a child to look after. Ask your parents, his parents, your attendants (and anyone who offers their assistance!) for help with tasks such as researching themes, calling suppliers for quotes and searching for attire. Your friends and family will relish the opportunity to have some creative input in your big day, so let them help.
If you’re super busy you may like to consider hiring a wedding planning to take the majority of the strain. Check out my post ‘Should I Employ a Wedding Planner?’ for advice.
Organise childcare for supplier meetings:
Do yourself a favour and don’t take your toddler to any of your supplier meetings! There’s no way that you will be able to concentrate on what the supplier is saying with your little one running around and touching everything in sight, and you really need to give them your full attention to make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want from them.
If you find yourself in the unlikely situation that you simply cannot find anyone to look after your toddler then make sure you take plenty of toys and a few snacks along to the meeting so that they can play while you discuss ideas and plans with your supplier.
Keep to their routine:
It is important that you keep to your toddler’s regular routine as much as possible. By this I mean sticking to their regular bedtime the night before the wedding, and allowing them to have a nap at the normal times where possible. Sometimes this simply isn’t possible as a wedding is a whole day event. If this is the case then try your best to get a nap time in as close to their regular time as possible.
Hand over responsibility:
If you can’t concentrate on yourself on your own wedding day then when can you? I urge all mummy brides out there to appoint someone (perhaps the mother of the groom) to look after your toddler while you enjoy your big day.
Make sure that your child knows the person who is caring for them during the wedding day very well to minimise the stress they feel by being separated from their parents. They should also be brought in to see you while you’re getting ready, but just for a few moments. This will reduce the chance of them getting upset at being away from you before the ceremony begins.
Make sure they are fed:
On the morning of the wedding it’s so important to charge someone with the task of feeding your toddler, and all other toddlers and children in your wedding party for that matter! Hungry children are less likely to be in a good mood during the ceremony, and for the rest of the day. For our wedding I have arranged to have some platters of food brought up to the bridal suite so that I can make sure all of my attendants are fed before the wedding ceremony begins.
Get them dressed last:
Ask whoever is looking after your toddler to get them ready at the last minute so that they have the least amount of time possible to get their outfit dirty. Make sure they have some play time, a nap, some food and are washed and dressed in that order.
Accept that they won’t sit still during the ceremony:
Once you realise that toddlers don’t sit still for very long, your wedding day stress will half. If you’re expecting a two year old to sit on a chair and remain quiet for 30 minutes or more, you’re dreaming. If you don’t like the idea of little ones toddling around the church or ceremony room while your marriage is taking place, then consider hiring a wedding day crèche service, just like I have. The price of such a service is surprisingly reasonable!
Keep them entertained:
Bored children tend to get disruptive and destructive, so keep them busy by providing goodie bags, a craft table or their own entertainment. I’ve written extensively on the subject of goodie bags here in my ‘DIY Goodie Bags for Little Wedding Guests’ blog post.