Attending a wedding used to be all about taking advantage of the free bar and dancing to cheesy music until the early hours.
When you have a toddler in tow, things are slightly different. But you can still have fun and there are lots of ways to make the day less stressful for you.
Here are my tops tips for taking a toddler to a wedding:
1. Dressing up
Although you do of course want to look nice, you do have to think about the sticky fingers, spillages, grass stains and mud that could be coming your way.
When picking your outfit, bear in mind that a pale colour will show up every little mark your child puts on it. Go for bold patterns or a darker shade.
Lace is pretty, but if you’re going to be chasing around after a child all day, the chances of you snagging it are fairly high.
You may also want to consider midi length, or knee length, as wearing anything short may put you at risk of flashing when bending over to attend to your kid for the millionth time.
2. Pack for all possibilities
While having a pretty clutch is ideal, you’re going to need more space in order to be prepared.
Remember to pack wipes (even if your child is potty trained), tissues, changes of clothes and your child’s fave comfort toy.
3. Bring distractions
I have a cute little tin box that I fill with stuff to entertain my kids when we are out. This includes pencils, small colouring books, toys, finger puppets and stickers.
If your toddler is in to comics and sticker books, buy a couple of new ones and keep them hidden in your bag until you need to reach for an emergency distraction (do not waste it before the wedding ceremony!).
4. Study the venue
Have a look at the venue website before the wedding day and figure out where things are.
You’ll want to know if a lot of walking will be involved, as it may be worth bringing the buggy so you don’t end up having to carry your child for miles and miles from one place to another.
If your child is potty training and the nearest loo is far away from the marquee, think about bringing a Potette travel potty so you can get them to do their business behind the nearest bush.
When booking your hotel, find one that will be easy for you to reach, preferably on site, and has space for a travel cot or small bed for your child.
5. Make a plan
Decide if you’re going to stay overnight or mission it home. Look at the timings of the day, and think about how you can make it work for your child so they are less likely to throw a wobbler because they’re over tired.
6. Think about naps
If your child still naps, plan where they will sleep and at what time. It will save you struggling with an overtired child at 5pm just as you sit down for the wedding meal.
Do remember to enjoy yourself! Parents don’t get out that often, and even if you do have a child in tow weddings are supposed to be fun.
If your kid kicks off every 30 minutes or cries all through the ceremony, try to laugh it off. People will understand, and if they don’t they’re in for a hell of a shock when they have their own children!
8. Make friends
If there are other small kids there then encourage your toddler to play with them. Children can play hide and seek and chase for hours without getting bored. As long as they are playing close by, this gives you a chance to relax.
9. Have back-up
If you’re going with your partner, then make sure you divide the childcare between you so you each get a chance to enjoy the wedding.
If not, then ask a relative or friends or help you out a bit.
10. Bring PJs
If you’re not staying overnight, still bring PJs! This is so that when your child inevitably nods off in the car, you can just transfer them straight to bed once you’re home.
11. Break the routine
Don’t be scared to deviate from your normal routine. It’s a one-off occasion and even if it all goes pear-shaped, it doesn’t matter in the long run.
Have you got any top tips for taking young children to weddings? I would love to hear them.