So you’ve been invited to a wedding. And you have a toddler. And the wedding is kid-friendly. And you’ve RSVP’d: YES. Now what? Definitely don’t panic. Friends, it can be done. Trust me when I say, it can (and should) be done. We weren’t the first and we most certainly won’t be the last couple to bring a little kid to a wedding. Not only is it a great experience for your toddler, it’s also truly a fun experience as a little family.
While I always like to be as (over) prepared as possible, this was one of those things where I really didn’t know what to expect.
Would Harper be put off by the loud music? Scared of all the new people? Cranky and overtired toward the end?
By making a few simple preparations we were able to ensure that we all had a great time, toddler included. Want to know our secrets to wedding-guest-success? Read my top tips below!
3 Life-Changing Tips for Taking a Toddler to a Wedding
1. Paint the Picture
For about a week leading up to our trip for the wedding, I would describe to Harper what we were going to be doing. I would say simple things like “In a couple days we’re all going to a fun party” or “Harper is going to wear this pretty dress to the party.”
I would periodically show her the outfit she was going to be wearing and her new sparkly shoes. It didn’t take long for her to catch on and when she would see the dress she’d say: “pretty, party, fun.”
By painting a visual image of what it will be like to attend a wedding, you’re essentially helping your toddler construct their own little world view. Remember that pretty much everything they experience is for the first time, so they have no prior memories to pull from. Sometimes this can make toddlers apprehensive or scared. By preparing them ahead of time (whether it’s for their first plane ride, first day of preschool, or first trip to Disney), you can help them make connections between what you’ve taught them and what they’re experiencing.
2. Know Before You Go
At this wedding my husband, Eric, was the Best Man, so we were lucky to be able to visit the Ceremony/Reception site the day before for the rehearsal. All kids are different, and you may not feel this is necessary, but I really felt that visiting the site the day before definitely worked in our favor.
Harper tends to get nervous about new places (most toddlers do!) so when we arrived the next day for the wedding and everything was already familiar to her, she felt comfortable walking around and was excited to see some familiar things.
3. Protect Naptime at all Costs
Harper is the type of toddler that cannot function without a good afternoon nap. Skipping naps is simply not an option for her.
Our circumstances were a little different for this wedding because Eric was the Best Man, so needless to say, he absolutely had to be on time and arrive early for pictures. Since I know that Harper will not nap in a strange place and doesn’t always get a full nap when riding in the car, we just drove separately so Eric could be there on time, and Harper could get her afternoon nap at the hotel.
Although we ended up being a little late, it was SO worth it because when we arrived she was well-rested, in a good mood, and ready to party for the next couple of hours.
Bonus Tip: Ask a bridesmaid or the wedding coordinator if you can stow your diaper bag in the bridal suite/dressing room. The last thing you need is a giant bag or backpack to lug around when you’re all dressed up. Harper also loves to play “empty mommy’s diaper bag all over the floor” and that’s pretty much the last thing I want to be doing at a wedding. So bring all the stuff you think you’ll need (diapers, snacks, crayons, etc.) but keep it someplace safe and out of sight!
Have you ever brought your toddler(s) to a wedding? Share some advice below!
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