A beautiful envelope has arrived at your home addressed to the family and as you open it, you realize it's a wedding invitation. Now as parents of a toddler, you may have mixed feelings about the invite.
You may not be sure whether you would like to bring your toddler with you or not -- and that's perfectly natural!
We were recently in this situation and we thought about it really hard before we responded to the invite.
We made the decision to bring our energetic two year-old daughter with us and experience a wedding event toddler style.
Naturally as a mom blogger, I started to Google to see if I could get any tips from other parents; however, my search had me more terrified than comforted on our decision. So that meant the challenge was on for Momma Braga to provide some helpful survival tips to other parents.
Please note that if you decide to find a sitter and use the night as a date night then that is great too! Do what works for you and your family and there is no shame in wanting a nice evening out with just your partner. ;)
Tip # 1 Making Decisions
It is important to first discuss with your partner on what you will exactly be participating in for the event. For example, there might be the ceremony, followed by the reception. My recommendation is to pick one as doing both can be extremely tiring and overwhelming for a toddler. We only did the reception portion of the event and it helped us manage the day smoothly.
Tip # 2 Start the Toddler Conversation
Communication is key. We started to talk to our daughter about the event and explained to her the different parts of the reception. We emphasized on the parts we knew she would like such as the dancing part of the event. We would repeat these conversations in order for her to remember when the big day arrived.
Tip # 3 Plan and Strategize
Sometimes it can be difficult to plan every single detail especially when toddlers are unpredictable at times. However, if you have a base plan and strategizes (around how to deal with tantrums for example) in place, it will help you a lot in the long run.
An important detail that many forget to do is to ask if there is a meal option for children at the reception and if your toddler is in diapers, it is great to check if the hall has a change station available. If you know the bride and groom well, you can ask them directly but if you don't then you can call the reception hall. I called them directly and kindly asked. They were not surprised with my request and were kind enough to respond to my inquiries. Knowing these answers helped me plan for the day to make sure I had everything that I needed.
The rest of your planning will be around what your family normally does to prep for an outing out. For us, we planned our timing for the day such as the time we were leaving the house and from the event. We planned around her naptime this way she could be well rested before we arrived.
We also packed a bag for our daughter with extra clothes, PJs for the end of the night, snacks, toys, activities and anything else that we knew we would need.
Tip #4 Distractions
This tip was key to a successful evening. Toddlers get distracted easily and even though at times this can be hard to cope with but at an event, you can use it to your advantage. Every time our daughter was getting frustrated with all the waiting, I would distract her with her books, coloring and some of the little toys we brought for her to play. This of course worked for some time and when she was bored of one activity, we moved onto the next.
My favorite distraction from the wedding was being able to tell her that the bride was a princess and we had to wait for her. Since our daughter loves princesses, it worked like a charm and she was completely in love with the fact that a princess was there. Technically, a bride is a princess so there is no stretching the truth here. ;) This tactic also worked in diffusing any tantrums that started to brew.
Tip #5 Have Fun!
Above all, just have family fun! It is so important to enjoy the event to the fullest. Enjoy the food and the party afterwards. If your toddler is anything like mine, then you will be dancing the night away. So my mom tip is to try and wear comfy shoes as I learned my lesson!
Also alternate parent duties with your partner and if you have family that can help out then share the toddler supervision. My husband and I took turns and we were fortunate to have my in-laws with us who loved the dancing time with their granddaughter. It's all about having fun for everyone. Don't forget to take lots of photos and video to capture all your special memories!
These tips helped us survive our wedding event and to this day, our daughter still talks about dancing with grandma. We are extremely happy that we decided to take our daughter with us and it wasn't perfect but nothing is. We are just grateful to have been able to experience our first family wedding event, toddler style.
Until next time...Happy Parenting!
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