Baby at the wedding. A match made in heaven or a combination from hell? What happens when you mix these two ingredients together? Surely, babies can steal the limelight with the cute dresses and smart little outfits, but they can also cause some major distractions, to say the least.
My sister got married last year when my baby was three months old. I was so excited. Of course, for my sister getting married but also that my whole family will finally meet my little girl.
Living in the UK means that I don’t get to see my extended family in Slovakia very often. So, I was really looking forward to it.
My baby was used to sleep and nap with a background noise of music, TV and talking, so I was expecting her to be just fine on the day. Still, I should know by then how predictably unpredictable babies can be, right?
It was only a small wedding reception as my sister was seven months pregnant then. The usual wedding in Slovakia lasts till morning hours, but this one was only planned until 11 pm.
Even though was I really expecting my three months old to just sleep peacefully with all the banging noise around? Call me naive, but that’s exactly what I thought will happen. Apart from the usual stuff like feeding, nappy changes and a little wander around to introduce herself to all the family.
The Big Day
As the family started to gather at my parents’ house, my baby began to be a bit fussy. I put it down to her being tired. So, me and my partner closed the door to the bedroom and put her down to sleep. Surely, she will be just fine once she has some rest. Only that she wasn’t.
When she woke up, everyone was eager to see her. As she seemed alright after a short nap, we let them. What a mistake that was. She started to cry uncontrollably because it was just too overwhelming for her. That was it; as much as we didn’t want to upset anyone, we had to make a stop to people coming and going to see her like on a treadmill. We had to explain to people that she was just too upset by the noise around.
It was now time to go to the church. We were already running late, and when you have a baby, everything seems to take that little bit longer. So, in the middle of all the chaos, I forgot to pack spare clothing for my baby, ups.
On the way to church, the little one settled down a bit, so I went in, but my partner stayed in the car during the ceremony with her, thinking it will be better in case she starts crying again.
When the mass was over, and I went back to the car I found one very stressed out dad and one very wet baby. It was raining that day, and because the little one got very hot in the car and started screaming, he took her out. To say that they both looked distressed is an understatement.
So, not a great start. On the way to the wedding reception, she fell asleep again, hurray. We laid her down in the pram in a quite corner of the venue, and she slept for a couple of hours while we had our dinner, but soon after the music started to bang, she was up.
I went to feed her outside as it was quiet there and as soon as we returned inside, the little Miss was in the spotlight yet again with her crying episode.
Luckily, the wedding venue belonged to one of our family members, so they offered an empty room away from all the noise for my baby to rest. And that’s where we stayed till the wedding was over. I managed to come down for few brief moments while my partner, sister-in-law and cousin took turns upstairs with the baby.
The picture above is the only picture from the wedding with my girl, and it pretty much sums up the whole experience.
So, what tips can I possibly give you after my disastrous experience? Well, probably not many but here are a few.
Ok, so this one is not about surviving a wedding with a baby but avoiding it in the first place. You will enjoy it more if you can get someone to look after your little one, trust me.
Having said that, this might be an issue if you are exclusively breastfeeding. Your baby may refuse a bottle. My best friend invited me to her wedding, which was only a couple of months after my sister’s. However, I decided not to go because; a) I didn’t want to leave my baby with my mum in case she doesn’t want to feed on a bottle and b) after my first wedding experience, I wouldn’t take a gamble to see whether she would cope better this time or I would spend another wedding locked up in a room comforting my distressed child.
If your baby is used to feeding on bottles, and you feel comfortable leaving her with someone else, then I would seriously consider this option.
Don’t feel bad about saying no to family members when it gets too much for your baby
Babies are cute; everyone wants to see them and give them a cuddle. Nothing wrong with that, the only problem is that most small babies can’t handle situations like that just yet. It can become too overwhelming for them to see so many new faces in such a short space of time. At three months of age, my little one was quite alert and aware of her surroundings.
Some family members might not be very happy if you try to ‘hide’ your little darlings, but hey, you need to do what’s best for them, right?
Pack some spare and comfy clothing for the baby
An obvious one, right? Still, somehow I managed to overlook it when getting ready for the wedding totally. Maybe it was the chaos that comes with weddings or perhaps the added stress of the not-so-happy baby beforehand, but yes, I didn’t take any spare clothing for the little one. None.
She was wearing a dress with tights and a cardigan on top. Now, the dress was made from polyester, and it made her sweaty even before we got to the venue. I didn’t bother to give her a vest underneath as it was quite warm that day. That was another mistake. Had she been wearing a cotton vest, she would probably be more comfortable, equals less upset, equals less crying.
In the end, she was wearing just a nappy, tights and a cardigan on top.
So, yes we all want them to look cute and adorable at a wedding, but comfort is crucial. And make sure you pack everything the night before the wedding, so you are well prepared.
Make sure the baby has somewhere quiet to stay
Have we not had an available room for my baby to stay in, I would have no option but to head home early. It was clear by then that she wouldn’t calm down while the music was on.
Check the venue beforehand and reserve a room for you and your baby, in the case she needs some rest or gets upset by the noise.
Some babies can nap in loud places without any problem, so if that’s the case with yours, bingo. You might not even need a spare room.
So, the key to enjoying a wedding with a small baby lies with a careful planning and preparation. That’s what we underestimated.
Have you been at a wedding with a small baby and want to share your experience? Do you have more tips about how to handle the situation? Leave your comments below.