Although Euan isn’t quite one yet, he has already been a guest at four weddings. His first was my cousin’s when he was just 6 weeks old; he then travelled 2000 miles to attend a wedding in Switzerland; we arrived home in Scotland one week before my sister got married and then mid December we travelled to Northumberland for our last wedding of 2010.
Each experience has been really different, not just because of the location but also because as Euan has grown his needs have changed. When he was a breastfeeding newborn at my cousin’s wedding my levels of exhaustion were more limiting than Euan – he would sleep anywhere as long as he had a full belly. Apparently that’s not so socially acceptable for grown ups!
Arran caught this wee smile just as we were getting ready to go home.
At 5 months at the wedding in Switzerland we weren’t staying at the venue so my worry was about how difficult it would be to get Euan to sleep in the evening. By this age without his bedtime routine of story, bath, feed he would attempt to stay up all night and get a bit cranky. However we had been pretty flexible with this all holiday and although he didn’t sleep much he was entertained by everything that was going. He was the only baby at the wedding so was much admired and loving it!
This was taken on a surprise boat tour of Lake Lugano which the bride and groom organised for their guests. We stayed downstairs out of the sun. It was very lavish indeed!
I was a bridesmaid at my sister’s wedding and still breastfeeding Euan so I had to nip away a couple of times to feed him. Another complication was that his daddy was the photographer but because it was a family wedding there were plenty of willing aunts, uncles, grandparents and family friends on hand to help out.
Here Euan is being looked after by his Uncle Daniel.
Our last wedding of the year was in Northumberland. This time one of our main concerns was getting there because we were right in the middle of an extremely cold spot of weather and to save a bit of money we were taking a bit of a risk by travelling on the morning of the wedding. We were in luck, the roads were clear and all was well. We used our usual trick of travelling during nap time and arrived in plenty of time to check in to the hotel and give Euan his lunch before heading for the church.
We had brought a book to the church for Euan to play with during the service but he was more interested in the hymn book. It was SO cold that day and I possibly overdid the layers! Euan could barely move he was so wrapped up!
Tips for Taking a Baby to a Wedding
Many people wouldn’t consider taking a baby to a wedding, concerned that their crying would ruin the experience for other guests, annoy the bride and groom and stress out Mum and Dad. The first thing to establish is whether or not your baby is welcome, some couples prefer to have a baby and child free occasion. Euan was invited to each of the weddings we’ve been at this year and when he was tiny I wouldn’t have considered going anywhere without him. While there are undoubtedly benefits to getting a babysitter and enjoying being a guest at a wedding hassle free I think you can go to a wedding with a baby and still have a great time.
Here are my top tips:
1. Give up the best view and pick a seat at the back for the ceremony. This way if your baby is unsettled you can slip out the back without spoiling the service for other guests, I have heard people grumble about babies being too vocal throughout vows. We sat at the back for my cousin’s wedding when Euan was just 6 weeks old and of course he slept through the entire thing anyway!
2. Take plenty of toys and books to keep your baby entertained. Quiet ones might be best.
3. If the venue is further than a taxi ride home then book a room there if at all possible. The most recent wedding we attended was at a pretty expensive venue, Doxford Hall, but we decided to splash out because we knew it would make things easier. We were able to nip up to our room throughout the day for nappy changing etc but staying at the venue came in most handy at night. We took Euan upstairs to our room after the speeches which was around 7pm. We gave him his bath and bottle and then once he was asleep put him down in his buggy. We were then able to go back downstairs and enjoy part of the evening reception.
4. Be prepared to make it an early night. While Arran and I used to enjoy being among the last standing at weddings this just isn’t possible with a wee one. At the wedding in Switzerland I took Euan back to our hotel at night and left Arran to enjoy a drink. The groom is one of his best friends and I thought it was only fair for Arran to relax after a day of photography. At the recent wedding in Northumberland we were back in our room and watching a movie on TV by 10pm. When we came downstairs with Euan sleeping in his buggy after bath time the music was too loud to go back in to the main room so Arran and I sat outside in a comfortable seating area just outside and enjoyed a glass of wine. Euan woke after a couple of hours and we took him back upstairs and put him to bed. This meant that we missed the fun of the evening reception but the other option was a tired baby in a busy place and that wasn’t for us. Some hotels provide a babysitting service so it may be worth looking into that as an option.
I’ve found Euan to be a great ice-breaker when we’ve been at weddings. I knew very few people at two of the weddings we attended but lots of people spoke to us because they wanted to meet Euan. “A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet”. . . A baby is a test of just how true this is.
This post is shared as part of Mondays are for Dreaming on The Mother of All Trips. My dream today is for all my newly wed friends of 2010 and for those getting married this year.