So you’ve got the invite and you’ve already said yes to going and you’ve decided to take the baby with you… but how do you manage a wedding with a newborn? Let’s face it, going to a wedding with a newborn is stressful. Gone are the days of getting slaughtered and being the last one standing (well for a few months anyway). There is now a little person you are looking after that doesn’t quite understand wedding etiquette or that you need both hands to eat a meal without getting it down yourself.
We’ve been invited to 6 weddings this year (I know, 6!). I was pregnant for 2, had a newborn for 3 and the one I was maid of honor for our little man was 4 months. So I feel like I can speak with some authority on this :-). The first wedding we went to our little man was 7 weeks old and we were both recovering from a cold so I can’t say I’ve found them all easy to manage. Below are a few tips and tricks I learnt and helped me survive the day.
I made a packing list a week before and packed the night before to avoid last minute panic. This included all the baby equipment, feeding accessories, toys, multiple changes of clothes and stuff for me. I had all my clothes ready too and two pairs of shoes (heels and flats). For the first wedding it took us 3 hours to leave the house and we were an hour late all because I ran around trying to pack that morning.
Book a room at the venue
If you can, stay the night on at the venue. It will give you somewhere to dump the majority of your stuff, have a private area for breastfeeding and a quiet place for calming your baby if they get overstimulated. If you can’t make sure you find a quiet place (see further below).
Master the art of baby wearing and buggy strolling
Don’t do what we did for one of the first weddings which was try the chair contraption in our buggy and didn’t bring the buggy bassinet or the sling. Have no idea what we were thinking. It meant the little didn’t sleep well or at all which meant grumpy baby and then grumpy parents.
Take the bassinet and take the sling. This means you can go for a stroll with the baby to help them nod off in the bassinet, and if that doesn’t work, wrap your newborn tight in a sling so he feel close to you. We also took the baby carrier as when the little man wasn’t trying to sleep and wanted to have look around, we could easily pop him in and out of the carrier instead of faffing with a long piece of fabric. Also bringing the dummy to help settle them does wonders.
Bring lots and lots of changes of clothes
I think we made it through 3 sets of clothes the last wedding we went to. We changed his formal stuff to make him more comfortable as he was fussing and then he managed to poo up that one. I was thankful I had overpacked sleepsuits and vests for this very reason. You will be too!
Find the quiet place
If you’re not staying the night at the venue, ask the wedding couple a few weeks before if they can recommend anywhere to breastfeed or a quiet place to calm your baby down if they kick off. Whatever you do don’t ask them in the day. They’ve got enough on their plate.
If you’re in the newborn haze and forget to ask, check out the venue online / call them to see if there is anywhere or on the day ask one of the members of staff or bridesmaids/ushers. The last few weddings we had were at barns and there’s typically a small building the bride and groom use to get ready in which they’ll usually offer to you as the quiet place.
It’s also a good shout to find out where the baby changing facilities are as soon as you get there. Believe me you don’t want to be running around the venue trying to find them when you’ve got a poo explosion on your hands.
Get the right seat and know your exits
The thing we all dread is our baby kicking off on the day. Not only is it stressful for you but also brings unwanted attention. To prepare for this:
- During the ceremony – sit at the back for the ceremony and then if they kick off you can make a quick exit;
- During the meal – you’ll probably have no choice where you’re sitting so make sure you know the quickest route to the baby changing area for any nappy incidents and how to make a stealth like exit to the quiet place if you think your baby is about to kick off and needs to be calmed down.
- During other parts of the day – same as during the meal.
Get someone to watch the baby while you eat
I’ve always found the meal the most stressful part of the wedding with the baby. It’s loud, they can’t sleep well and you can’t really have a proper conversation as much as you want/try to.
Again, take all the help you can get and don’t feel bad about it. If your friends want to hold the baby let them hold the baby while you eat. Typically people don’t offer if they’re not baby people, so don’t worry and relax and savour the food. If you only know your partner and everyone else is being antisocial, make sure you take turns to hold the baby so you can eat two-handed (yes I know this goes without saying, I am stating the blindingly obvious).
The last wedding we went to was local and my mum babysat the little man for the meal and this was the least stressful experience of the lot. I was instantly more at ease as I wasn’t worrying about my newborn being overstimulated and trying to eat with one hand. Therefore if you can, I’d recommend getting someone to babysit during the meal so you can enjoy.
Rely on your other half
I was maid of honor at the last wedding and I can say my other half was fantastic at looking after the little dude while I was running around doing bridemaids duties and giving speeches. We’d talked about how we would approach the day before if certain situations arose (e.g. little dude kicked off, needed to sleep, I was nowhere to be found and he needed a feed – all these happened) and how we would tackle them. So I’d say having a rough plan on how you both would handle situations would do you good. My husband ended up settling the little dude quite a bit in the quiet place.
If you’re going it alone, ask a friend to come along with you or if you have friends at the wedding ask one of them to help you during the day.
It’s ok to leave early
Your baby has been up probably most the day in unfamiliar surroundings, being passed around and they will be exhausted (so will you!). So probably sometime after 7, they will start kicking up a fuss and that’s when the music tends to get loud to… optimal baby sleeping environment right? Definitely not. I was stuck in a room cluster feeding my boy from 7-8pm one wedding because I missed the cues of him starting to get fussy, and then him screaming his head off because he couldn’t sleep. We should have left early.
Don’t feel bad about leaving early, you’ve got a kid and they come first. Also, no one wants to have a baby crying for hours on end just because of showing face. The wedding couple will be understanding they knew the deal when they invited you and the baby, and if they’re not when they have kids they’ll totally get why.
Those are my tips for managing a wedding with a newborn. Relax and try to enjoy the day. Just remember though, and is my mantra for a lot of things, this is just a phase. There will come a time in a few years when your little one is older and is more adaptable and you will be able to stay out with or without them. You can be the last one standing again!
Hope you find them useful. If you do, let me know 🙂
Also, are some blogs that I read to help me prepare they have some extra tips too:
- Mush Guide – How to survive a wedding with a newborn
- This Mummy – How to survive a wedding with a baby/toddler
- Honest Mum – Tips for surviving a wedding with your baby