Get Permission First

One of the first things to do prior to bringing your child to a wedding is to confirm with the bride and groom that your child is invited to attend. Do not assume that just because you have been invited that your child can automatically come along. While some couples gladly include children in weddings, many others are opting for adult-friendly events where no children are allowed. This may be due to late evening wedding hours or simply to cut down on the instances of unpredictable childhood behaviors that can disrupt the ceremony.

If your favorite couple does not allow children, do not feel insulted—remember this is their special day. However, if they do say that your children are invited, be sure to use the proper etiquette and RSVP your children to ensure the bride and groom have a precise head count of everyone who will be in attendance, including your little ones.

Prepare Older Children to Be The Perfect Wedding Guest

If your children are old enough to understand the intricacies of a wedding day then sit down with them prior to the wedding and have important discussions surrounding the occasion. For instance, set expectations and let them know that a wedding will be a rather lengthy event. Children (especially younger children) may become bored and begin to fidget, whine or have a full-blown tantrum after a long day at a wedding. This is why it is so important to explain to them early on what you expect of their behavior.

It may also be helpful to discuss the main events of the wedding and the different roles that people will play. Then explain to them how important the day is to the happy couple and how they can do their part. Continue to have these talks often in the months prior to the wedding so your child will be mentally prepared for the event. Remember, it is your responsibility to ensure your child is on their best behavior during the wedding.

Pack in Advance

A few days prior to the wedding, pack a separate bag just for your child. Again, weddings can go on for hours and your child may need a few items to keep them preoccupied. What’s more there will be times when silence is required and your child may need something to distract their attention.

For babies, be sure to pack plenty of diapers, bottles, pacifiers and a change of clothes (just in case). For older children pack favorite toys, coloring books, books to read or even mobile devices with headphones so they can play fun games or even watch full-length movies to keep them busy.

You may want to pack their favorite snacks just in case they become hungry during the day. This is also a good tip for picky eaters who may be unaccustomed to the unfamiliar flavors and smells of catered wedding food and is critical for kids with food allergies.

On the Big Day

On the day of the wedding, share your excitement with your child! Give your older children one last pep talk to remind them how the day will flow and what you expect of them.

It’s a good idea to make sure your child has a full stomach before you leave for the wedding. This will prevent your child from being uncomfortable due to a grumbling tummy.

You should also make sure to take your child for a potty break prior to the beginning of the ceremony so you do not have to exit abruptly during an important part of the wedding. Opt for an aisle seat or one nearest the restroom, in case you do find you need to get up during the wedding. This can even be something you discuss with the bride and groom in advance just in case there are assigned seats at the venue. Making such preparations will ensure you make the most of this special day.

Can Your Child Be a Perfect Wedding Guest?

Taking a child anywhere will require a certain level of preparation and this is especially true for huge events like weddings. If you are trying to figure out the best way to take your child to a wedding, consider any of these tips to ensure the day goes smoothly for yourself, your little one, and everyone else in attendance.

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Naomi Shaw DrGreene.com contributor