“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage” is no longer the norm as more couples walk down the aisle with a toddler in tow. Beginning in 1991, the median age of first motherhood dipped below the age at wedlock, meaning that more women already have children when they get married, according to the National Center for Marriage and Family Research. Planning a wedding with children adds challenges, and the following pointers will help make the wedding-planning process as easy as possible for a bride-to-be.
Looking through popular wedding blogs may convince you that all couples get married in a gorgeous field of wildflowers with a rustic barn reception to follow. What you don’t see are the hours spent stringing up lights, setting tables, and waiting for the perfect light to capture the right moments on camera. While planning a wedding with a baby or kids, time spent perfecting the space before the big day is limited. Consider locations that include tables, linens, silverware, and even decorations, which will save your time for other decision-making. For instance, choose your favorite restaurant as the wedding venue because it’s where you and your fiancé had your first date — just make sure it’s kid-friendly.
Reception Accommodations for Younger Children
Although your child may look like an adorable little man in his tuxedo, you can’t expect him to act like a gentleman throughout the entire ceremony and party. Keep children in mind as you plan for every aspect of the wedding reception. Include kid-friendly foods and beverages, imagine entertainment options such as a coloring table and decide upon a bedtime for your child. To make it easier on your guests’ with children, create a kids’ room with a child care professional to watch over the children. Have a family member or friend check in with the kids throughout the reception to ensure the little ones don’t feel anxious or upset.
Couple’s Time Before the Big Day
Between parenting preparation and the endless wedding-planning to-do list, a bride-to-be can feel like she hasn’t connected with their partner in ages. To keep your relationship running smoothly before the wedding, set aside 20 to 30 minutes per day for couple’s time, especially after the kids have gone to bed. Read together, share a drink or simply chat about your day. If you’re trying for another child, use an online ovulation calculator to track your cycle and learn the best times to be intimate. Reconnecting with your soon-to-be-spouse will ensure that you’re relaxed and carefree on your wedding day.
Hiring a Babysitter
On your wedding day, you’ll be far too excited and busy to watch your toddler’s behavior every single moment. Alleviate your anxiety and hire a responsible babysitter who has worked with your child in the past. Give the babysitter a copy of your wedding day schedule and a bag of toys, basic first aid supplies and snacks. Although it’s tempting to ask your mom or sister to watch your kid, remember that they’ll be busy too. Pass on child-tending responsibilities to someone who isn’t at the wedding as an invited guest. A paid babysitter can devote her entire attention to your child’s needs.