Taking A Baby to a Wedding (& Other Places Grown Folks Go)

Little Box in Tux Tie
Image adapted from iStock

When I think of a perfect family outing, let me just give you a list of things that DON’T come to mind: college graduations, weddings, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake concerts (you’d be shocked really at the number of small children I spotted at the one I went to this summer), any place I pay a lot to go to or where the clientele is predominantly adults.  Sometimes, however, the situation occurs wherein I can’t find a single friend, relative, hitchhiker, or human being of any sort to watch The Dudes and I’m forced to drag them along with me to an event such as this (excluding the Jay-Z/JT concert, because seriously, no way).

When this happens I make sure The Dudes are briefed on proper being-around-grown-folks etiquette and consequences for misbehavior well in advance.  And then, I prepare for the worst.

Here are some tips that might help.

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Image via Flickr/Corey Ann

1.  Don’t take them unless you have to.  And certainly never take them unless they are explicitly invited and/or it’s appropriate to do so.  Some people really, truly, for seriously do not want children at their wedding.  Totally their prerogative, like the hideous bridesmaids dresses the wedding party is wearing, and the annoying music they chose for the cocktail hour.  Whatever, it’s not your day, it’s THEIR day, and if they send you an invite with your name, plus one, and a little one liner in small print about not bringing underage crumb snatchers to the event, just get a sitter or say you can’t make it.  Also, don’t bring your neighbor, your boyfriend, your mom, and that chick you went to high school with who you know made out once, or five times, with the groom.  Same is true for adult-centered events like R-rated movies or bridal showers, if your kid isn’t invited, doesn’t have a ticket, or just plain ole shouldn’t be there, skip it.  You won’t die if you don’t see JT when he’s in town (although you sincerely might feel like you will).

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Image via Flickr/Franconian

2.  Have an escape plan.  Baby starts crying during the event, be prepared to tuck kid and roll towards the nearest exit.  Same for when your 8-month old blows out the back of his diaper during dinner.  Or when your toddler has a tantrum at the reception because he wants to eat the cake before they cut it.  Say your goodbyes right when you say your hellos and everyone will forgive you when you cover the baby’s mouth and make a beeline for the parking lot.  Your absence will be missed, but listening to your baby scream throughout the exchanging of the vows really won’t be.

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Image via Flickr/CarbonNYC

3.  Bring snacks and drinks and a coloring book too.  Or whatever keeps your kid happy and quiet for three hours straight.  I know, there aren’t things like that, but find something that will get close.

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Image via Flickr/makelessnoise

4.  Volunteer to help.  If the event host is a close friend, ask them if they’d like some help with the kid element.  Volunteer to put together goodie bags for the attending kids, or to sit at the kid table and supervise.  If they seem to have everything under control in that department there might not be much for you to do, but if not you will likely save yourself from being the mom to THAT kid and help out some good friends in the process.

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Image via Flickr/buildscharacter

5.  Don’t ride solo.  Bring your spouse, or your mother, or a friend who actually will be helpful.  Having someone else available to entertain your little person while you eat or grab a drink or hit the bathroom will really come in handy.

If you've taken your little ones to big events, what tips would you share? 

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Taking A Baby to a Wedding (& Other Places Grown Folks Go)

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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1 comment

  1. Wiley says:

    Wow, that really needs to be said. So many parents seem to think that everyone else should just learn to deal with and accept their screaming, unruly kids. I mean, they are just kids right? Kids will be kids. No, kids will be what you bring them up to be (for the most part) and until you have them instilled with good social skills and graces, refrain from bringing them in to special events or any place where other adults are paying extra (like a nice restaurant) in an attempt to enjoy some quality time. I have asked our server on more than one occasion to move us when they seat us next to a family with kids running wild and making too much loud noise but often even when moved they can be so loud it is still annoying.

    I now take my 3 year old son to fine restaurants because he has developed the social manners and he understands that if he does get loud in a place with a ceiling or when adults are trying to converse, stands in his seat, etc, he will lose a lot of privilege. But most of all, because he has learned that it is better to try and make others happy and he realizes that by behaving, he gets respect and additional rewards he would not have received by making a scene. Is he always perfect? Absolutely not, but if he starts getting loud in his excitement, a few words from either my wife or I to bring it to his attention and he straightens up. But, before he reached that point, we only ate at places like home and fast food type places. Even in fast food joints, if he began screaming (which thankfully was not often), I took him outside until he calmed down or we simply left.

    It may not be as comfy or as convenient but I think it is very important to avoid eating meals in front of the TV but instead place your child at the table for meals and try to simulate a nice restaurant environment as closely as possible. Plates, silverware, table cloth, and a glass (plastic until they are ready for actual breakable). Good manners must be learned and it takes time and work.

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