The topic of bringing children to weddings often sparks debate. While some view them as a source of controversy, many couples encourage their presence, whose smiles and joy can add so much to the wedding. However, there’s always a risk of an untimely tantrum stealing the spotlight, so preparation is essential if you and your little one are invited to someone’s big day. Here are nine tips to help ensure everyone has a good time at the wedding.

1. Explain what to expect 

Have a one-on-one conversation with your kid about what happens at a wedding ceremony, using age-appropriate language and examples so they can understand. For instance, you can show a wedding photo of you and your spouse, and explain that this special occasion requires everyone to be well-behaved.

If your child has a role in the wedding, have them practice walking down the aisle at home. You can also ask the bride and groom if you can accompany your kid during the ceremony in case of a meltdown.

2. Dress appropriately

While ensuring your little one’s attire suits the occasion’s dress code, avoid clothing that can be tight and scratchy, which can make them cranky. Also, remember they’ll likely make a mess, so opt for more comfortable items and include a backup outfit in your bag in case of stains.

3. Allow time for rest

A wedding ceremony can bore or make your children sleepy, so try to fit nap time in before the ceremony or reception. A small book can also help keep boredom at bay if they’re not feeling sleepy. Taking small breaks during the day ensures your kid remains well-behaved, reducing the likelihood of tantrums and crankiness.

4. Practice good manners

Ninety-six percent of parents agree teaching children to learn and practice gratitude is possible, so encourage your kid to say “please” and “thank you” when necessary. Teach them to introduce themselves to new people and avoid shouting, running around, and talking to others during the ceremony. Instilling these positive manners expresses respect for the couple and the other guests. If you’re worried about temper tantrums, consider sitting near the back during the ceremony to make a seamless exit.

5. Teach them to sit still

Children — especially toddlers — are balls of energy that get easily distracted and uncomfortable. While this is typically allowed in everyday situations, getting your little one to sit quietly and listen during the wedding is best. Hone their ability to be still at home by reading aloud while they sit on your lap.

6. Bring age-appropriate activities

Keeping your kid busy is a way to keep them occupied. Bring puzzles, coloring books, and other age-appropriate items to keep them entertained during the ceremony and reception. You can also introduce games like blocks that require quiet attention.

7. Consult the bride and groom 

Consider calling the soon-to-be-wed couple a few weeks before the big day to ask about the following so you can have a game plan for the ceremony and reception:

  • Venue: Ask if there are private rooms or quiet areas you and your child can go to when necessary.
  • Food: Will there be options for kids? If you can choose a meal, pick something your little one will enjoy.
  • Possible hazards: Ask about any possible hazards you should be aware of. For example, there might be lit candles on the tables or sparklers during the exit. If the couple knows children will be coming, they might opt for things like fake candles or paper sparklers, which are safer for kids
  • Activities: Inquire if there will be kids’ tables. Sometimes, couples set this up during the reception to let their younger guests enjoy activities like Jenga, puzzles and coloring books.

8. Bring snacks

On average, children consume 2.3 snacks daily. Your little one will likely get snacky, especially during afternoon weddings. Pack everything they might need or crave — formula milk, snacks, candies and drinks to avoid meltdowns. When attending an outdoor celebration, ensure your kid remains hydrated as well. 

9. Consider leaving early 

No one wants to miss out on the late-night party after a wedding, but sometimes it’s necessary. If your child starts to get tired or cranky, you may need to end the night early. You wouldn’t want a temper tantrum to put a damper on the day.  

There are cases where you can’t leave early, however. If you’re a bridesmaid or groomsman or part of their family, you may want to stay all night. In that case, consider having a babysitter pick up your child at a designated time. You could have your kid attend just the ceremony or stay at the reception until cake time. As the parent, you know what time would be best for your child to say goodnight.  

Remember to have fun and relax as much as possible. It’s unrealistic to expect flawless behavior from your child all day, so be prepared for occasional mishaps. As long as you’ve prepared and can handle your little one appropriately, there’s no need to worry about being judged. After all, everyone knows the unpredictable nature of kids.


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