Words by: Emma Howarth
It’s that time of year again but thanks to our guide, you can stay sane and have fun (really!)
A is for…Aww
Don’t the little ones look adorable dressed up in their wedding finery? Do make sure you take a millisecond to enjoy the moment…Err, who gave him that felt-tip? Where did that mud come from? We haven’t even been near any ketchup. Pass the baby wipes. Stat.
B is for…Bribery
Sweet, shameless bribery. Fill your pockets with chocolate buttons, Match Attax cards, five-pound notes or whatever it takes. Dole out with impunity.
C is for…Champagne
Civilised pre-service glass for the bride; medicinally administered shots for the parents… Our prescription: on the hour, every hour until the toddler falls asleep.
D is for…Don’t Touch
The cake… that flower arrangement… or – for the love of God – the bride’s dress with those chocolate-bribery-coated fingers.
E is for…Entertainment
Handily also for electronics. Yes, you can fill your handbag with colouring books, organic snacks and educational card games but when it’s a toss-up between blissful silence and someone shouting “bum” during the speeches, the iPad is the only way
to go. Don’t forget the headphones.
F is for…Flower Girl
So angelically sweet in that pristine white gown. So carefully coached to smile prettily and take her time scattering scented petals down the aisle. So going to cry, hide or empty her basket of flowers over someone’s head any minute. A ticking time bomb in tulle.
G is for…Grandparents
It doesn’t matter if they’re not your own. Hunt them down, feign animated interest in their next-door neighbour’s son’s wife’s problem with her knee, then palm your kids off on to them while you hit the bar.
H is for…Hen Party
AKA a fast-track to financial ruin via a weekend in Ibiza. Your head says “two nights without the kids living it up like it’s 2002… bring it on, sista.” Your heart knows the resulting hangover will floor you for a month.
I is for…Invitations
Lovely weighty card, classy font, nice venue, ah look, they’ve made a monogram of their initials… you don’t have to pretend to us, we know there’s one thing you’re interested in and one thing only. See N.
J is for…Jokes
Now, this really depends on what kind of company you’ve been keeping and whether the best man sees his speech as an impromptu stand-up show. But we definitely learnt the hard way to cover their ears (see E) during the speeches.
K is for…Kids’ Table
The most theoretical of all good ideas. Children under 12? Brace yourself for hollered requests to cut up chicken/get more ketchup/identify the revolting- looking green stuff (hisses: it’s broccoli, darling, you’ve had it before). Children over 12? Brace yourself for an hour-long search of the grounds when they form a marauding pack with the groom’s teen cousins and disappear in search of an Xbox.
L is for…Lob
The only way to describe the short-range confetti-in-the-face situation only an over-enthusiastic three-year-old can provide. Sorry, bride.
M is for…Manners
You think you’ve done a good job until you see them making a potion out of lemonade and sugared almonds during the starters. If they’re on the kids’ table (see K) now’s the time to pretend they’re not yours.
N is for…No Children Invited
AKA the parental holy grail. AKA party time. Extra points for a destination wedding that requires more than 12 hours of travel each way.
O is for…Outsourcing
Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? A bit like, say, babysitters?
P is for…Photographs
There’s always one child looking in the wrong direction with their finger up their nose. It’s probably yours.
Q is for…Quiet
Just during the ceremony. Just during the speeches. Ok, just for five minutes, once, at any point during this never-ending day.
R is for…Royal. Wedding. Fever.
Will the bride wear Erdem? Will Trump tweet about it? Which tiny royal attendant is going to ham it up for the paps? I’m sorry, what was that? You’re also getting married in May? We literally couldn’t care less until we’ve seen Markle tour Windsor in a carriage.
S is for…Street Party
Bring out the bunting and bulk-bake some scones, it’s royal wedding street party time. Invite the neighbours, divert the traffic and let the kids run free. We’ll be wearing red, white and blue for the duration.
T is for…Time Out
Tiring of wedding chit-chat and random outpourings of love? Make your escape and blame it on the baby… that’s what they’re for.
U is for…Underwear
A) Yours (revealed to the congregation as you try to breastfeed a newborn in an ill-thought-out frock). B) Your toddler’s (all wet and stuffed in the bottom of your bag, even the emergency, just in case, never-going-to-need-‘em back-up spares).
V is for…Vows
Repeat after us: “From this day forward, for better, for worse… I will never RSVP ‘Yes’ on behalf of my children again.”
W is for…Work the Dancefloor
Literally THE best thing about kids at weddings. Yep, I am totally getting down to Little Mix at 6.30pm. I have to, I have a child. It was either me shaking my thing to Black Magic or all hell breaking loose for a minute there. Of course, I’m not an actual fan! What do you mean how come I know all the moves?
X is for…Kiss the Bride
Just maybe not the snotty four-year-old stage left.
Y is for… Yawn
Result. She’s tired. Maybe she’ll crash out in the Bugaboo while I dance to Sister Sledge with my mates from university…
Z is for…ZZZ
That would be you falling asleep with your head in your hands while your three-year-old does knee slides until 1am.