Being a bridesmaid is something that I always wanted to be as a child, but alas all of my parent’s friends were already married couples as were family members so I never got to fulfil my goal of being a bridesmaid. Until now!
My very dearest friend, Kate, is set to marry her partner in July of next year and has asked me to be one of her bridesmaid! I am so beyond honoured that she would think of me in this way, and in my hormonal state I did burst into tears immediately upon receiving my request card (which you can see pictured above). The thing is when the wedding comes around (and particularly in the months running up to it) I am going to have a new baby who will feeding and probably be pretty much strapped to me twenty four seven. On top of that, as Kate is the boys godmother she would like them to be at the wedding too.
So two toddlers, one new/young baby and bridesmaid duties to perform.
How the hell am I going to manage!?
Well, I have been giving this a lot of thought and although it sounds pretty daunting, I don’t think it is as bad as people make you think. I have already had the “Rather you than me” comments and one friend told me that she would be devastated but would be too worried about causing a scene and would respectfully decline. Isn’t that sad? If you google ‘Being a bridesmaid with a newborn’ the top results are about women’s fears and potentially declining!
So, I have put together a little check list of what I think you can do when you find yourself with a breastfed baby and children to look after when you have been asked to fulfil a special role at an event. It doesn’t have to be a bridesmaid either, it could be a christening, a big birthday bash etc… or it could be your partner who has been asked and you are worried about doing it alone in front of all of those people!
Oh, and yep, this is me using the blog again to make my own checklist that I won’t loose so I can come back to it in times of panic after baby is born… hopefully it will help others too!
- Talk to the bride (or whoever’s the party planner). This person loves you enough to understand your concern. For Kate’s hen do she was thinking along the lines of a weekend spa break or something, and for the evening before the wedding she would love to have all of her bridesmaids stay over at the house she is renting to get ready in before she goes on the to the venue. It’s important to realise that if this person didn’t think the world of you, they wouldn’t ask you to fulfil that special role, so if you have concerns talk about them. Kate actually raised the issue of the baby and me being separated before I got the chance and suggested I take baby along, the other alternative was for us to have a special mini hen party for the two of us and me meet them at the church instead of spending the night with her. At the event if I need to sort out the baby that won’t be an issue, baby can even stay in a sling at the front of the church with me (though I’m sure he/she will sit with Daddy or someone else if Daddy isn’t available). The same goes for the toddlers.
- Ask for help at the event from other friends. If you have a role to play, ask for help from other people. The chances are at a big bash of any kind you will know other people there and well, ask them if they would mind holding baby while you do something, or if they could have your toddlers sit next to them. Ask. I know that my son’s god father won’t have a specific role to play at the service so I’m sure he won’t mind offering a helping hand.
- Take something for the toddlers and older kids to do and to eat. Something so that little hands can be occupied is always a good idea. I usually take a banana each, plus a box of fruit cut up to nibble. As for things to do, something like a sticker book is great. No one wants toddlers to be left with pens while there are expensive suits and dresses around, so avoid the felt tips, but pencil crayons are fine.
- Have a talk with the toddlers and older kids before hand. This is something that I will be doing with Reuben, though Toby may still be a bit young. I will explain to him that he will be able to see me, I’m right in front of him but I will need him to sit and watch what is happening with Aunty Kate. That’s pretty simple and he should get it no problem. Daddy and whoever else can reiterate it to him. Repeatedly. I would also suggest avoiding toys that cause noise… I won’t be taking any cars for the boys to play with as I doubt Kate will appreciate “beep beep” and “vroom” being shouted out while she says her ‘I dos’.
- If you are breastfeeding, talk to the bride about the dress being suitable, or may adjusted. Though a high neck silk number would be stunning, it isn’t going to do any good if you need to feed your baby during the day and they won’t take a bottle. We are hoping to have this baby taking breastmilk from a bottle, but without my time machine, I don’t know if that will happen. If not, it’s booby all the way. Which means considering the dress. It’s pretty amazing what seamstresses can do with a dress so if the bride has a style in mind then why not ask her if she minds you having it adjusted to make it compatible with your needs.
- Have a Plan B. Life doesn’t always go to plan. I could get to the wedding and find that the boys are in a terrible mood and the baby has decided to have a bout of wind. Having a plan B is always helpful, and organising that with whoever is going to be helping you with the kids on the day is important. My husband and I have discussed and if the boys are causing a commotion, he will take them outside. You have to realise that when you have children it isn’t always so easy as making a plan and expecting it to go ok, so whoever is looking after your children at the event needs to be prepared to take them outside or to the back of the venue to have some time to cool off. They are only children when it’s all said and done, and sitting for 45 minutes is a big ask at under 6.
- Booking a room at the venue is a really good plan. It gives you somewhere to escape if you need to, if the kids are misbehaving or have had an accident, the baby needs changing and there is nowhere to do it, you need to express… so many things could be necessary at any one. It also gives you a place to store extra changes of clothes for the kids, especially if they are still in those accident prone years. If there is no way you can book a room at the venue, ask the bride if they have a bridal suit that she is staying in that she would mind you borrowing to put your necessities and to feed/pump in. If you do though, make sure you don’t leave a trace! Alternatively ask the venue before the day if they have a room you can bit private in.
Does anyone else have anything to add to that from past experience? I would love to know.
I honestly can’t wait to be a part of Kate’s special day and I wouldn’t dream of missing it for a fear of how things will work. I do think it’s worth mentioning that if the wedding has a strict ‘No Babies/Children’ policy then you may have to think more carefully. My best suggestion if you still want to participate would be to ask friends or family if they can come and babysit for you (preferably in a room at the venue for ease or nearby), and ask the bride if she would be happy to have you disappear every 2/3 hours to express or feed baby.