Why children and weddings are not always the perfect marriage: One Thing or a Mother

I love a good wedding: daytime drinking is acceptable – in fact, it’s encouraged; the happy couple wants you to stuff your face; there’s entertainment; there’s dancing and your only obligation is to have a great time.

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 4:00 pm

That is, until your children get invited to said wedding and suddenly your day becomes a battle to keep two semi-feral small people from bowling over the bride, disrupting the ceremony, knocking over the cake and just generally wreaking sticky-fingered havoc among 100 smartly dressed adults.

Earlier in the year I wrote about my brother’s small church wedding, which was only attended by family, due to Covid restrictions on numbers at the time. Well, at the weekend he and his new wife were finally able to celebrate with all their extended family and friends, too, when they held their full wedding reception –just 18 months later than originally planned.

My children, being his niece and nephew and everything, were on the invite list. Which is just as well really, as my regular babysitters were kind of required to be there too, given they’re the bridegroom’s parents!

Katherine's children enjoyed using the aisle for running practice...

So, there was no getting away from the fact that unlike pretty much all the other guests there (it was a child-free affair, barring two very young and very cute babies) my husband and I were going to have our hands full for the day.

Issues started early, when we ran out of snacks five minutes into the wedding ceremony.

Apparently a small tub of pretzels and an orange each is not satisfactory, and will lead to repeated badgering for more food because they’re ‘so hungry’ complete with circular hand on tummy actions.

Despite the fact we kept assuring them they were only 20 minutes away from hors d’oeuvres and later a huge lunch followed fairly quickly by evening food.

Service over, and all bets were off.

My husband and I were in an endless loop of chasing them around the drinks reception, as they zigzagged backwards and forwards to the bar and then outside again, drinking endless amounts of elderflower fizz.

And I was on a constant state of high alert in case they accidentally picked up a prosecco.

It looked so relaxing seeing all the other guests sitting down on the terrace, but at least I got my steps up. And in heels, too!

Time for food. Great while they were eating, but the second their plates were clean, they were off, with a renewed energy for energetic games of tag, hide and seek, and scare the guests, which mainly involved my son sneaking up behind people and roaring in their ear.

Thankfully, it was perceived as cute, for the most part, but I was very aware it could all go wrong in a moment...

As it did in the middle of the speeches. My daughter wedged herself between the bride and groom, and I had to do some angry-faced beckoning to get her to move out the way so they could actually see each other.

Meanwhile, my son got bored and was playing outside with my husband. And then he fell over, so the best man’s speech was done to a backdrop of some low-level wailing for a plaster.

As the evening arrived we were all exhausted. But ever the hero, my husband took the kids home so I could relax. I danced, I chatted, I danced some more. It was absolutely brilliant (bar the lost voice and sore feet – I should have known the heels would get me in the end).

It was so nice my children could be there for such a special family moment, but I can’t say I didn’t love letting my hair down. I might just pack a pair of trainers to change into next time!

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