How many people does it take to keep a kid happy at a wedding? | Toddling Through the Silicon Valley | Cheryl Bac | Palo Alto Online |

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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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How many people does it take to keep a kid happy at a wedding?

Uploaded: Aug 14, 2015
We recently flew out to attend my brother's wedding. While we talked about his wedding with our preschooler for months, our kids were not prepared for real summer heat. Although they were uncomfortably hot and not their regular happy selves, our relatives happily stepped in to keep both kids busy and entertained. My uncle drew pictures to keep our son occupied during the outdoor ceremony. And my aunts held our daughter while my husband and I danced a little bit during the reception. Without their help I'm sure we would have had a completely different experience.

How have you kept little ones entertained at weddings? Did you bring games? Use apps on your phone? Rely on relatives for help? Hire a babysitter?
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Posted by Amy, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 3:34 am

Weddings are long events. They can be hard for adults, let alone toddlers and even tweens.

When our children were little (3,5,8,11) our family was invited to a wedding. We allowed the children to attend the ceremony (see the pretty bride!) and cocktail hour (Shirley Temples and burn off energy). When it came time to sit down for dinner and hear the speeches, we handed them off to a sitter, a college student whose parents were attending the wedding too. The kids happily spent the evening watching TV and eating room service food, not being shusshed all night. Meanwhile, we were able to visit with the celebration, pay attention to the speaehes and visit with the other wedding guests.

If you are going to an out-of-town wedding, I imagine someone in the wedding party can help find you a sitter. If it's a young bridal couple, they may have college age friends who would be happy to sit. It would also mean that the bride won't have to worry about kiddie meals and activities for the children.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 11:41 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Amy - Thanks for all of the great wedding tips! Yes, it is tough to switch little ones from talking and playing to quietly listening to speeches or watching the cake cutting. The bride was extra sweet and gave the kids at this wedding crayons and coloring books. There were also new cars for all of the kids to vroom around.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 3:56 pm

"How many people does it take to keep a kid happy at a wedding?"

As many as you want or as little as you want.

Amy has covered some of the scenarios that cover the low side. The true answer for the low side is one: babysitter.

It's your call.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Parent - Thanks for commenting. I agree, there are many different scenarios and it's fantastic for parents with little ones when the bride and groom are clear about what their expectations are.

Posted by Parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 15, 2015 at 6:35 pm

Frankly, I wouldn't rely on the bride and groom to be highly specific about this sort of stuff. From all of the weddings I've attending, it's really about them, they aren't focused on this auxiliary stuff. They typically don't think about some stepsister's kids; they mostly care about the moment in how it remember it.

Should they? In my opinion, no. As an adult you are responsible to make the right decisions for such a situation. Some kids will do fine during an all-day wedding. Some kids can't survive fifteen minutes before bawling their heads off. Ultimately it's up to the parents to figure this out and deal with it accordingly.

Use your best judgment. A bride and groom are often saddled with so many issues that they can't foresee these other issues in advance.

Good times.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 16, 2015 at 4:41 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Parent - Yes, we were very lucky that the bride and groom made their expectations clear. They went above and beyond.

Posted by Water, a resident of another community,
on Aug 16, 2015 at 9:09 pm

I'll never forget when someone brought their kids to my sister's no kids invited wedding. As the MOH I was flabbergasted. When I saw that their poor manners were a reflection of their mother's, I stopped being flabbergasted.

The little kids at my wedding did okay but I felt sorry for they're parents.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2015 at 7:47 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Water - Thanks for commenting! That does sound awkward. Glad to hear that the kids attending your wedding did okay.

Posted by Menlo Mom, a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights,
on Aug 17, 2015 at 1:10 pm

When my husband and I were married, we were in the uncomfortable position of coming from families with vastly different wedding traditions. My husband has a large and close-knit extended family, and generally rents a big community hall, serves comfort food buffet-style, and one of the highlights is always watching the kids dance their little hearts out. My family does the complete (and very formal) opposite. The idea of kids at my wedding about put my mom into heart failure. The compromise was to rent a small party room at the reception hotel, where one of the older aunts offered to sit with the kids, who ate pizza and watched movies. Since my husband's family came in from out out town, it gave them free babysitting and the kids enjoyed their dinner much more than the fillet or whatever else was served. And, once the dancing started, many of the kids came and joined the rest of the wedding. (By then my mom was a couple martinis into the night, and decided that kids dancing at weddings was just incredibly adorable.)

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Menlo Mom - What a creative compromise! Sounds like a lot of fun for all. Thanks so much for sharing.

Posted by Mother of 4, a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Aug 19, 2015 at 1:14 pm

When we were married, we had no young children on either side of our families and the friends who had children were invited without their children (they all lived locally and we presume that it was fairly easy for them to find babysitters) as none arrived apart from a 3 month old who was asleep, being fed, or handed from one person to another.

I have never taken a young child to a family wedding and would consider it unkind to the child to do so. To expect a toddler to sit for a wedding ceremony which may last an hour or so is beyond my expectations of good behavior.

It seems you had a good experience and I am pleased about that for you. I just feel that sometimes it is better to find a babysitter for some events rather than take a toddler along. I can see that if you are out of town this may cause extra problems, but the expectations of the parents enjoying the wedding v the expectations of how the toddler behaves could spoil the event for both.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 19, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- Thanks for commenting. I agree, a babysitter can be a great option for a wedding (especially one that is very long or very formal). We were very lucky to attend one that was very kid-friendly.

Posted by Twinkie Dee Star, a resident of Los Altos,
on Aug 20, 2015 at 12:12 pm

Hi Cheryl, I am a professional Childrens' Entertainer & have been hired many times to make sure the kids have fun & are entertained at weddings. Depending on the venue, space & number of kids determines what I plan. I have had a huge private room at the Four Seasons to handle the kids down to basicly a table on an aisle at a winery. There I was most surprized that in that fancy setting & in their elegant evening attire, they wanted me to make them fancy balloon hats! I would most definitely like to make my services available if any of your readers are so inclined. ~

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 20, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Twinkie Dee Star - Thanks for commenting and for telling us about your services! What a great option for keeping kids entertained at a wedding.

Posted by Twinkie Dee Star, a resident of Los Altos Hills,
on Aug 20, 2015 at 12:58 pm

It was the GROWN-UPS that wanted the elegant balloon hats!!!

Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 20, 2015 at 8:07 pm

Cheryl - having recently hosted a relatives wedding at our home, I would say that unless a wedding is deliberately oriented towards having children there, children over a few months of age don't belong there. If you have a newborn nursing every couple hours (or minutes!) then they should absolutely be there. If it is not a deliberately kid oriented event, if they are over 6-9 months and under the age of 12, the should not be there.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 21, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Twinkie Dee Star - Sounds like a fun crowd!

Palo Alto mom - Thanks for commenting. Yes, some weddings are not as kid-friendly as others.

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