I love weddings – from the
excitement waiting for the bride to arrive right through to the last tune at
the end of the night, sung like an anthem by the tipsy guests encircling the
happy couple. But it all changed once I got pregnant.
While I still look forward to
the next nuptial when I can raise my glass to happy newlyweds and wipe a tear
after the father-of-the-bride’s speech, I know deep down that weddings won’t be
the same for a long, long time.
No booze rules
I didn’t have any weddings to go
to while I was expecting *Moo, which was a good thing really as being pregnant
at a wedding really doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.
Firstly, where’s the fun in
swapping a glass of fizz for an orange juice, or toasting the couple with a plain
old glass of water?
And when everyone else is
crooning to Unchained Melody or rocking their air guitars to Don’t Stop
Believing, I’m sure to the sober pregnant lady in the corner, they (*we*) just
look plain silly. I never want to see this from her perspective, as looking silly
(particularly when piling on costumes in a photobooth) is exactly what I love
To be honest, even after the
baby’s born, if you’re breastfeeding, you still can’t drink much!
This brings me on to just one of
the struggles of attending a wedding when you’ve got a young baby – the
constant pumping game. Now, I don’t want to sound bitter as I know I was very
fortunate in being able to breastfeed when many other mums haven’t been able
However, for all those ladies
who have suffered with painful, leaking, engorged boobs when they’ve gone just
a few hours without feeding their baby, I know exactly how you feel.
When we left Moo at six months
old for a wedding one weekend, I expressed 108 ounces of milk – that’s over
This also meant I had to pump
the equivalent amount of breast milk in the months leading up to the wedding,
so my mother had enough to give her in our absence. Talk about feeling like a
And for anyone who hasn’t tried,
pumping isn’t actually the easiest thing to do. It can take over an hour to
empty both breasts, which meant I missed out on so much of the wedding, including
the arrival of the bride and groom, the beginning of the first dance and,
really disappointingly, all the delicious canapés.
What’s more, my poor, loving
husband had to deliver filled breast milk bags to reception after every pump so
they could store it in their fridge. Not the glamorous days of weddings that we
Breastfeeding at a wedding
The alternative is to bring your
baby with you – which I also have experience of. The one thing that was really
difficult was finding somewhere to feed Moo every three hours. I was quite
happy to breastfeed under my tried and trusted bib, but you still need
somewhere to sit and sprawl your belongings out.
When everyone’s chatting away standing
on the lawn in their heels sipping Bellinis, this isn’t really the best
environment for feeding a child, especially one that keeps trying to whip the
bib away from her face to see what’s going on.
Instead, the only place I could
find that was easiest for both of us to feed was the Ladies, and even then
there were no seats, so I just walked around the room carrying her as she
happily suckled away.
The stress didn’t end there
though as, unfortunately, I forgot to put my breast pads in, so one side of my pretty
dress got completely soaked in milk while she enjoyed her afternoon snack. Nice.
Looking after a toddler
As babies get older, at least
you don’t have to worry about feeding. However, that’s when you have to look
after a toddler who’s running around, smushing food into their beautiful cream
satin dress, and has the potential to throw a tantrum AT ANY MINUTE!
Even when you come prepared for
all eventualities, it’s never easy to enjoy yourself when your mind is focused
on your little one.
And at the last wedding we went
to, I could be seen (and photographed) crawling on the dining room floor
chasing my 18-month-old who thought it would be hilarious to go AWOL during the
Incidentally, she ended up
playing hide and seek behind the top table throughout the father-of-the-bride’s
emotional dialogue, which she obviously thought was hysterical. I’m somewhat
used to the playful tendencies of a toddler and the unglamorous acts of
motherhood now, but who knows what the other guests made of her mid-afternoon
It was only when we dropped her
off at home with a babysitter and headed back for the evening do that we
finally got to relax, and enjoy a stress-free glass of fizz.
So whether you’re chasing your
little ones on your hands and knees, trying to get humus out of your hair,
wishing you had had time to do your make-up properly, or hiding the
powdery-white stain of milk from your dress, that’s when you’ll realise
weddings aren’t what they used to be.
My advice? Give yourself a childfree
night and get a babysitter! And try to forget about the impending 6am rise…
*Moo is an affectionate nickname for our
beautiful little daughter. Obviousl