Baby as your wedding plus-one

“After all, what’s better than love?”


Edith waited for the perfect timing to yell during our friends’ wedding ceremony. She, apparently, can think of several things better than love: milk, naps, milk, boobs, milk. At least she didn’t pipe up when the officiant asked if anyone objected to the marriage.

Our good friends James and Laura got married two weeks ago in New York, and we were lucky enough to be able to join them for the celebration.

The happy couple quit the dance floor for a few moments to say goodbye to Edie.
The happy couple quit the dance floor for a few moments to pose with Edie, who thought her fancy dress tasted delicious.

James went to college with Eric at the University of Arizona. Whenever the two of them get together, the night becomes a marathon of telling ridiculous stories: The time they took a limo home from Mexico on James’s 18th birthday, the time they drank too many Long Island Iced Teas and sang Sublime at karaoke, the time their car stalled in a flooded road on the way to an Coolio concert across the border, the time they were detained for buying beer underage in the fifth inning of an MLB playoff game.

When we lived in New York, James and I became close, too. I had a very hard time making friends and was lonely, but James always made me feel included and like I belonged. One summer we spent every Friday afternoon drinking $1 Coors Lites, talking about music and making up alter egos (my personal favorite, and maybe least believable, was that we were professional snowboarders).

So we were thrilled, of course, to witness him marrying the love of his life, Laura, a woman who tolerates his quirks and shares his ability to have a good time wherever and whatever the circumstances.

The two of them looked deliriously happy and drunk with love. I couldn’t be more thrilled for them as they start their lives as husband and wife.

For anyone attending a wedding with a baby, I have some advice. The pointers would also apply to going to most big events with a little one. Good luck!

  • Leave a half-hour earlier than you think you need to. We got stuck in traffic the entire ride from Brooklyn to midtown. We ended up bailing on the car about two blocks away from the hotel and power walking the rest of the way. Luckily, we arrived at the venue just as the bride was about to walk down the aisle so we didn’t miss anything. The stress wasn’t worth it, though; next time we’ll aim to arrive much earlier.
  • Stand near the back. During the ceremony, be ready to bop your baby to keep her mellow so she doesn’t disrupt the proceedings too much. I held Edie and was ready to step outside as soon as she got fussy; Eric is closer to the newlyweds so I wanted him to stay for the entire ceremony.
  • Wear flats. Or at least bring them to change into once your feet hurt from the heels. You’ll be carrying a baby around most of the night, and you don’t want to wake up the next day with a killer back ache.
  • Identify a quiet place. Edie became overstimulated from the music and guests who wanted to get a good look at her. She was cranky and had had enough. Luckily, I discovered that the hotel pool was on the same floor as the reception, and I could slip away for some quiet time whenever we needed—until the pool closed.
  • Bring ear plugs. I wish we’d had noise canceling headphones for Edie. Once the band got revved up, the room was loud. We wanted to dance with her, but she tolerated only a song or two before she started to cry.
  • Bring a swaddle. We were at the wedding and reception for hours and knew Edie would need a nap. I held her while she snoozed, but she would have slept better and longer had she been wrapped up tight like she’s accustomed to.
  • Bring a bottle. If you breast feed, I recommend bringing a bottle of pumped milk or formula. It’s a party: You deserve a drink, too.
  • Find a diaper changing station. To my surprise, the bathrooms in the hotel didn’t have a changing table. Laura’s mother ended up inviting us into a conference room to change Edie the first time she needed it—and it felt strange setting her on the marble table to wipe her butt while the wedding party looked on. I was happy once I found the pool and could change her on the padded lounge chairs.
Dave, James's best man, thought our changing Edie on the marble conference table was too hilarious to skip taking a photo.
Dave, James’s best man, thought our changing Edie on the marble conference table was too hilarious to skip taking a photo.
  • Be ready to make a quick exit. If you know most of the people at the reception well and will see them again soon, consider a sketch bail: Leave without saying goodbye (except to the newlyweds, of course). It sounds cold, but by the time you realize you really need to go, your baby will be approaching a cataclysmic meltdown and you won’t have time to make the rounds. If you won’t see people at the party again soon, say good-byes early. After all, a screaming baby dampens the festive mood.

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