Being invited to a destination wedding is generally a great thing, especially if it involves people you love, escaping the winter’s chill and lounging on a warm sandy beach. I had the pleasure of attending such an event several months back for my brother’s wedding in the beautiful Dominican Republic, where I spent a week with my husband and 13-month-old daughter.
Wait, a destination wedding and a baby? Yes, it’s a rarity for those two words to be found in the same sentence, but with some scheduling adjustments and altering my expectations (it’s the truth) I learned how to enjoy a destination wedding with a baby.
Adjust your expectations
In order to truly enjoy a destination wedding with a baby, I knew I would need to alter my expectations and preconceived notions of a typical beach vacation. The destination wedding I attended was held at an all-inclusive resort during college Spring Break season, which means the liquor was free flowing. Before I even departed New York City, I knew I would be sitting on the sidelines for most of the drinking shenanigans. Another adjustment involved meeting up with other wedding guests, which usually took place in the evening after the baby went to sleep. In order to still feel a part of the festivities, my husband and I did our best to visit with my family during the day and often skipped out on the nighttime activities to keep some consistency with the baby’s schedule.
Allow for scheduling adjustments
Another reason I had such a great time at the wedding was because I was surrounded by friends and family who were more than willing to help out with the baby. During the day she generally slept in her stroller, something I never do at home, and someone was always volunteering to take her for a walk so I could sneak in a few minutes of relaxation. As for the actual wedding, my husband and I threw caution to the wind and decided to keep the baby up past her bedtime. Normally I am so regimented with scheduling and in particular bedtime, but I didn’t fly all the way to Punta Cana to miss my brother’s wedding. Thankfully my daughter is an easy-going little lady, took a quick snooze during the cocktail hour in her stroller and happily danced the night away with our entire family. We drew the line with the after party and opted to head off to bed instead.
Switch off parenting duties
In order to make the most of a destination wedding with a baby, I would advise doling out some parenting responsibilities and a loose schedule before the start of the trip. My husband and I were both in the wedding and therefore had different obligations and activities to attend throughout the week, knowing this ahead of time allowed us to be prepared for some solo parenting. Aside from the scheduled activities, my husband and I basically split the daily parenting responsibilities, one parent took the morning and the other took the afternoon; we were always together, just one parent was on call for diaper changes, feedings, naps, walks, etc.
When packing for a destination wedding, the umbrella stroller is a must, between all the shuffling to the various wedding related events and daily naps on the go, it was an absolute lifesaver. Another useful item I packed for the trip was organic fruit and veggie pouches. My daughter was a perfect angel during the ceremony as she enjoyed a pouch on my mom’s lap. The pouches also helped to keep her hydrated in the heat and stretch her until the resort’s designated dinnertime. Another item you can’t forget when packing for a destination wedding with a baby is an adorable outfit, my daughter was the flower girl and only child in attendance, forgetting the dress would have had me in hot water with her grandparents.
A unique but memorable experience
Traveling to lovely Punta Cana for a destination wedding with my daughter was a unique experience. Rarely do you take a trip with tons of extended family members (aka babysitters) and alternatively, it’s not often you have a slew of events to attend while on vacation (credit hutchens). The most challenging part of the trip and what set it apart from most vacations, was finding a balance between being a parent and a fun wedding guest. We tried our best to attend as many daytime meet ups as possible, spending lots of time with the bride and groom, but ultimately realizing that at times the best thing for our family was to politely decline an invite and head home with our little one. I am forever thankful and appreciative I was able to attend my brother’s wedding with my husband and daughter, and I’m proud to say as wedding guests we barely skipped a beat!
Have you ever taken your kids to a destination wedding?
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