I don’t know about you, but I bloody love weddings.
The chance to belt out “I vow to thee my country” at the top of your voice during the church service; catching up with old friends; guilt free drinking for 10 hours straight before a series of competitive dance offs; more canapés, cake and cheese than you could possibly eat…need I say more?
Unfortunately the party must come to an end eventually, and for many couples, that time comes when you get pregnant.
As, for the next nine months at least, your usually care-free, champagne guzzling, dancing all night in her heels, party animal of a partner is likely to take more of a back seat, to be replaced by a newly nauseous, often exhausted, soft-cheese phobic (but still ever so lovely) pregnant version of her previous self.
But don’t despair all you expectant dads and pregnant mums to be. As my wife and I have discovered recently, weddings can still be brilliant fun even when you have a baby on board.
All you need to do is follow these simple steps and you’ll be certain to get every last drop of enjoyment out of all the weddings you attend while pregnant.
A new dad’s guide to winning at weddings during pregnancy
Before the wedding
1. Prepare your perfect acceptance speech
By now, your impending parenthood will be the talk of the town, so get ready to face a barrage of intimate and repetitive questions about your pregnancy from everyone you meet at weddings this year.
Since you’ll be having the same excitable congratulatory conversations about 100 times during the course of the day, make sure you prepare a mixed and broad range of “thank you / yes, we’re very excited” responses to keep it fresh and avoid dying of boredom or (accidentally) giving anyone an unintentional eye-roll.
2. Pack the perfect party survival kit
Before you leave for the wedding, make sure you pack a special pregnancy party bag that contains anything and everything you and your pregnant partner might conceivably need to survive an all day wedding party:
- A bottle of water – to ensure she’s hydrated, as between arriving at the church and getting to the reception, there will be at least a couple of hours without any refreshments provided.
- Snacks – to keep her blood sugar levels up…because who knows when you’ll next eat?!
- Gel in-soles – my wife’s essential top pick, to make her heels more comfortable when standing around for long periods of the day.
- Plasters – for any heel-related injuries…
- A pair of flip flops – if she’s anything like my wife, she’ll want to change out of her heels at the earliest opportunity, so these can be a total life saver!
- Paracetamol – in the event of an unexpected pregnancy headache…
- Emergency loo roll – you know, just in case!
N.B. If these items won’t all fit in her handbag, consider sewing two extra pockets inside your suit jacket to conceal the most precious items…
3. Perfect your solo dance moves in the bathroom mirror in advance
With the growing baby zapping all of your pregnant partner’s energy, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll want to dance more than a couple of jigs on the big day (if that).
So to avoid a spell of completely boogie-free weddings this year, you’ll need to enhance your repertoire of solo dance moves. The robot, the caterpillar and the classic dad dance should be sufficient and will put you in poll position in the event of any wedding party dance-offs.
During the drinks reception
4. Quickly locate the loos
Given the increasing pressure your baby is now exerting on your pregnant partner’s bladder, this is an important first mission on arrival, in the event that she needs an urgent evacuation!
So find the bathrooms early, figure out the easiest route to get to them, and do whatever you can to ensure your pregnant partner is never blocked into a corner without quick and easy access to the facilities.
5. Make friends with the baby crew
There’s nothing worse than being the only sober person at a wedding (trust me, I’ve been there myself and it’s no fun). So to ensure your pregnant partner doesn’t feel left out (while you knock back the G&Ts), make it your mission to locate and make friends with all the other pregnant couples and new parents at all the weddings you attend this year.
They will obviously have a lot in common with your pregnant partner already, so they shouldn’t struggle to find common ground when sparking up that first conversation.
If they hit it off, you might make some new lifelong friends…plus it should give you – the expectant dad – the opportunity to slip off later in the evening for a dance (or five), without worrying about leaving your pregnant partner on her lonesome.
6. Become King of the Canapés
As I’ve mentioned before, one of the best ways to control your partner’s pregnancy mood swings, is by ensuring she never goes hungry.
So on arrival, take it upon yourself to find the best location to park yourselves, either near the catering tent (for a marquee wedding) or the kitchen (if you’re at a venue) to ensure a regular flow of canapés comes your way throughout the drinks reception.
Eye contact with the waiting staff is essential, and make sure you are always polite and overtly thankful to them, if you want them to keep coming back!
This invaluable skill is worth its weight in gold at weddings, and will ensure you, your wife and your closest friends keep your energy up, don’t get drunk on an empty stomach and won’t go hungry before dinner is served in a few hours’ time.
7. Prioritise your time wisely
With a pregnant wife in tow, you never quite know at what point during the weddings she is going to make the executive decision that you both must leave the party…”immediately!”
Given this uncertainty, make sure that you network like hell and spend time with all of the most important people early in the festivities, so they remember seeing you and aren’t offended if they notice your early departure.
The bride and groom, as well as the proud parents of the newlyweds, must of course be your top priority here, as well as any old friends you haven’t seen for years.
During the Wedding Breakfast
8. Befriend the barman
As one of the few wedding guests not drinking alcohol, your pregnant other half may be forced to drink nothing but water and ever so boring elderflower cordial all night, while the rest of us indulge ourselves on wine, gin and champagne.
To ensure your other half doesn’t feel left out at weddings while pregnant (or want to leave them early as a result), take it upon yourself to befriend the barmen at all the weddings you attend this year, and get them to mix a special virgin cocktail for your pregnant partner to keep her going through the meal and evening festivities.
You’ll earn serious brownie points for this one, and might even discover a new favourite tipple, so it’s well worth pursuing!
9. Don’t be afraid of a little bribery
If you notice your pregnant partner wavering during the wedding meal, act fast to ensure that her energy and blood sugar levels don’t drop to the point where she insists on leaving earlier than planned.
If you see this happening, don’t be afraid to bribe your partner to stay a little longer by giving her your pudding to sweeten the deal.
10. The importance of self-control
I can’t stress this point too much – while your pregnant other half will (in most cases) be happy to act as designated driver / your taxi home at all weddings during pregnancy, that doesn’t mean you have a free pass to get completely and utterly trashed!
In fact, the drunker you are, the more likely she is to want to leave the weddings early.
So to avoid that scenario, practise some self-control and don’t drink too much (but remember you will have a designated driver so you don’t have to stay off the ‘sauce’ completely!)
N.B. This rule does not apply if attending weddings when your partner is more than 8 months pregnant. Given the higher chance that she could go into labour at any minute, you’ll need to stay sober in case of an urgent dash to the hospital.
11. Dance…dance like you’ve never danced before
Depending on how pregnant your other half is, your time at the wedding is likely to be running out at this point, as your partner begins to fantasise about how much she’d rather be in bed right now.
With this in mind, since you don’t know which song will be your last, my recommendation is to go hard and go fast by dancing your socks off as soon as the music begins.
If you don’t, you may find yourself resenting your pregnant partner (either consciously or subconsciously) when she insists on leaving early, which is not the way you want to end the night.
11. Guard the bump with your life!
Finally, as you no doubt will have come to experience already, there’s is nothing more annoying for your pregnant partner than people touching her baby bump without permission. Unfortunately it’s at weddings where this intrusion of personal space occurs most.
So, to avoid any pregnancy rage from slipping out, make it your mission to stop any drunken louts (like this guy below!) from trying to touch her belly.
Succeed in doing this and you’ll earn your official title as best dad in waiting and King of Weddings during pregnancy!
Just 23 weeks and 3 days left to go…
As always, we’d love to hear from you, so if you have any recommendations for how to get the most out of weddings while pregnant, please do share your tips and stories with the group via the comments section below.