This year, I've been invited to six weddings. As I completely love dressing up, getting drunk, eating good food and hanging out with my friends, I'm delighted that my summer is being dictated by the nuptials of my nearest and dearest. However, I'm now a mother to nearly one-year-old Joni and this changes things somewhat.
But fortunately for all other parents contemplating a summer of weddings with their beloved - but testing - little dears, I'm two weddings down and basically a total expert on the matter. So, with wedding season in full swing, let me impart my hard-earned wisdom.
Firstly, don't do it. Leave the baby with grandparents, a childminder, your neighbour, the local shopkeeper; anyone who's free. But if none of these options are a goer - if, for instance, your sister is getting married and has vaguely assigned the role of flower girl to your not-quite-walking daughter - you'll have to bring them with you.
It's actually quite lovely having toddling tots roaming around: smiling at everyone and cooing throughout the vows. Did I think this pre becoming a parent? Probably not. But at last weekend's wedding, Joni sat on my lap in the church, laughing at the man behind me, chomping on a rice cake and actually being quite sweet.
However, while the day time is fun for babies - there's lots of colour, movement, food and attention - you'll want the night to be wild, free and frivolous so at least attempt to book a babysitter for the night part.
We were lucky to have grandparents to relieve us at 7pm, take Joni back to the Airbnb cottage and keep her in their room over night. Not only did we not wake her up as we stumbled in, giggling and whispering, but we also had a lie-in (8am in now a lie-in).
Friends asked the mother of the groom for a local babysitter and escorted her back to the hotel room with the baby, got him off to sleep then returned for the food, Jägerbombs and dancing into the night. They didn't get the lie-in but they did have some baby-free hours on the dance floor.
This next tip is important: wear colourful, patterned clothes. At the first wedding, I made the mistake of wearing a pastel pink top. At the second, I rocked a red dress with a busy floral pattern so that when Joni smeared banana across my chest, dribbled on my lap and tipped prosecco over my shoulder, no one noticed. If it's hot, a sunhat and lotion for the baby are imperative. But if you forget, a muslin square can be fashioned into a rather effective bandana.
Now on to food. Weddings are known for having an abundance of the stuff but they're less well known for punctuality in this department. Moreover, smoked salmon blinis with a sprinkling of dill and a dollop of horseradish may keep my hunger at bay, but they are a little sophisticated - and minimalist - for a big hungry baby-toddler. So bring your own. We made a baked potato in the morning, added butter and cheese, boiled up some broccoli and stored it in a Tupperware.
After dinner, you'll want some couple time. We'd planned for my parents to collect Joni around 6pm, meaning that I could drink to my heart's content but I decided to hold back for two reasons: firstly, if they got held up I didn't want to be too drunk to get Joni home to bed. And secondly, I didn't want to be one of those mums who gets bit overexcited and ends up stumbling around drunkenly, babe on hip, to the disgust of fellow guests. That is what the nighttime is for.
So, to avoid peaking too early, eat plenty of those aforementioned canapés. Best bet is to corner the waiter as they leave the kitchen and swipe the entire tray into your handbag to gobble discreetly. This will line your stomach and create pauses between sips of champagne. Also, have a big lunch before you head to the ceremony. Yes, I know you don't want a bulging belly in your fancy frock but it really is a small price to pay.
And lastly, if you have friends at the wedding you're attending, it's probable that in their own drunken haze, they'll find your baby infinitely most cute and exciting - it's like a version of beer goggles with less dire consequences. Surround yourself with these people, in fact with anyone who wants to play peek-a-boo for an hour. Because you'll need both hands to cradle a flute and those canapés.