My husband and I just got back from five glorious days in Aspen, CO. It was the longest time we've ever been away from our two children, ages two and five, and we so needed the escape. Not only is Aspen one of the most charming towns ever (mountains! luxury shopping! endless gourmet food options!), but we were there for a wedding, which is the best excuse ever for us as parents to get away, let loose, and revisit our younger, binge-drinking selves. Seriously, someone at this wedding put a GoPro on an enormous bottle of tequila and recorded people taking swigs as a present for the couple. Only at a wedding would this sound kind of cute instead of alarmingly destructive (and no, I did not participate).
While I estimate my husband and I have been to almost 30 weddings together during our 10-year relationship, never have we enjoyed receiving an invite as much as now, when we are in our mid-30s and the parents of two young, demanding children.
Here are six reasons weddings are the best after you have kids.
- You have a great excuse for an overnight babysitter. No matter how involved your kids' grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends are, asking them to watch your kids for a few days — or even overnight — still feels like a lot. But when one of your friends plans a destination wedding, you automatically feel less guilty. I mean, it's not your fault that it takes forever to get to Aspen/Sonoma/Mykonos (three of the destination weddings I've been lucky enough to attend). Even a local wedding usually comes with a cheap hotel block, and what parent wants to wake up to a demanding toddler the morning after a wedding? A night away is a must.
- And an excuse to get dressed up. I'm currently writing this wearing yoga pants, the shirt I slept in last night, and no makeup. It's 11 a.m. A wedding means I get to put on a fancy dress and sensible heels (gone are the days of my 4-inch heel fetish). I might even style my hair into something other than a topknot. This is a good thing.
- It's a night out you don't have to plan or pay for. A band! Free booze! Dinner that probably won't be great, but who cares because you didn't have to cook it! Did I mention free booze?! No one appreciates a no-brainer, free-of-charge night out like parents.
- Dancing is a great stress reliever. If your family is like mine, you have plenty of pajama dance parties in your kitchen, with your 5-year-old spinning a mix of Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor, screaming if you attempt to play a song she doesn't know all the words to, and terrifying you with her newfound ability to twerk. Dancing with your friends and husband to adult music is so much better.
- It's a great way to reconnect with your spouse. Parenting young kids can turn your marriage into a mutual partnership focused on diaper changing, feeding, bath giving, and tantrum diffusing. But watching two people commit their lives to one another reminds you of how on your own wedding day, you were only worried about making each other happy, and it might just remind you to do more of that now, too. After the kids are in bed, of course.
- You are (probably) mature enough to know when to cut yourself off. The worst part of weddings before kids was definitely the morning after, when you are suddenly reminded of why drinking two whole bottles of Champagne by yourself is a bad idea (or was that just me?). As a parent who has occasionally experienced the hell that is dealing with a toddler while you have a major hangover, you're more likely to keep it under control. Probably. Maybe.