This weekend, my sister talked to me about the timing for her wedding. It looks like it's going to be a late afternoon/evening event. The ceremony isn't likely to start before 5 and dinner won't be served until 8:30.
This makes it a challenge but not an insurmountable one. It means the boys will have to be fed early, probably between the ceremony and the official dinner. But I always assumed they'd have trouble with the buffet anyway and would likely eat on their own.
Thinking about it, I think the real challenge will be boredom. My sister has thoughtfully arranged for a quiet area they can go if they get overwhelmed. Which is good, but we'll only have a finite window of "good" time before they've exhausted their entertainment possibilities and will want to go elsewhere.
We'll have to be at the site at least a half hour before the ceremony to be part of the processional (which the boys will have to participate in). Then the ceremony itself is an hour (although we've been told it's not a problem for the boys to move around). Then there's a 90 minute gap while the wedding party has pictures done. Then comes supper and eventually dancing.
The critical part is the 90 minute gap. The boys will already be a little bored and irritable from the ceremony, as all children are when it comes to adult events. If we stay at the venue and let them play on their iPods or run around, I suspect they will be bored and ready to leave by the time things get going again.
I also have to recognize that my husband is likely to be anxious himself. Whether it's his Aspergers or just his personality, new events make him upset, particularly if he doesn't understand the rules. This usually makes him crack down hard on the kids to keep them from bothering other people. And because he's upset, he's harsher than necessary. This is one of the reasons why I'm insisting on bringing along an aide to help us.
Picking an aide to help with this kind of situation is a tricky business. I needed someone who travelled well and whom I could tolerate being in close proximity to for the weekend. I need someone with initiative, because I'll be busy and Dave will be struggling. And I need someone familiar with Alex, who has a good rapport with him. My first choice was unfortunately busy with a family reunion but I'm hopeful on my second choice.
I'll have to do some thinking. Will the boys be better off returning to the hotel to eat (or maybe a local fast food place, since they'll probably be bored of the hotel as well)? Is there someplace nearby that we could let them run and play outside? Although they'll be in their bridal party outfits, I'm not particularly worried about that after the ceremony. If it means they're happy and participating in the rest of the wedding, then a little dirt or grass is fine with me.