10 Things To Ask When You’re Looking At Wedding Venues.

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{cocoweddingvenues.co.uk}

Me and my partner recently got engaged (4 days ago to be precise) and we have already started looking at venues. Not that we’re in a hurry or anything… I must have that affect on people! We want to find the perfect venue ASAP so then we will longer to pay it off and it won’t be so stressful.

I have put together a list of questions to ask whilst looking around at venues, anyone else ever leave somewhere and remember they forgot to ask or do something?! 

So, you can copy and paste these questions into your phone notes section so you don’t forget to ask!

1- What different packages do you do? How much are they?

Okay so I’m aware that’s 2 questions but shh. It’s so important to ask them what different packages they do as you may just end up going with their main, bog standard package instead of exploring all other ideas. You may LOVE the venue but you’re not too keen on the package; be honest with them. Most places will try to accommodate your needs, they want their spaces to be filled after all!

2- What can you offer us that other venues can’t? 

There’s nothing like a bit of blackmail… If you really love the venue but simply can’t afford it, let them know about their local competition and how they are offering you a lot more. They will most likely offer a reduced price or try and work something out with you.

3- Can we alter the packages if we want to? 

Sometimes the packages are only suited for a certain number of guests or may feature something you don’t like.

4- What time does the ceremony start? 

Different places have different ceremony times, some don’t start until the evening whereas some start at midday. You will need to find out in order for you to plan around that time.

5- Are you licensed to hold civil ceremonies? 

Some venues don’t actually hold civil ceremonies, we LOVED the look of a venue and when we went to see it they told us they don’t actually hold civil ceremonies, just the wedding reception instead… Oops!

6- What time is kick-out time?

Plain and simply, when does the partying have to stop? Most places have a midnight kick out time however depending on the location they may prefer guests to leave earlier.

7- Is the venue exclusive? 

In other words, will their be random people walking around the venue photo-bombing? Some venues will close the whole site for your wedding, whereas some keep parts of the venue open.

8- Can we decorate? 

Ever been to a venue and everything is perfect…. everything except those ghastly chairs?! *shudders*

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Ask them if you can bring your own decor (for example you may want fairy lights, bunting and of course chair covers to hide those hideous chairs. Some places offer to decorate the chairs for you)

9- What is the cheapest month and cheapest day? 

If you are budgeting then it may be a good idea to ask them this. Some places charge several more grand for a Saturday wedding than a Wednesday wedding for example and the Summer months tend to be more expensive.

10- Are you licensed to serve alcohol? 

For most people, a reception without a bar is a sad, sad, sad thought. Some places aren’t licensed to serve alcohol so it’s very important to ask in advanced.

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Detachment Parenting And Why It May Be Harming Your Children AND You

Detachment parenting has less to do with co sleeping, baby wearing and breastfeeding but more to do with how responsive you are as a parent.

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If you don’t answer your babies cries out of fear that you’re spoiling them, if you only feed to a schedule and if you refuse to comfort them past 7PM until 7AM then you are probably a detachment parent. I know plenty of mum’s who class themselves as AP and they don’t co sleep, baby wear or breastfeed. They respond to their babies cues, that’s all it takes really. There is this massive myth that if you’re an attachment parent then it means that you have your baby ATTACHED to you 24/7. (which to be fair I have had plenty of days like that, especially when Freddie was a newborn)

The word ‘attachment’ in the term Attachment Parenting is less physical and more emotional. It means attached in the sense of you and your baby having a good attachment and bond. It means your baby trusts you and knows that all their needs will be met and they will not be left to cry. It also means they feel safe to test the boundaries and occasionally cry for attention. Because crying for attention isn’t a bad thing, it’s normal and if they’re crying for attention then its probably because they need it.

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Dr Sears (the King of AP) recommends breastfeeding as part of being an attachment parent however he also recognises that it isn’t necessary to be an AP. He suggests that if you do not breastfeed, then to ‘mimic’ the act by being the babies main feeder and cradling baby close to you whilst feeding them, as if you would whilst breastfeeding.

Attachment parenting is seen in such a negative light when in fact there’s nothing negative about it. You are simply attending to your babies needs and answering their cues no matter what time of the day it is. Whether you’re wearing your baby in a sling or cradling him, whether you’re breastfeeding or feeding your baby a bottle, whether you are co sleeping or settling your baby to sleep in their crib. If your baby’s needs are met and they are happy, then you’re probably doing Attachment Parenting right.

Some of my friends who class themselves as AP have never co slept, simply because they never needed to. Their baby settled fine in their moses basket or crib, so that was that. Whereas mums like me have found co sleeping to be an absolute life saver. (Read about our co sleeping adventures here.)

Another ridiculous misconception about AP is that we all walk around with armpit hair round our ankles, we stink of BO as we haven’t been able to take a shower without our babies crying and we don’t take time for ourselves. Whilst that may be true for some parents, most of us do not smell and our armpit hair is of reasonable length. Attachment Parents will be less likely to take time for themselves, especially in the first year or so, as their baby is their main priority and the first year seems to be the hardest to leave the baby. If your baby is sad without you so you do not leave them, then you are listening to their cues and desires. My ‘me time’ is when Freddie is in bed in the evenings or when Simon occasionally takes him out for a walk in the Tula. Yes, some days I probably do smell a bit worse than I’d like to, some days I cannot even brush my hair or put on my make-up, some days I barely even get dressed, some days I pee with a baby on my lap. But most of the time I still manage to shower (when my partner is home and can entertain Freddie), most of the time I do get to apply my make up (with Freddie on my back in the Tula or playing at my feet) and most of the time I can quickly run away for a pee in silence. (Sometimes.)

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SO, detachment parenting. How can it harm your child and yourself? There has been a lot of research in the past 10+ years to do with parenting techniques and the effects on children. It has been proven that Cry It Out raises the cortisol levels so much so that even when the child does learn to fall asleep on their own, they found that they were equally as stressed as they were when they were crying themselves to sleep. Many parents practise this method in an attempt to not have a ‘clingy’ baby and to teach their baby independence. To many parents who practise this, this method backfires on them as their child grows older. Studies have shown that babies and children who have been left to cry often have insecure attachments to their parents and therefore are more ‘clingy’ with them when they are older and find it more difficult to part with them. Many victims of the CIO method have later on reported that this had a great effect on them too, yes this may be anecdotal evidence but isn’t anecdotal evidence enough to put you off leaving your child to cry? What if that adult who is still damaged by being left to cry was once your little baby?

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It can harm you as a parent by living with the guilt of leaving your baby to cry. I’ve never met a parent who has said that they didn’t feel bad leaving their baby or child to cry. They all harp on about how guilty they feel, how do they think the baby feels? Your feelings are not more valid than your babies and your guilt is your instinct trying to tell you to answer your god damn baby. We are the only mammals who leave our babies to cry and the only mammals who purposely detach themselves from their babies and children. Why is that? Humans were once the same as every other mammal, we responded to our babies cries, we answered their cues and they were with us until they were securely attached and had the skills to move on and have their own family.

*Credit to the pictures*

 

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Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Do-As-I-Say-Not-As-I-DoOur children learn more by what we do, not what we say. Actions do speak louder than words in parenting, and you have to lead by example.

Telling your children that they have to eat all their dinner when you’ve just left half of your dinner or telling them not to shout whilst shouting at them and telling them they must do their chores NOW when you still haven’t done last weeks washing and ironing is hypocritical and confusing. Naturally, children will want to challenge this. They are being told one thing but are seeing another. Is it any wonder why so many children push boundaries and are challenging?

These situations may seem small but to children they are not. Do as I say, not as I do may seem like a light hearted phrase but it’s confusing, hypocritical and unfair. Practising what we preach is always important, but when we have mini humans watching our every move it’s even more important to follow out the things we are preaching.

Telling our children to go to bed at a certain time even when they are not tired is another one. Do you go to bed when you’re not tired? I’m guessing not. Obviously it’s a different scenario altogether if your child is clearly knackered but if they are genuinely not tired but are being expected to go to bed anyway because you say so then that’s just silly.

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You Must Always Be In A Good Mood Or Else You Are Naughty

 

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Us parents have some incredibly odd and unrealistic expectations of our children. One of them being ‘you must always be in a good mood’!

I see far too often mums on Facebook posting about the naughty step, the naughty corner, time out and other humiliating punishments. Most of these are consequences of the child expressing their bad mood. Of course, as parents it is our jobs to set firm boundaries and we deserve to be respected. But how on earth are our children going to respect us if we don’t respect them?

I have plenty of bad days and sometimes I can take out my bad moods on those around me. (If my partner is reading this, I love you, you’re the best) Us adults always have bad days, I mean, you can’t blame us, being an adult is hard, and we more often than not express our bad feelings in one way or another. Most of the time, expressing these feelings are healthy. As long as we are not harming ourselves or others around us then I think it’s perfectly fine to do so, and it should be the same for children. Whether that’s huffing and puffing around the house, generally being grumpy or not wanting to talk to anyone.

Yes, maybe children’s bad moods are spurred on due to something minor (in our eyes it’s minor anyway) such as not being able to have a certain toy or not being allowed to eat the whole bag of Harribo but to them this is massive and it’s important. They don’t understand the reasoning behind them not being allowed to do these things, that’s why it’s our job to gently tell them that ‘I’m sorry I can’t buy you the new toy as mummy doesn’t have enough money, however you have plenty of amazing toys here to play with, shall we go and have a look?’

It’s a vicious cycle really, you tell your child off for not sharing so they are then in a bad mood because they rightfully so don’t want to share their toy, so you then punish them further for being in a bad mood. I think this is incredibly hypocritical and we need to remember that our children look up to us as their role models.

 

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Our Christmas In Pictures With Freddie And I

Wow, it’s been an amazing past few days! I’m not going to write loads as I’ll be here all day else as its been so busy and lovely! Instead I will share some photos with you.

Here are some photos from Christmas Eve. Freddie, my partner and I all headed over to my parents house for Christmas Dinner. My parents have always done dinner on Christmas Eve instead as my mum hated being stuck in the kitchen whilst we all unwrapped our presents and none of us really ate much as we were all stuffed on sweeties! The tradition has been going for over 20 years now! We also have a table present with our meal to get the excitement flowing. 

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Freddie opening his table present (or attempting to!) Granny and Pop got him a lovely musical book that plays nursery rhymes.

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Freddie tucking into his roast dinner. We had prawn cocktail for starters which he loved however I forgot to take any photos! Oops.

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Granny and Pop are besotted with Freddie.

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Pop, still besotted with Freddie. (Can you tell I’m not very good at commentary?)

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Freddie climbing up the stairs all by himself whilst we wait for pudding.

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Uncle Jack and Freddie.

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Uncle Henry and Freddie.

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Santa stopped by and left Freddie some presents.

Now for Christmas Day! We spent the morning just us 3, we had a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and opened some presents. My partner didn’t let me open my present until the end… (find out why below!!!) We then caught a short ferry ride over to my partners mum and had dinner there. (2 Christmas Dinners in 2 days, and I didn’t have to cook any! Score!) In the afternoon we then got back on the ferry and went over to my parents to swap presents, drink alcohol and be merry. By this point Freddie was very cranky and tired (he’s been very ill recently too so I’m not surprised!) So we returned home, fat and full, armed with gifts and happy memories.

FIND OUT THE EXCITING NEWS BELOW

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Freddie opening his presents in the morning, he was very ill with chest infection but still managed to be happy!

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Our breakfast!

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Daddy and Freddie

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………….

And now for the best part of the day, my partner made me wait to open my present…

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Expecting Our Children To Share, What Is This All About?

Girls Sharing Chocolate Milk

‘Johnnie, share your toy!’

‘No, stop playing with your toy and give it to Mary!’

‘Stop being mean, you can share or else we are going home!’

Just a few examples of phrases I have heard at baby groups. It makes me really upset hearing these. I would never expect another child to stop playing and exploring with their toy in order to accommodate Freddie, and vice versa. If Freddie is playing with a toy that another child wants, I will simply and kindly say ‘I know how badly you want to play with this toy, however Freddie is playing with it at the moment but I will let you know when he’s finished with it.’

I just don’t understand the whole culture around making our children share something they don’t want to share. Sure, it’s always nice to share but children don’t understand the importance behind sharing, they must learn this themselves and threatening them or labelling them as ‘naughty’ if they don’t share their beloved toy is just confusing and mean in their eyes.

You know, we don’t walk into a cafe and ask the waitress to tell Bill over in the corner to stop reading his newspaper because Fanny-Ann wants to read it. No, you just patiently wait your turn or kindly ask them if they will let you know when they are done with it.

There are extremes at either end of this argument, like everything, and I think it’s about finding a reasonable balance. Sharing is a nice thing to do and we can model this to our children in day-to-day situations. However we shouldn’t force sharing on our children if they don’t want to.

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