Sunday, April 7, 2013

Whose wedding is this anyway?



Yesterday, my mom and I were having lunch and she was telling me about her friend Rosemarie whose son is getting married.  I asked how the wedding plans were coming and she told me things were coming along pretty well, although she said Rosemarie, and one of her other kids, are upset because children are not going to be allowed at the wedding and this means that her grandchildren will not be able to attend.

My mom told me that Rosemarie is not sure how to handle the situation - whether she should have a "talk" with her future daughter-in-law or what.  I could tell that my mom was in agreement with Rosemarie that of course children should be allowed at the wedding, and that she felt the bride was being unreasonable and selfish to forbid kids from the affair.  In fact, she suggested that one of the grandchildren could even play a piano piece at the affair and wouldn't that be nice.  At this point, I reminded my mom that OUR wedding was adults-only (she didn't remember that) and I do not blame people at all for wanting a sophisticated adult affair without kids running around, screaming and detracting all the attention from the happy couple.   I told her a wedding is the couple's day and they should plan it in the way that works best for them.  And if that means they don't want kids at their wedding, than so be it!

I think it threw my mom off that I took this viewpoint because she assumed that everyone (including me) would be in agreement that it is wrong to forbid children from weddings. 

I think too many couples bend over backwards to make their wedding celebration an affair for their guests instead for themselves - inviting people they'd rather not invite, selecting a song list of songs they don't really like, allowing children when they'd rather it be an adult affair, choosing a menu to suit their guests' preferences instead of their own, continuing silly (and sometimes sexist and outdated) traditions just because people expect them (god forbid a bouquet is not thrown, or a chicken dance is not danced or a bride walks herself down the aisle. The world might end).

When my hubby and I got married, our wedding was a pure expression of who we are.  We axed several wedding traditions that didn't feel right to us, and added some new ones.  We selected the food and songs we liked the best - and we did not allow children.  And guess what?  We - and our guests - had the blast of the century.  Our guests fed off our joy and the wedding turned out to be one of the most uplifting and joyous we have ever been to.  And the children were not missed - as evidenced by the fact that my mom doesn't even remember that we didn't allow them at our wedding.

15 comments:

Roxie Harlow said...

This is also something I don't understand. The idea that a wedding is about everyone involved. The truth is, and should be realized, that a wedding is a celebration of love and the couple involved. Though we're not engaged, my boyfriend and I have come to the conclusion that when/if we get married, it will be all about us as a couple and what we want. Our families expectations, be damned! My family and his are both on us about getting married, little do they realize how far from their expectations our wedding would be! I would most definitely prefer children to not be allowed at such an event. In the end, the event is about the couple and it's their choice what goes on. How ridiculous that others put their own demands on the happy couple!

Priyanka Purnanada said...

We had a tiny wedding - as in 12 people, including the officiant and the photographer! My BIL's then girlfriend (now wife - BLEH), threw a hissy fit because we wouldn't allow her loud, annoying, misbehaved spawn to attend. It was one of the best decisions we ever made! :D No one missed the kid and everyone had a lovely time. Big surprise. ;) LOL! She still holds a grudge against us because she had no one to babysit so she couldn't attend either - like we give a shit. Ha! So when her wedding rolled around, I got to be in family pictures, but she made sure to exclude me from pictures that included her. LOL! Oh my word. Some people are like five year olds. Hee hee!! :D

Olimpia said...

I agree. I think it might be different if you have a morning wedding, but in an evening wedding at the very least you are just going to have to live with the fact that your parent friends with small children will be leaving very early because Bobby needs to be in bed by 8. So you lose out on having them celebrate until later, like they would (probably happily) if they had a sitter.

Beyond any crying or bored children, that would really disappoint me. It's a waste of all the effort you put into the day if a good fraction of your guests don't stay long enough to enjoy it with you.

Rae said...

I remember my grandparents thought it was incredibly rude when my cousin had a childfree wedding. Like wanted to take my cousins to task and reprimand them. And it's not like there were any small children in the family either. The youngest cousins were 10 and 12 so they were allowed at the wedding and reception.

For our reception we made one exception, our nephew was 10 months at the time and as SIL and BIL had to fly halfway across the country we decided one baby wouldn't ruin things. All other invitations were addressed specifically to the adults and not their children. A few families that I have known forever asked if their older (9-12ish) kids could come to the ceremony only and we decided that was fine as they were all kids that I had coached since they were itty bitty. None of them came to the reception though.

We did pay for a sitter during the ceremony for our nephew. It seemed unreasonable to have to have SIL and BIL find one when they didn't know the area and I didn't want a crying baby during my wedding!

Kel-Marie said...

Our wedding was adults-only with the exception of my nephew, who was our ring bearer. And even though he was the only child he was not bored and had a blast with his new BFF, my husband's cousin who was one of our groomsmen. NOBODY pitched a fit, including a brand spanking new mom, about having to get a sitter to stay home with their kids while they went out and had a great time at a great party. We wanted out guests to have fun, not chase after tired cranky sugar buzzed kids...and we wanted them to stay out past their little ones bedtimes!

My DJ told us he hadn't done a wedding where so many people danced ALL night in a very long time...I told him it's because we didn't have toddlers and young children running around and screaming on the dance floor. He blinked and said in a sort of awed voice "you're absolutely right"

Kaye said...

If I marry, the only children allowed to attend will be my sister's, if she has any. If my partner has siblings with kids he wants to invite, fine, but I do not want a huge wedding. I don't even want it in a church.

On another note, I hated any and all ceremonies as a kid and weddings were the worst. They were utterly boring and I wanted to be anywhere else.

Kevin said...

When I planned my wedding, I found it very easy to disregard everyone else's expectations once my wife and I decided to pay for it ourselves. I think a lot of young couples don't realize that if mommy gets to pay for the wedding, then mommy gets a say in the wedding. ;)

Temujin said...

People who hold a grudge for years about not being invited to a wedding are not the sort of people I want to spend time with anyway. If they can't handle a childfree event, then I'm not sure what we see in each other.

Just about every person I know, every person I'm close to, is someone who prefers small weddings or would understand if their friends kept the party small and manageable. None of them think weddings are things that cannot be missed.

I do think you run into problems when you allow some kids and dis-invite other kids. Then people wonder why you're "picking on" their kids and not so-and-so's kids.

One solution would be just to warn parents that the best man's toast is going to be raunchy and the subject matter in the vows is going to be rated NC-17. Sure, go ahead, if you want your kids exposed to that kind of thing....
Did we mention that we're exchanging vows in a nude skydiving ceremony?

My wife and I had a small ceremony, just immediate family and some very close friends. We didn't think about the question of inviting or not inviting kids. One couple brought their 2-year old boy who's kind of rambunctious sometimes, but it wasn't a problem after all. I think if we had made it adults-only they would have understood, but we don't have any regrets about letting him come. He was actually somewhat entertaining for some of the other guests. TI depends a lot on the kid and the luck of the draw.

I do think it would be rude to expect your guests to hire a babysitter AND fly across the country AND bring you an expensive wedding gift AND be happy that it's a childfree event.

Temujin said...

I just got the "who's going to take care of you when you're older?" bingo from one of my coworkers. She has four grown children all over the country who have tried to get as far away from her as possible. I asked her how she knows that her kids really are going to take care of her when she's older, and her answer is, basically, "because I raised them to." [?!? Are you serious ?!?]

Meanwhile, she has an aunt who's a nun. She's very proud of her aunt, because her aunt leads this very fulfilling life. (You know nuns, right, the ones who take vows of celibacy, which means they also don't have children?) She almost envies her aunt for her life. A day after she brings up the "elder care" bingo she brings up the subject of her aunt the nun. She sees no contradiction in her thinking. Her aunt chose a life that meant not having children, and that life is great despite her lack of kids, but I'm doomed because I don't have kids. Huh?

Lisa S. said...

I found a really great article, in which a British woman actually admits (without backpedaling!) that she didn't want children but felt she had to have them anyway...http://www.babble.com/mom/this-mom-regrets-her-children-do-you-hate-her-for-it/?cmp=ELP%7Cbbl%7Clp%7CYahooShine%7CMain%7C%7C041013%7C%7Cthismomregretsherchildrendoyouhateherforit%7CfamE%7C%7C%7C

NoniWork said...

I am so for the idea of adults-only weddings. I would be furious if someone tried to bring their kid anyways (which I've heard of happening). Hell, I'll have a bouncer seeing to that.

Frankly, everybody makes ridiculous demands of others peoples weddings, and that's not fair. At someone elses wedding, you should be there to let those people have their day. Not parade around little Jayden and prod them into doing something "cute" so you can get some sort of attention by proxy.

Also, it's kind of unreasonable to expect a kid to sit still and act like an adult in that situation. Kids get bored, kids get tired, or they don't feel well, and it would be really silly to expect them to act like an adult in that situation.

I have to hear crying, babbling, or screaming kids everywhere I go. I don't have to hear that at my wedding. I also wouldn't want the memories of the wedding to be about the ring bearer who threw the pillow, or the kid who yelled something inappropriate during the ceremony, or the kid sticking his hands in the very expense cake. Oh, and I've seen video of all those things. That last one? Rather than rushing over before the kid started ruining the cake, the person keeps filming as though it's the funniest thing in the world. I'm sure the couple who spent most of their savings for their special day thought it was funny too.

aria said...

When my cousin L got married, my other cousins brought along their children to the reception. two of the kids have severe ADHD. because they were running around throughout the event like a bunch of, forgive the language, pesky little runts, they got so close to accidentally knocking the 4-tiered cake, i swear. i gasped. when i looked at their parents (my other cousins), they appeared to have not noticed a thing. it was as if they had long ago given up on looking after their kids, who are just so difficult to manage. what i'm trying to say is, it isn't always a good idea to bring kids to events like this.

Poppie Jasper said...

I had a beach wedding, so the only two kids there were my little nieces (hubby's brother's children, 3 and 5...I couldn't really expect them to leave the girls in England for our wedding in Thailand)...ANYWAYS...our first dance was a "ring around the rosie" type affair as they were stuck to me like limpets for the day...and I was bullied into sticking candles in the cake so they could blow out the "birthday cake". Sigh. So annoying...they hijacked almost the whole event. They were cute and all that...BUT THIS WAS MY WEDDING.

V said...

Yeppers. We wanted a child free wedding. We almost got it, too. Our wedding was at a beautiful historic museum type home with lots of Victorian furnishings and a huge open staircase. Almost everyone was thrilled to find a sitter and come enjoy themselves...except my SIL, who was up in arms that her ONLY sitter she would possibly allow to watch my then year old niece was my MIL, who obviously wanted to see her youngest son get married. It was so atrocious that eventually we just said fine, do what you want. My niece is adorable and overall well behaved, and was at the time, but she definitely got cranky over the late evening, the loud music, and she definitely pulled apart several of my carefully handmade decorations. It didn't detract from the big day, but my SIL has never been so much as polite since, and often is angry with my husband and I and insists we do not fuss enough over their (now 2) children. (She flatly denies that we have attended birthdays and holidays we did in fact attend and we have never received any sort of acknowledgment for even lavish gifts). I am told this is all back to the wedding. Ugh.

Sophie the Rammstein loving lady said...

I know this article is 3 years old but I am having a childfree wedding. I have seen too many weddings ruined by children - screaming during vows, wandering up the aisle, running around, being noisy ect.....NO WAY IN HELL am I having that at my wedding!