The Case for Inviting and Including Kids in Weddings

The flowers are in bloom, the weather is perfect. This can only mean one thing; wedding season is officially upon us!

If you are anything like me, however, you’ve hit a stage in your life where the baby shower invitations are much more prevalent than the wedding ones. The days of finding a cute cocktail dress and slinging shots in honor of the bride and groom are few and far between. Even though my husband and I could technically be considered an old married couple by now, we were lucky enough to be asked to take part in my brother’s wedding. AND our two boys were to be the official ring bearers! Cue the squeals and quietly hidden mom feelings of terror.

My boys are 5 and 2, so any mom can understand my juxtaposition of feelings. We talked about it months ahead of time. We carefully planned their wedding attire and prepared back up outfits in case of someone barfing, spilling snacks or obtaining mud stains. I bribed with the biggest and best toys in exchange for cooperation during the ceremony. Little candies were even positioned on their pillows to encourage them as they walked down the aisle. Plans A, B and C were in place if something were to go awry.

Admittedly, I could. not. wait. to see them in matching outfits donning sweet pillows as they walked down the aisle. I also knew with kids, despite my best efforts, come unpredictability and a 90% chance pandemonium of some point was bound to ensue. And of course, it did. 

Understandably, kids are often excluded from the wedding invite list nowadays. Brides and grooms want their extensive planning to be pulled off without a hitch. They have enough to worry about between the weather, the guests and the zillion moving parts of planning such an extraordinary event. The additional stress of children and all of their idiosyncrasies can be enough to put the couple over the edge. I get it. We’ve all been there. The cries during the ceremony, the high likelihood of something being broken at the reception, numerous fingerprints in the icing of the cake often come hand in hand with children. Not that I would know personally about any and all of those aforementioned mishaps… cough, cough. That being said, with my own wedding day in the rear view mirror and now with kids of my own, I see the other side.

Kids are messy. They are unpredictable, loud and sometimes chaotic. But guess what? So is marriage. The coos of a baby and the impatient squeals of a toddler in the background during my brother’s ceremony made it feel like home. It didn’t distract the bride and groom. The noises around them as they said their vows were muffled as their only focus in those moments were each other. Family, children, an abundance of love, and embracing the imperfections of building a life together have always defined their idea of marriage. Linking current families and starting a new one is the reason people get married. It’s also the reason that including everyone, even the kids, to witness such an occasion is so lovely.

From a mom’s perspective, observing my kids as ring bearers will be something I remember for all of my days. My boys truly love their uncle (and new aunt!) and think he is a hero. They felt special and watched with wonder every moment of the day. Their booty shaking and robot moves kept the dancing going during the reception and brought lightness to the celebration. Between the two of them, they also probably ate at least 12 cupcakes, spilled drinks, had meltdowns and ran around like maniacs. Children provide a feeling of complete abandon and freedom. Finding joy in the imperfect moments is what life is all about. They make us look back with fondness and have a chuckle. 

From a wife’s perspective, I look back at the moments we have shared and how they were made so much better by the unpredictability of life. Mishaps have turned in to sweet memories. Detoured plans made for more exciting voyages. The impeccable Pinterest soiree is beautiful, but it comes to life because of the people, not because of the things.  

As my brother and his new wife’s love grow, I hope they embrace this wild and messy side of growing old together. It’s not always picture-perfect because that would be boring. Marriage and parenthood are quite the adventure, and isn’t it ironic how simply involving a few young children in their wedding foreshadows and symbolizes all of the unpredictable yet beautiful moments ahead they have yet to live.

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