In Part One: A Cynics View, it’s fair to say I was pretty far from maudlin regarding the concept of inviting kids to your special day. As I mentioned, I wrote the previous post after a particularly challenging day with my young daughter. However, my wonderful husband, supportive as he is, firmly encouraged me to revisit what I’d written. Sure enough, with fresh eyes, it did indeed become clear that a balanced view was required – but not quite delivered. While I stand by the potential issues associated with having young children at a wedding, this post is intended to redress the balance and remind us of the other side of the coin. I trust that by the end of this piece you will see that I am human and capable of appearing both heartless and exceedingly sentimental.
The Cute Factor
Essentially, this heading covers all of the following situations. But each one is deserving of a mention and will equally tug on the ol’ heartstrings. These are real events that I’ve borne witness to, and while they’re meaningful to me because they involve my family, that’s kind of the point – we will each have our own special moments specific to our beautiful bubbas and those of our close family and friends.
There is just nothing like having your much-loved nieces, nephews and friends’ adored infants solemnly toddling before you towards your future husband. The gasps of pleasure from your guests will match your own, and if there are falters in steps or holding of hands, they make for sweet bonuses. There is (almost) nothing more beautiful to behold.
Further to that nifty bit of foreshadowing, there are, actually, a couple of things more beautiful:
Prior to my own wedding, for personal reasons, I made the difficult decision to walk down the aisle alone. (In fact, I was to descend a staircase, and meet my husband-to-be at the bottom. There was a poignant metaphor behind the idea of walking through the rows of our guests together.)
I had my two closest friends as bridesmaids, and my year-old niece and four year-old nephew as flower girl and page boy. With minimal fuss in mind, I waited until we were about to leave the refuge of the bride’s room before asking my nephew which bridesmaid’s hand he would like to hold to make our entrance (the other would carry his sister).
My adorable and adored nephew told me, very gravely, that he must hold my hand as he had to ‘look after me today’. Gulp.
Having wondered for the preceding few months at which instant I would dissolve into an hysterical wreck (it was, after all, inevitable on my wedding day), I was overcome with a deluge of emotion and wondered no longer. We descended the stairs hand in hand and, without question, that was one of the most precious moments of my day and remains one of my most precious memories. I love that boy fiercely and he gave me a gift when, without even being aware of it, I needed it most.
At my brother’s wedding the summer following my own, my same cutie pie niece and nephew played starring roles once again in their parents’ wedding. This time, as my brother awaited the arrival of his lovely bride, my nephew stood holding his dad’s hand at the front, with his back to the room. He was now five years old and stood ramrod straight, emulating his daddy.
When his mum arrived and took her place beside my brother, my nephew remained beside them; as the registrar spoke to the guests and then prepared the bride and groom to say their vows, still he did not sit down; and, as the rings were exchanged, my nephew stood alongside his parents, the pride pouring off him palpably, almost tangible in its depth.
Writing this, I feel bad that I’m not giving more credit to my niece, but this is due only to her tender age. She was, of course, beautiful on each occasion – but it’s the actions of her brother which hold such significance. Once again, this point also relates to that same superstar little boy.
Summer 2014 and yet another wedding, this time of my younger brother to his radiant bride (you can read all about their incredibly emotional wedding here). My very lovely sister-in-law tragically lost her father on Christmas Eve 2012, and thus found herself in a similar position to myself, in that she walked alone to meet my brother on their wedding day.
They had a couple of readings during their ceremony, one of which they requested I chose for them as a surprise, and the other which they chose for my by now six year-old nephew. The reading they gave him was kept as a surprise from the majority of the guests and was all the more poignant for his tender age. You can see the Winnie the Pooh excerpt he read here, I am sure the relevance will not be lost on you. It was a beautiful, moving service and affected even my entirely phlegmatic uncle.
Each of these scenes include some of the most special moments from the weddings I’ve talked about. They would not have been possible without my nephew’s involvement and they created some wonderful memories for our family; not for a moment would I take back any of them.
I appreciate that this does not make much of a case to invite children you do not know, and honestly, that’s because personally, it’s not for me: we chose not to have children at our wedding beyond close family. However, there is a place for their involvement and it’s a personal choice. I can say with authority that you could be missing out on some incredible memories by vetoing all children from your wedding, and that would be a dreadful shame.
See Part One: A Cynics View for
more pros and cons. I’d love to hear your views, please comment below with your thoughts and experiences!