Monday, April 24, 2006

KIDS + WEDDINGS = ? (PART III)


After three non-stop days of being "on" at my college reunion (it's VERY tiring trying to look cute + speak eloquently + make your life sound more exciting than it really is), I am very excited to get back to the anonymous world of the Wedding Fairy (since I certainly couldn't exactly introduce myself that way there :)

I was speaking with a friend of mine about the concept of kids at weddings, and she made a very apt analogy: in many ways, the presence of children at weddings is much like having grandparents at high school/college graduations--the ceremony/reception oftentimes becomes about THEM--not because it's their fault--but because they don't know any better, or can't really help it.

Remember at high school graduations when 80 year old grandparents had to be wheeled to the coveted, shady part of the lawn (if the graduation was held outside), or outright faint because of the heat? I do. That type of behavior was pretty frequent, as I remember, at my graduation from high school (and that of my brother). Parents were too busy looking after the grandparents (i.e. their mothers and fathers)--and therefore missed much of the ceremony due to the constant fussing. In most cases, it really isn't the grandparent's fault--I don't think an 85-year old woman loves the fact that she's in 90 degree heat and needs to be coddled. However, due to the frailty and age of many of these people, receptions and ceremonies become about THEM--instead of the guests maintaining focus on those who are on stage to receive their diplomas.

In many cases, young children are much like grandparents, in the sense that they MUST be taken care of--and that circumstance doesn't always lend itself to their being part of the ceremony/reception.

If a four-year old is supposed to walk down the aisle as a flower girl, and then stay on stage (or to the side of the stage) during the actual ceremony, can we actually expect her to stand still? One of my friends attended a wedding where a woman was trying to make her two-year old sit still on stage (she was supposed to be part of the ceremony), while the young child was screaming and fighting with her mother, because she didn't want to sit where she was placed. Is that the child's fault? Certainly not. The mother had unrealistic expectations about her daughter remaining patient--because if you think about it, two-year olds just don't know how to act that way yet.

The bottom line in bringing up this analogy is that you MUST be realistic about how children are going to act at the wedding--both the ceremony and reception. And they shouldn't be treated as "little adults" -- there's no way they can act like that, whether or not you ask them to.

REMEMBER: IT ALL DEPENDS ON THE TYPE OF MOOD YOU ARE TRYING TO SET, AND THE TYPE OF "DAY" YOU ARE TRYING TO HAVE. Just remember that in any scenario, children are not going to behave as you would like them to -- it's just the way it is.

I'll be back this week with more about children, but I wanted to focus on this analogy first, as you think about why you want to have children in the first place, and what kind of wedding you are looking to have.... These questions matter, and figuring out the answer isn't as easy as you might think. If you think about children in the above-context, however, it may help you think about the larger issues that will arise.

Stay tuned!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

...yeah. Was convinced to keep kids out of the ceremony at sister-in-law's wedding, where one of the ring bearers refused to walk at the last minute, and the other walked, but hid under the bench afterwards.

i did let people bring kids if they wanted (most opted not to so they could enjoy themselves!) as it was a pretty laid-back wedding, and it was fun having them there (the church had a convenient crying room for possible crying-events)-- and just said not to bring them to the rehearsal dinner.

Alison, the Affordable Wedding Planner said...

I really love your blog. Your posts made me laugh out loud.

With regards to children at a wedding, I think that it's okay to have kids at the wedding if they're quiet and they stay out of the way. My husband shot a wedding awhile ago with a child that made noise throughout the entire ceremony. He was playing with some type of firetruck and no one stopped him or carried him out of the church. Unbelievable! Adults need to make responsible decisions when it comes to their children.

Some couples will pay for a babysitter at the wedding reception to keep an eye on the kids. They get their own little area, which is separate from the main part of the dining room. I think that's a good compromise if the couple expects to have a lot of little ones at the wedding.

We had two little girls at our wedding and they were fantastic. There's a great shot of them dancing together.

I don't have the patience to deal with unruly children. I teach at a local college, and even 18 year olds can be handful.

Thanks for the great posts!

Alison

Alison, the Affordable Wedding Planner said...

I really love your blog. Your posts made me laugh out loud.

With regards to children at a wedding, I think that it's okay to have kids at the wedding if they're quiet and they stay out of the way. My husband shot a wedding awhile ago with a child that made noise throughout the entire ceremony. He was playing with some type of firetruck and no one stopped him or carried him out of the church. Unbelievable! Adults need to make responsible decisions when it comes to their children.

Some couples will pay for a babysitter at the wedding reception to keep an eye on the kids. They get their own little area, which is separate from the main part of the dining room. I think that's a good compromise if the couple expects to have a lot of little ones at the wedding.

We had two little girls at our wedding and they were fantastic. There's a great shot of them dancing together.

I don't have the patience to deal with unruly children. I teach at a local college, and even 18 year olds can be handful.

Thanks for the great posts!

Alison

Anne said...

First of all, I want to say that I really enjoy coming to check out what you have to say! I'm planning my September wedding and I like to read your thoughts and take some things into consideration with my own wedding. I loved the posts you wrote about keeping your bridesmaids in mind! Although, I've noticed a negative tone to your posts lately. Are you becoming bitter or annoyed towards weddings and brides-to-be? Just a reflection from one of your faithful readers!

Anonymous said...

i love your blog. here is an idea for kids at the wedding that i included in my book, cheap ways to tie the knot: The best wedding receptions take in consideration the little ones who will be in attendance. Create a special place for them to gather (kids tables or a separate room) full of activities to keep them having fun all night long. Appoint someone to oversee this area as well. Consider serving them cupcakes and sprinkling their tables with activities ranging from toys to coloring books and crayons to occupy them for a couple of hours. i blog at cheapwaysto.com