I try not to think about my wedding day. I have a lot of regrets. I’m happy to be married, but I made a series of stupid decisions on my wedding that that I have regretted ever since. Particularly when it comes to one decision.
Choosing not to have children present.
It was not only a selfish decision but a stupid one too. I can’t use the excuse that there weren’t many kids in my family at the time. I was from a family filled with children. It also wasn’t because I didn’t like children. I love them, still do. But I suppose I didn’t really think the decision through.
The reasons I didn’t invite kids to my wedding were:
To save money;
To avoid having one of those big weddings that I loathed;
Because I was worried a big wedding would freak my husband out.
That’s it really. It was as simple as that.
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But if I could do it over again, I would do it all differently. It took me years to come to this realisation. I wanted to have a warm, intimate wedding filled with love.
Instead I had a slightly awkward, cold reception devoid of children running across the dance floor chasing balloons, as I did when I was little. There were no children sneaking second pieces of cake or taking all the after dinner mints, as I used to do. There weren’t any little girls in cute dresses or boys in bow ties.
There were no children there. Just a bunch of much-loved yet well-behaved grown ups who did their best to enjoy themselves despite being forced to leave their kids at home.
Some told me they were happy to have a night away from the kids. Some of them declined the invitation to attend.
When I told my mum and dad that I wanted to have a child-free wedding, I was met with silence and pursed lips. However due to circumstances, they were just happy I was getting married at all. I'd never believed in marriage, writing it off as old-fashioned and anti-feminist. I'd casually mentioned that I may never have children.
I completely blocked out the time many years ago when my parents were invited to a child-free wedding and had promptly said no to attending. I remember my dad telling my mum that we were a family and would attend all important events as a family. I remember as a child feeling quite touched that my dad felt this way. I would have hated to have missed out on a wedding. I loved them too much.
The main reason I regret my decision not to invite children to my wedding is because in my pre-parent mind, children were worth less to me than grown ups. They weren't of as much value and it wasn't as important that they attend.
I didn't realise until I became a mum that children are so precious and important. They're often the life of the party too. I had so many memories of attending weddings and running around having the time of my life.
Why had I deprived nieces, nephews, cousins and friends of the opportunity to enjoy themselves at was was arguably the most important day of my life?
If I could do it all over again I'd invite more people, have more fun, worry less that I was conforming and connect more to the significance of the day. It may have been old-fashioned and traditional but that didn't make it mean any less. It's like the entire day was my apology to my former self who swore she'd never get married. So I did it all badly.
There are friends I didn't invite in a desperate attempt to keep the wedding small, friends I loved and adored who should have been there, with their kids.
So many regrets. So so many.
These days a child-free wedding isn't all that unusual and my husband and I attend them with no regrets. It just wasn't the right decision for me.
I wish I had done it differently.
Do you think child-free weddings are okay, or a bit selfish?