My husband and I made a decision to politely request that alternative arrangements be made for young children on our wedding day. It wasn’t a light decision, we put a great deal of thought into it and thought it was the right thing do, but not because we don’t like kids.
Let me start by saying that we have beautiful nephews and nieces with whom we share a deep connection and mutual love. It broke my heart to think that my baby girls wouldn’t get to see me in my princess dress, to have them in photos or see them in perfectly selected party frocks, but that would have been selfish.
It would have been selfish to have my sister (and maid of honour) have to be a mum all day. It would have been selfish if my brother had left the venue during the vows to attend to a crying baby – just so that I could have my photos.
Our thought process was all about our dear friends and family who work so hard in many ways but above all, as parents. Our thoughts were to encourage our friends and family to clock-off, for one night, from a job that has no punch card, no public holidays and no lunch breaks. Our intentions were to give you a night to let your hair down, dress up, take selfies, drink too much, and let us pick up the tab!
I watch you in awe sometimes, I watch you try so hard to engage in grown up conversation with me while one eye is always on your most precious and prized possession. I know how much you want to pay me attention, but your most superior priority is the safety and wellbeing of your child, I know you’re sorry but you have to excuse yourself for one moment while you run off to grab that fork out of her hands. You have to excuse yourself to call out and make sure everything is okay, you have to watch and listen for moments of calm, for calm and quiet is never a good thing when it comes to your toddlers.
I have the deepest respect for the parents who still manage to hold onto a conversation or a glass of wine even though their ‘real job’ is 24/7 and climbing the book shelf in the next room. I watch you in amazement when you come home from your day job and start your night shift, I don’t know how you do it!
So, tonight, for one night only, you arrange the babysitter and I’ll arrange the entertainment! Relax, your children are in safe hands and your third shiraz is in yours. You’re on the dance floor at 12:30, you have nowhere else to be tonight, you look AMAZING and you’re slow dancing with your husband, when was the last time you did that? There are no children whose meals need to be cut into tiny pieces, no 8-year-old boys running off with candles, there are no tantrums embarrassing you through the speeches.
Tonight, there is just us and when you remember the night, you’ll remember being able to focus on us. You’ll remember how romantic the setting was, you’ll remember celebrating our love, because I know you love us both so much. And maybe, just maybe you’ll remember that you forgot the last part of the night because you got drunker than you have been able to do in a long time.
Please don’t assume the worst of me, please don’t assume that your children are not welcome or not loved, think that maybe, just maybe this was never about me but all about you.
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Would you ask your wedding guests to leave their young children at home?