In defense of child-friendly weddings

A very dear friend of mine got married last Christmas. As the youngest of four girls she has a lot of nieces and nephews, I forget how many, so it was inevitable that the festivities would have kids in, on and around them. What I hadn’t imagined was that a wedding could be such a celebration of family in all of its forms. Of course there were flower girls, hair in plaits and ruffled skirts, paige boys, bow ties and a pea sized amount of hair gel, but it went far beyond that.

For example… As part of the reception the happy couple had the inspired idea of open mic speeches: anyone could do one, nothing rambling just a snippet of good wishes or memories. This was opened by the eldest two nephews who did a witty and heartfelt segment called “advice to our new uncle”. The crowd was a fan. After a few nice but samey adult bits the mic went to another nephew who sang the A-B-C song. Twice. With audience participation. I have been to many weddings but that was truly a first. Totally natural, totally endearing and the happy couple were suitably beyond themselves with happiness.

We went to another wedding a few years back with a slightly smaller smattering of infants but who were equally enthusiastic in their ethos. This was clear when during the ceremony – a registry office affair where guests were seated in the chamber – one of the kids worked out the seats all had live microphones (there is a theme here…) and proceeded to try to interject the vows with his own commentary. By the end he’d even worked out how to feign an interjection and actually turn the microphone on when his dad was telling him off: “Milo, you are being very naughty… For richer for poorer…  I shall tell Grandma”. It was this same wedding where one of the kids had clearly made a deal on clothing and, having spent the day in a suit, donned a Spiderman costume for the reception. Hats off to Mum and Dad on that one. The best bit was the first dance where, as the newly weds circled the dancefloor, out of the dry ice emerged Spiderman in hot pursuit of a balloon which try as he might he just couldn’t catch… Because the bride and groom were in the way. Every photo has a 3ft Spiderman in the background…

So yes. I applaud the child-friendly wedding. I spent the majority of my own evening reception sat on the floor talking to my nephew and a distant relative about ketchup. He even cut the cake with me. And it’s not because not having to arrange childcare is a blessing, although that is a bonus, it’s because kids are fun and weddings should be fun: so I implore those planning a wedding to take the unpredictability on the chin, it’ll truly be worth it and it really is as easy as ABC.

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