Why I’m having kids at my wedding

Written on October 3rd, 2017

As I’ve gotten more into wedding planning over the past month of being engaged, I’ve noticed that everyone has a different opinion about how the big day should go down. Something that seems particularly controversial in one of the Facebook groups I’m in is whether or not kids should be allowed at ceremonies and receptions.

For me, it was never even a question — I’m so excited to have my little cousins running around. I didn’t even consider the fact that some people might prefer an adults-only event.

I see both sides and believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions — the cool thing is that we all get to have the weddings we want, and my preferences don’t dictate those of another bride — but I felt compelled to detail the biggest reasons I’m having munchkins at my wedding.

First, I don’t care if the day is perfect. No, really; I don’t. I’ve heard many comments about how kids sometimes cry during the ceremony and detract from the moment, but that idea just doesn’t bother me.

Here’s the thing: life isn’t perfect, and a wedding is not a marriage. Sure, I want our big day to be as magical as possible, but if something goes wrong it isn’t the end of the world. I get to marry my best friend, and that’s what matters to me — who cares if a munchkin is crying?

Moreover, kids are definitely in our future. There will undoubtedly be fussing ahead, sometimes at the worst possible moments. Having the energy of kids at our wedding will only make the day more real — and I’m all about authenticity. Our marriage will not be flawless and perfectly serene. Why should I expect our wedding to be?

Second, kids are so fun — and adorable. I’ve been to weddings where the little ones are totally rocking that dance floor and getting the adults to join in on the fun. There’s something about a tiny human in a tutu that just melts your heart, and heck yeah I want that at my wedding!

I know that kids can be a liability, so I understand some people’s hesitation — but I trust my friends and family members who will be bringing their children. The little ones at my wedding will be well-behaved on the whole, and in the inevitable moments that they’re not, they’ll be supervised. And if something does go wrong? Well, refer back to my first point.

Third, it’s my personal belief that a wedding is fundamentally a family affair. I have the fondest memories of going to weddings as a kid; I loved my cousins’ big days, and it felt amazing to be included. Sure, I didn’t fully understand the importance of the party — the concept of a real marriage was a bit beyond me — but I was happy everyone else was happy, and I was so excited to celebrate with them.

My family has a cool generational gap going on where when my mom was in her teenage years my cousins were born, and then when my cousins were in their teenage years my sister and I were born, and when my sister and I were teenagers my cousins’ children were born.

This means that every generation gets the amazing experience of growing up with little people — and every round of children gets to have aunts/uncles/cousins who aren’t insanely older than them.

I grew up with family members who carted me around like horses and had the energy to run, and now that I’m a young adult myself I have little cousins of my own whose sweetness constantly melts my heart. I couldn’t imagine not including them in my big day: they are my family. They are my heart.

Finally, it would just feel wrong — even unfair — not to allow kids. One of my little cousins will be a flower girl and walk my ring-bearing dog down the aisle. Two others will help pass out programs before the ceremony. But it’s impossible to include every single munchkin in both my and my fiancé’s families in the actual wedding party, even though we want all of them there.

I’ve heard of some brides who only allow the kids in the ceremony at their weddings. That’s completely their right! Personally, though, I would feel wrong allowing some “special” kids and then saying others couldn’t come.

Who am I to decide what family members are important enough to be included? Who am I to tell my neighbors and friends that my little cousins are better-behaved or more deserving?

Everyone’s situation is unique, but in my case I could never make those decisions. Someone’s feelings would get hurt. One cousin would wonder why she didn’t get to go but my other cousin did. It would be a big mess — and an unnecessary one.

I’m fully prepared for the inherent risks that involving kids in my wedding open me to. I’m ready for things to go wrong, for children to cry, for sticky fingers to grab at my dress. Sure, maybe including little ones in our big day will make us more prone to imperfection… but nothing would bother me more than not including the kids who have my heart.

There will be children, and there will be messes. Most importantly, there will be love.