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Children at Weddings: Acceptable or Non-Acceptable?

WINNER of the GNMParents


Our home is a full on wedding planner battle zone. We are getting married this month in destination Rainforest, below a magnificent waterfall (pictured).

The wedding is a child-focused event (I have four children plus two now out of care, foster children). My eleven year old is best man and in charge of the Laser Tag Buck’s party. He is also responsible for dispersing the numerous varieties of glow sticks, bracelets, and necklaces while the adults sit and sing around a huge bonfire. My eldest daughter is giving her stepfather away and my eldest son is giving me away. The six children will be standing up with my partner and I – my partner is marrying a family, not just me.

Following the wedding picnic lunch and while adults are toasting with champagne, making speeches and being thoroughly boring in their adult kind of way, fully supervised activities for the kids include archery, a wet slip and slide and a flying fox. We have karaoke and a DVD organised for later in the evening following a BBQ tea.

Children are important to me and I cannot imagine not having a family focused wedding with a major concentration on children. However, some interesting child protection concerns have arisen surrounding having children at weddings.

We wanted to have corroboree (Australian Aboriginal story telling dance) but the dance troupe of my choice said that they don’t take their children dancers to weddings because of the risk of exposing the children to excessive alcohol consumption, fights and abuse. Fair point and one that I had not previously considered.

Many of our friends have also stated that they won’t be bringing their children to our wedding in the rainforest. Their reasons were mixed (some alcohol consumption related) but most stated that they cannot conceive of attending a wedding with their own children. It is not that they dislike kids or have anything against other people taking children; they just don’t want to take their own because they’d like to relax and let their hair down.

We’re not changing our plans. We welcome children at our wedding and have designed the function to be safe, family friendly and enjoyable for both adults and children. This is not a new thing for us. When we launched my children’s book (Bitss of Caramel Marmalade on Toast) the entire launch was facilitated by children. I believe in children and I will always support child safety and developmentally appropriate functions.

With developmentally appropriate functions in mind, I am curious about your thoughts on children at weddings: Acceptable or non-acceptable?

Related Wedding article from my eleven year old son's site:


GNMParents said...
Congratulations this post has been nominated for a Hot Stuff Award at GNMParents (www.gnmparents.com)Voting closes Friday. Good Luck

Poll: Choose your Hot Stuff Winner

18 Response to "Children at Weddings: Acceptable or Non-Acceptable?"

Holly Schwendiman said...

I think it's great that you're involving your kids. Family is what it's all about.

Hugs,
Holly
Holly's Corner

Ailsa said...

Definitely have children at weddings if you would like... They will add to the significance of the occasion and will not find the whole idea mysterious. Great idea.

Cheers, Ailsa

PS Who thinks demystifying alcohol consumption is important as well.

Megan Bayliss said...

Thanks Holly and Ailsa. I actually can't imagine a wedding without kids.

And Ailsa, I think that demystifying alcohol and helping kids to understand responsible drinking is very important. I certainly don't want a mob of drunks at the wedding but I'll be up for a few champagnes.

Vickie Farquhar said...

Megan you seem to have taken everything into consideration. Your wedding plan appears to be catering for everyone's needs.
The only time I wouldn't ask children to a wedding is if it was a formal evening event with a long church service. Heck- my first wedding was one of those and even I was bored silly!
As for the subject of alcohol: I imagine that your older guests are going to be responsible adults and the parents of some of the kids, so it's their task to monitor their own consumption. If the children are being supervised, then there's no reason it should be a problem.
You're so right to include your children in the wedding - it's their family after all! The fact that they want to take part in the actual ceremony shows that they are welcoming your partner into their lives.
Love, Peace and may the sunshine on your special day.

Vickie.

Megan Bayliss said...

Hi Vickie,
thanks for your comment re kids at weddings: formal and not so long and boring.
We're crossing our fingers for a sunny day because everything is being held outside.
The glow sticks have all arrived now and Boy is just dieing to break them open. We got glow rings for the kids too so that they can make believe during the ring ceremony.

Vickie Farquhar said...

Your plans sound delightful Megan. It's going to be an occassion that none of you forget. Boy must be feeling really important, having such a major part to play...Being in charge of glow sticks is a major responsibility! The glow rings are a nice touch too. I bet the children remember your wedding for years to come.

One of my younger grandkids was our ringbearer...she's now known as Froddo. She took her job very seriously - even though she only had to carry them for about 10 steps. We got married in our lounge room in Sydney and had a 'reception' for 22 at our local Pizza Cafe. It was just perfect and everyone was comfortable.

ERIK said...

Hi Megan,

Of course it is a good idea to involve your children on the wedding. It seems to be the great event of Australia in 2007 and I hope you can find a dance group for your wedding. It should be very beautiful and I hope with many children.
I hope that someone will make a dvd of your wedding.
I hope you received my email something more than a week ago. I will thank you for the book.

Erik

Megan Bayliss said...

Hey there Erik

yes recieved your email. I am sorry, I have been so busy that I haven't responded. University has started and I am teaching again, along with home schooling my son and still seeing clients. Add the wedding preparation to all of that and I am just exhausted.

I've had to put our website (the largest on-line child protection conversation) on hold again. There is no way I can put the time into it until after the wedding and honeymoon.

I hope you have enjoyed the book. When I was writing it I got up every morning at 4am to fit writing time in.

Glad to hear that you are supportive of kids at weddings. I was a little surprised that so many people aren't. I did wonder if I was missing something that everybody else knew about.

Stephanie said...

I think weddings are family events. It is wonderful that you are providing activities for the kids too! But as a parent of young children, when going to a wedding of a friend (as opposed to a family member) I prefer not to take the kids. Just so we can enjoy ourselves and not chase and entertain toddlers!

Megan Bayliss said...

Hey Stephanie from the 100 acre wood,

Thanks for your comments. I so don't want our guests to have to chase their kids around. I want our friends to relax, to have a good time, to know that the kids are in safe hands. We've organised three fun activities for the kids while afternoon tea and toasting is going down.

Because I am a sexual assault therapist and protective behaviour consultant, child safety is rather important to me. ALL the staff are safe and I would have no worries leaving my kids in their care for a short period of time.

It is really lovely that people have added their thoughts about kids at weddings. Thank you to all of you. I am getting really excited now. Less than 3 weeks.

skeet said...

I've been to so many formal weddings where it was made clear that children were not welcome. One honors those wishes of course, but how sad not to invite children into such a meaningful and joyous life-passage. I love your plans and celebrate your enthusiasm for making it a true family affair. What a wonderful way to start your new life together ... for all of you!

Visiting from the Carnival of Family Life. Your post is an absolutely perfect addition to the roll call!

Congrats and best wishes! May the joy of that perfect celebration be only the first of many blessings for the new family!

TherapyDoc said...

As a Chicago social work doc, I have a lot to say about this. Mainly, I envy the waterfall. Sure the kids should be at the wedding! Mazal tov as we say over here (good luck).

Megan Bayliss said...

Skeet and Therapydoc, thank you for your good wishes. The closer it now gets the more weepy I am getting. I am so in love with this man and I am so proud to marry him that I just know I'm going to be a blubbering bribe. He's usually the emotional one while I am calm and in control.
I'll post a pic after the wedding - one that shows the fun all the kids had.

GNMParents said...

Congratulations this post has been nominated for a Hot Stuff Award at GNMParents (www.gnmparents.com)

Voting closes Friday

Good Luck

Lisa said...

I think it is wonderful that you are including your children in the wedding. It is a family affair afterall.

Here via the carnival of family life.

Megan Bayliss said...

Thanks Lisa. You're right about it being a family affair. Partner's not just marrying me but all my kids too.

Can you believe that this post has been nominated for an award. WOW. I'm so happy. Thank you to everyone who has helped to create the discussion.

Mel said...

Of course children should be invited to the wedding, especially if it's your wedding! And it's wonderful to have your own children part of the ceremony! We have not been to any weddings where it was requested for children not to come. We rec'd one such invitation, a cousin neither I nor my husband knew well, and we did not go, mostly for that reason. We are a family and we do things as a family. Marriage is a God made institution and children are the result of that union. It all goes together!
My two cents...
Melanie

Stu said...

Congrats on the win! Your post was thoughtful and respectful, which I really appreciated. I'm a pro-kid kind-of-person, but your post helped me to understand another point of you.

Stu
GNMParents

 
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