Number of weddings I’ve been invited to this summer: five. Number of weddings my children have been invited to: zero.
Let me tell you a little story.
There was once a woman who hated children. She hated children so much, in fact, that she vowed not a single child should wipe his snotty nose or step one dirt-crusted foot into the venue on the day of her wedding nuptials. While a lot of couples don’t invite children to weddings, for obvious reasons, or leave them out of the reception invites to save on costs, this woman took things one step further.
She banned children from her wedding and even got into a pretty dramatic fight with one of her bridesmaids, who had just had a baby and was still breastfeeding. She didn’t even want her bridesmaid to have her baby anywhere near her special day at all. This particular bridezilla demanded that her poor friend find a stranger to watch her baby at her out-of-town wedding, even though her husband was perfectly willing and able to care for the baby during the day and the festivities so the baby could be around when she needed to feed him.
“I just don’t get it,” the bride complained to me one day at work. “Why is she acting like I’m doing something wrong? Leave the brat at home and have a day off! I just don’t want the thing crying and ruining everything.”
Cruel, right? But maybe a teensy bit excused because sometimes people without kids really don’t have a clue? Also, to be fair, I’m paraphrasing and she may or may not have used the word “brat.”
As the wedding inched closer, the bride didn’t let up in her desire to have precisely zero children at the wedding. She reiterated, over and over, how kids were a pain and they would mess something up on her big day and, for the most part, I didn’t argue with her, because what’s the point? I knew there was no way I would be attending the reception since I couldn’t afford a sitter, so I happily marked my regrets and went along my merry way.
When the day of the wedding arrived, me being a mere spectator and, of course, having a baby of my own, arriving late to the party, I snuck in the back of the church. Lo and behold, who did I see in the back, but the bridesmaid’s baby, all dressed up in a dapper little suit and hanging out happily in his dad’s arms. I gasped inwardly, a bit horrified at what my friend’s reaction might be, while also applauding the bridesmaid’s decision to stand up to the absurdness of the bride’s demands. And really, what other choice did the poor girl have? I wouldn’t have left my baby with a stranger either and dragged around a breast pump all day, wasting my liquid gold in the process.
The wedding went on, with me sneaking furtive glances at the baby the whole time during the ceremony. Would he cry? I worried. Scream for his mother? Throw a fit right when they exchanged vows? I was on the edge of my seat the whole time, sweating bullets for the baby’s dad, who must have been worried too. Although he didn’t look it and maybe I just looked insane.
As the bride and groom turned to each other and began repeating their vows, I breathed a little sigh of relief when the baby continued sleeping right through it. Phew, I thought. This is going to be OK.
And then, it happened.
At the exact moment — and I do mean the exact moment — that the bride opened her mouth to swear her undying love to her groom on her picture-perfect, kid-free, special day, someone’s cell phone rang. And it rang loud.
And rang. And rang. And rang. I don’t know if it was an old person who genuinely didn’t hear it or someone was too embarrassed to admit they left their phone on, but no one stopped it and the shrill audio bounced off of the walls and seemed to fill up that whole church. O.M.G.
The bride and groom laughed it off and those of us in the pews let out some nervous titters, but all I could marvel at was the intense, crazy irony of that situation. For a person who had worked so hard to pull off a wedding free from any child interruption and alienated friends and family in the process, that karma had to suck, man.
Moral of the story?
Don’t stress about kids being at your wedding. If you can’t afford them, fine, but be cool when parents can’t come because they can’t afford a sitter or have to duck out at 9 p.m. for bedtime.
Make sure people shut their phones off at your ceremony. Just a suggestion.