Marriage Monday

First of all, thanks so much for such supportive and encouraging responses to my previous post. I will absolutely respond to each and every one, as I try to with every post, but for now, in keeping with my new blogging approach, I am putting the very first Marriage Monday post up! I was so ridiculously excited to find in my in-box an actual submission last week! Full disclosure, it comes from a “real life” friend and she’s asked I don’t link to her blog since there is some family sensitivity around the issue.  Anyway, I think her entry is the perfect beginning to Marriage Mondays. Here it is:

My husband’s best friend is getting married soon, and my husband is in the wedding. it’s a low-key wedding at a farm, where the ceremony and reception are in one location. sounds awesome!

but the couple are firm that no children are invited to the wedding. this includes no breastfed newborns! this means i can’t go. i’ve thought a lot about it, and even if i could pump enough milk for felix beforehand, there’s nowhere for me to pump at this wedding (can’t spend 20 minutes in a port-o-john. just no!).

i get no kids at a wedding, but no breastfed infants of a groomsman? i can’t help but feel this couple will come to regret excluding me from their wedding when they go on to have children. the bride said she’s “sorry that our no children request is inconvenient.” it’s not inconvenient so much as it precludes me from attending 😦

but i’m also trying to see my reaction from the outside–am i that friend who thinks the wedding revolves around me instead of the couple?? am i being “that” guest who makes the bride insane with special requests?

i can’t help but feel the wedding itself sets a precedent for the marriage to follow. what does this whole situation mean? bah!

The reason I find this post perfect for our first Marriage Monday segment is because it deals with issues surrounding a wedding – the very beginning of many marriages!  I share Katy’s sentiments – if you are having a formal ceremony, the wedding should set a precedent for the marriage to follow.  What that means will certainly differ from person to person, but ultimately a wedding should be a celebration while sort of setting your intent for your future together.  As I thought this over the course of a couple of days, I found myself growing more and more angry on Katy’s behalf.  In general I get the no-kids thing, especially in an environment as difficult to control as a farm. But her son is a newborn who simply cannot be separated from his mama for that length of time – he is not going to run roughshod through the place or tip the cake over or anything like that. The worst thing he can possibly do is cry, which can be solved by nursing or taking him away from the public.  Katy’s husband isn’t a distant relative or mere acquaintance – he is a best friend and groomsman. In not allowing his wife to take their newborn to the wedding, I feel this bride is essentially ignoring the importance of his family at a time when she should be embracing all the concept has to offer.  Over and over and over again I see people create these elaborate fantasy weddings that no marriage has any hope, ever, of living up to!

So I side with my friend Katy. But more to the point, I think, is ultimately how she lets this affect her own marriage.  It would be easy, I think, to want her husband to take sides – to advocate for her and to feel resentful as he goes off to wedding while she stays home with her young sons.  I think I, at least, would struggle with feelings of resentment both properly placed (the bride and groom) and improperly placed (S.) – so it’s important to recognize that the bride’s decision, despite its consequences, has nothing really to do with Katy and SO MUCH to do with the bride. And, there will be some justice, I think, when Katy’s husband is at the wedding and everyone asks him where Katy is, and he has to explain that his itty bitty baby boy couldn’t attend.  I see the ultimate goal, here, is Katy’s ability not so much to rise above the issue but to allow her husband to enjoy the event despite her “marginalization,” so to speak.  This would be a very hard thing for me to do.

What do you think?

 

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8 Responses to Marriage Monday

  1. It’s unfair, but the only way forward is to respect their wishes and be as gracious about it as possible. This is without doubt an elaborate fantasy wedding problem, but if Katy can be non-judgmental and accepting, best for all – she may have to hang out with these people a lot in future. They will come to regret and there may even be an apology one day when they have their own kids.

    Having said that, the nicest wedding I ever went to was one where the bride and groom said “We love children and the sound of their voices and laughter, so all children are invited and warmly welcomed to our wedding.” They went on to have two beautiful children and you can imagine how happy their marriage is!

  2. shoreacres says:

    Sorry, but I’m all on the bride’s side here. She has the right to decide how her marriage will be celebrated and what form her wedding will take. Granted, there may be consequences down the road she hasn’t foreseen, but that’s life.

    On the other hand, the decision to breast-feed also is just that – a decision. No doubt your friend didn’t foresee being excluded from a wedding as a possible consequence of her decision, but there it is.

    As for the bride ignoring the groomsman’s family on a day when she should be embracing all the concept has to offer – a wedding isn’t a day for embracing concepts. It’s a day when two people embrace one another, in the context of family and friends. If their understanding of how inclusive that “context” should be is radically different than mine, so be it. Their wedding, their rules!

  3. I thought a lot about this while Kyle and I were planning our wedding — how to accommodate our families and make everyone comfortable while still having the ceremony and reception we envisioned. It’s a tricky balance, but (in my opinion) the bride really missed the mark here.

    As you already pointed out, a farm is a tough venue to include kids, but a breastfeeding infant is not a “kid” who needs supervision! I heard about a situation like this recently — a bridesmaid actually stepped down from participating in her friend’s wedding because the friend was insistent that her bridesmaid’s one month old baby could not be around at any point in the day. She was breastfeeding, so clearly that was a no-go. I’m sorry, I think that is sad and reflects so badly on the bride.

    A guest who demands all sorts of special accommodations is one thing. A new mother breastfeeding her infant is another. There are exceptions to every rule, and this is one of them. I’m sure Katy’s husband will feel resentful, and I would too. I hope he takes some small joy in explaining why she isn’t there. He should show off lots of baby pictures too — really steal the spotlight 😉

  4. litlove says:

    Hmm, clearly a problem caused by a clash between highly-desired decisions. I mean, these are big emotional decisions – how to organise a wedding, who to exclude, and how to react to that exclusion. At my wedding, oh so long ago, we said no children because my husband’s family is huge, and the wedding group would have been half as big again if we’d included them (Something we just couldn’t afford). But my sister-in-law had just given birth and the 22 day old baby came in her carry cot. My sister-in-law brought her into the room where I was changing and said, Suzanne’s got a present for you. It was a miniature of gin. That made me laugh so much and I always remember it. But I do have sympathy for the bride in this instance – making up the guest list is hard work, and I expect she worried herself sick over having to draw up the lines, and it IS her party, after all. I would just hate to include guests to a wedding that I was going to worry about all day because there weren’t the right sort of facilities for them at the venue, etc.

  5. smithereens says:

    First of all, nice post! I’m definitely hooked to your new Marriage Monday feature. I do side with your friend Katy here, and I do agree that it tells a lot about the bride. I’ve had a low-key wedding and I never thought about making rules, excluding kids or babies, I just thought people would be reasonable (but that’s a lot of expectation, isn’t it). I remember being a bit irked when a guest replied that she’d bring her 2 daughters, then cancel at the last minute, but one way or the other there are more important things to care about on the wedding day. On the whole I don’t know how close Katie herself is to the groom (it seems that she isn’t close to the bride), but it doesn’t bode well for the 2 couples to be close friends in the future, and it’s a bit sad.

  6. Emily Barton says:

    We didn’t make any rules about kids or no kids at our wedding (especially since we had three in the wedding party!). Nonetheless, I can see that once a bride and groom have made such a decision, it’s best not to make any exceptions, no matter how hard that might be, or how good the reasons might be to make them. Otherwise, they may have to waste time explaining to those who wanted to bring their own babies and couldn’t, who see a baby at the wedding, why that child was allowed and theirs wasn’t. I think brides and grooms have to choose when it comes to how many feathers they dare ruffle (and, poor things, they will always ruffle at least a few, no matter how hard they try). Maybe your friend can see it as a good thing. I mean, the idea of having to worry about a breastfeeding infant at a wedding where there are no other children and where there are bound to be people who aren’t sympathetic sounds awfully stressful to me! Mothers and infants don’t need that sort of unnecessary stress. Maybe she and her baby can do something else that day that would be fun (and unstressful) for both.

  7. Fun first marriage Monday! For me the key words here were groomsman and nursing infant…I would definitely feel differently if Katy’s husband weren’t a part of the wedding party. Members of wedding parties often shell out significant money and time to honor the couple and I feel this is one exception that could be made. I also distinguish between a nursing infant and a 6 or 8 month old baby. Regardless, I hope the responses helped Katy in some way!

  8. Vanessa says:

    Hello,

    I found your blog via Stefanie’s and have enjoyed these posts.

    This indeed is a tricky scenario. My hubby and I viewed our wedding day as the first opportunity to entertain (with help) and we spent the day making sure our guests were as comfortable as possible. It was more about them than us because we were grateful that each person took the time to be with us and as money is not abundant for any of them, to bring a gift.

    I can respect the bride and groom’s wish that no children be present but if it prevents a guest from attending–that is so sad. It will be interesting for your friend Katy to see how this couple handles situations in the future regarding the presence of children.

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