A friend of a friend is getting married - nothing new there for August I hear you say. My friend was telling me about how the husband and wife-to-be had decided not to invite children to the wedding and the outrage it had caused. That's right - OUTRAGE! Apparently, some of their invitees thought it was the height of rudeness to be invited to an event without their children and were refusing to come.
OK, for starters - who do they think they are? Not the couple who decided not to invite children, but the OUTRAGED parents! (Just so we are clear who's side I am on...) On the biggest day of your life, there are enough political stress points - step-families that don't get on, cousins who you see once every 2 years but demand that their 8 year old be your bridesmaid - you know the kind of thing. Why add to that pressure with hoards of screaming children running around making "confetti" out of your flower arrangements if you don't have to or want to?
If you do invite children to your wedding - good for you! We had them at ours and I have many fond memories of them ruthlessly seeking out the (as yet) childless uncles, who happily let themselves be whacked on the head with a balloon whilst giving shoulder rides to the pack of wild animals that had formed over the course of the day.
Parents gratefully relinquish control to these men, who have no experience in calming children down, or doing anything other than whipping them into a frenzy - and indeed, have no desire to. Why should they? At approximately 8.37pm, they are no longer their responsibility. They won't have to put them to bed with sweaty hair plastered to their foreheads. They also won't have to worry about the wet pants that are now in the bottom of their mum's handbags, because they were too excited to remember to go for a wee in time.
Even if some of the more persistent children are still demanding to be dragged along the floor, sitting on top of the uncle's foot as he walks, he is far too drunk by this stage to care. More to the point, he can sleep off his hangover in his comfortable bed and then wander down to the local cafe at about 11ish for a coffee and a fry up. The parents are the ones who have had to sleep in a toddler infested bed until 6.42am, when they've either got to endure the whines of their offspring through a fuggy haze of yesterday's overindulgence, or, more likely the case, knew this was likely to happen and so boringly didn't indulge in the first place.
The point is - GET A BABYSITTER - it's better for everyone! No matter who you have to bribe, how much it is going to cost you, it is the only sane thing to do. Having been to weddings where children were invited and having left our own kids at home, I can safely say it is the way to go.
There are a few moments during the day where you experience a pang of remorse - usually when the sweetest little outfit is being modelled on an adorable 4-year-old, or early on in the disco when a cute child starts dancing with an elderly relative. These moments are few and far between however and can usually be relieved my poking your tongue out cheekily at one of said children and refilling your wine glass. They are then replaced with smug grins between you and your partner when one of the kids falls off their chair and sobs endlessly during the speeches, or a baby throws up all over it's mum's new Monsoon pashmina. You communicate silently with each other, the mere raising of an eyebrow confirming that leaving them at home was the right thing to do.
The point is, you can take a handbag with you because it matches your shoes, not because it is big enough for a muslin square, 3 tractors and several Humzingers. (People without experience of children - these are a disgusting sticky mess of semi dried fruit, shaped into a pencil and wrapped in foil, used to alleviate parental guilt at having fed the children so many sweets the day before.)
So, if you get invited to a wedding that requires you to leave your children behind, be glad of the chance for some "grown-up" time. If you're one of the outraged parents, console yourself with the thought that the newlyweds won't have seen the carnage of an overtired, hyperactive 3-yr-old with a sugared almond stuck in their hair. They may be fooled into thinking that married life will be blissful, with weekend coffee shop trips and Saturday night last minute dinner plans. They may also be fooled into thinking that they can have all of that AND have children too...mwoah, mwoah, mwoahhhhhh!!!!