Friday, April 1, 2011

Married with Children

I confess I'm not usually interested in what Ed Milliband has to say. However when I read this comment about his forthcoming marriage it really made me think: "At the end of the day we're in our 40s and we've got two kids, so it wasn't a case of me suddenly popping the question." Not exactly the most romantic of sentiments, Ed!

I think that come the wedding day he might be a little surprised. It's true that in our notions of the typical fairytale wedding Cinderella and Prince Charming rarely have a toddler and a one year old in tow. However, some of the most meaningful and emotional weddings I've conducted have been for couples who already have children. The wedding is often extra special because the couple have a living, breathing symbol of the love between them at the ceremony itself. They've also faced some challenging times together: sleepless nights, worry and the joys of childbirth can make a couple closer than they've ever been before. By the time couples with children get married they've pretty much seen each other at their least glamorous and are approaching their union with a truly realistic view of who they are marrying. I think this makes for a more romantic wedding where the couple can promise to accept each other for better or for worse with absolute confidence!

Your wedding doesn't just have to be about the present and the future, it can be a celebration of the sucess your relationship has been so far. When I'm marrying couples with children I'm often careful to help them make the ceremony about them as a pair. Although we celebrate and involve the children, it should be the couple's ceremony as well as a family occasion.

I've married one couple who felt strongly that the wedding should be about them as romantic partners not 'mum and dad'. They chose to marry with five friends in attendance but not their children who were with their grandparents for the day. This wouldn't be everyone's choice but I thought it worked well for this couple and was definitely the right decision for them.

One advantage that couples who have lived together for a long time or who have a very established relationship with children find is that their weddings are even more enjoyable than they had hoped for. In general, like Ed Milliband, they tend to have more realistic expectations of a wedding but are frequently surprised by how very special their day will be. I reckon the wedding will inject a bit of spark into the future Mr and Mrs Milliband's relationship . . .


Anonymous said...

My eldest son, who was 6 when we got married is always surprised to find out that people who don't have kids yet are already married. Because we didn't get married (in a humanist wedding in our own back garden) until our children were 6 and 4, they think that people don't normally get married until they are finished having children. I think they may be right.

English Weddings said...

It can be tough for kids to understand how some couples choose to marry first, and others choose to have kids before their wedding. It's good of you to address the issue in this article.