By the time my partner and I married our relationship was 13 years old. We had two children and a bun in the oven. Given that we already had two kids, the idea of a wedding might have conjured images of cutesy little dresses, sweet little bow ties, and adorable ways Pinterest would tell us to incorporate our kids into the wedding. We opted for not including them, though, and we had more than a few good reasons why we didn't have our kids included in our wedding.
I can see how some people would want to include their kids on their wedding day. "It's their family, too, let's celebrate together!" I imagine those very people would say. I can also see how some folks wouldn't want any kids at their wedding. "This day is about us, not the adorable children," comes to mind and, honestly, rightfully so. I suppose my situation is unique in that it doesn't match the societal story of how things should be done: first love, then marriage, then kids. It's also not a second marriage situation where we're joining our kids from different relationships together in a blended family. Then again, does anyone's story really match a cookie cutter version of reality?
My wedding wasn't a big romantic affair. That's really just not my partner and I's style. In fact, if I'm being honest I must admit that our wedding was kind of about finally getting the tax cuts and insurance benefits after marriage equality passed in our state. It was definitely about having a full night alone for the first time in years. So, yeah, we didn't really plan a big affair that would warrant including our children, and here are just a few reasons why:
Because I Wanted A Date Night
As I mentioned above, we had two kids and one on the way (we thought, but I wasn't able to carry that pregnancy to term). We'd only had real alone time about once in the five years since our daughter was born. We just wanted to be alone together in a hotel room. Can you blame us?
Because It Felt Important To Honor Only Us
After 13 years of monogamous couple-hood, and five years of raising children, it felt important to take a breath, and a moment, to honor just us. I wanted to take the time to acknowledge that my partner and I were more than our kids, more than bills to pay, and more than butts to wipe. In fact, I considered it a powerful reclamation of who we were to each other before parenthood.
Because I Wanted To Be Partners, Not Parents
As a parent, I know it's damn near impossible to focus on just me, or just my partner, when my children are around. After all, they are amazing little balls of adorable neediness. There is nothing wrong with that, to be sure, but for our anniversary/day-of-marriage my partner and I wanted to focus on each other to the exclusion of everything and everyone else.
Because No One Else Was There To Supervise
In Colorado, you can do whatever you want to honor your marriage legally. Literally, whatever you want. You don't need a judge or a registered minister or anything (you do need a witness to your marriage certificate signing, though). So not only were our kids absent, but so was everyone else.
Because I Wanted To Eat At A Special Restaurant
Our "special restaurant" is this fantastic Nepalese and Indian restaurant nestled in the Rocky Mountains. At the time, our kids generally squirmed and protested under duress if we suggested anything other than the four foods they would deem acceptable for their distinguished palates. We wanted to eat a celebratory, post-marriage certificate signing meal that we liked, while pausing to savor the unique flavors. If our children had been there it would've been 20 minutes of complaining there weren't any french fries and trying to convince them that biting the booths and/or tables was not a adequate substitute for eating. No thanks.
Because I Wanted To Be Spontaneous
When we rented a room in a small mountain town for our anniversary, we didn't really know what we wanted to do to commemorate our wedding day. What we did know is that we wanted to feel entirely in that moment and be wonderfully spontaneous.
I don't know if you've ever tried to be spontaneous with kids under 5 years old, but generally, if it doesn't involve slides or ice cream, you're probably looking at a meltdown. We didn't really want meltdowns on our wedding day.
Because I Wanted To Take A Hike
Part of our ceremony involved a hike out on a reservoir. Our kids have taken the hike since that time and enjoyed it, but on the day of we had never done it before and didn't know what to expect. Plus, we had an unexpected cold front complete with sleet and fantastic wind which, if we had brought our children, would likely have ended up in a cancellation of the hike.
Instead, we bundled up and walked out to a beautiful point where we found a peace sign made of rocks. Incredibly, the wind died down just long enough for the sun to shine brightly on our vows. It was, in a word: magical.
Because I Wanted Hotel Sex
We can't be the only ones who love hotel sex, can we? When we take our kids to hotels with us, forget that small delicacy. Plus, don't we deserve a little sans-kids hotel time? Our answer was decidedly yes.
Honestly, my 5 and 3 year olds did not care a whit that they weren't at our wedding. They had much more fun at a sleepover with their auntie and we had a private, loving, co-created ceremony to honor all that had come before and all that would come after. If that doesn't wrap up our relationship in a pretty little bow, I don't know what would.