Friday, May 18, 2007

Attack of the Brats

I have been reading a few parenting magazines since the Love Bug was born. I recently read articles in 3 different places about "brats". Most articles discuss not only how many more "brats" can be found in society today, but also how to prevent this from happening.

I now find it very ironic that of all the summer wedding invitations we've gotten so far, over half have been adult only weddings... is this just a coincidence? Or is this perceived increase in badly behaved children causing many people to think twice about inviting them? This brings up a lot of issues...

I asked my Mom about this, because "adults only" isn't even something that registered on my radar when I got married, and this was only five years ago. Even if I knew about the concept, we couldn't have done it anyway. I was a teacher and love kids, and wanted them there. The two kids that I babysat for years were the flower girl and junior usher. A lot of my parents' friends are younger than they are and had young children when I was getting married. At the same time, even though B and I got married in our early 20s, we had some friends who were older and also had young kids. And besides, some of my favorite memories are watching the bridesmaids dance with all the kids at my wedding.

My Mom said she occasionally saw these types of weddings 5 or 10 years ago, but before that, 20 - 30 years ago, it was never done. Weddings were a family occasion and children, with all their quirks, were included. But over the last few years, "adult only" weddings have definitely become more common and it probably can be mostly attributed to, not "brats", but a lot more late evening, black tie weddings, in my opinion. Our wedding was this type, but we have fun friends (with fun children) and the 20 kids that were there were all up for dancing and having a good time, even if it was late. When people in our parents' generation got married, they had the reception in the basement of the church. My parents were particularly swanky and had it in the ballroom of a local hotel, but still only had cake and dancing. Now, with dinner being served, late nights, black tie, I can see how people might feel that they don't want children. I can also see how they might be concerned about their budget also and paying $30 a plate for a kid that barely eats could be frustrating. But shame on the caterers... we were so lucky to have our reception at my parents' country club. They provided very cheap "children's meals" for the kids under 12, but anyone near the cut-off, my Mom called to see what type of meal they preferred. If a kid likes fancier adult food at age 10, far be it from us to deter them from eating it! Good for them.

No matter why these are becoming more popular, they definitely strike certain feelings in anyone you ask. Some people really like the idea of it and wish it was used more often, but then others are so offended. They immediately ask if child care is being provided. Surprisingly, in most of the weddings my Mom and I've seen lately, child care for adult only weddings is not provided. I understand that the bride and groom don't want to pay for it, but it should at least be offered at a small cost to the parents. Especially for someone like me; I'm a breastfeeding mother and if I'm in an unfamiliar location, I don't exactly have a place to store breast milk for a babysitter (if I even can find a babysitter I trust in an unfamiliar locale). Since we are here for only four more months before our move to Italy, I don't plan to fly back for any of these weddings anyway, so it doesn't matter.

Let me just make one thing clear though. I support everyone's right to have it be THEIR DAY. It is their day and if that doesn't include kids, that's totally fine! I had certain things that I was really concerned about for my wedding and I'm glad people respected my wishes and my day enough to make sure it happened my way. So, I would always want to do the same for others. I just wish that they could have child-care either on-site or close by at the hotel, for those of us with breastfeeding babies, special needs children, or even kids who have a particularly hard time being away from Mom & Dad. If you don't offer it, you can be offended when people can't attend and share your special day.

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