The Littlest Guests

Continued (page 2 of 2)

"I was hurt that she couldn't respect what I wanted for my wedding," Meghan says. "But the arguments were stressing me out so much that I had to do something. I told her that the kids could stay the whole time, but they had to be supervised every minute. If they misbehaved, they would have to leave." In the end, the kids did fine, but their mother later confessed to a friend that she'd been so busy chasing after them, she hadn't been able to enjoy the reception.

Just as family is a big factor, so often are your heritage and the cultural traditions you observe. And bucking them can be extra challenging. "My husband and I are both Taiwanese-American but decided against having a big, rowdy, Chinese-style wedding," says Lily Kao, who was married in Palo Alto, CA, in April 2006. "In particular, we did not want to have young kids present because they can be disruptive. But my parents thought all weddings, especially Taiwanese ones, should have kids present as symbols of fertility." Lily's parents didn't insist, but she says they probably "foresaw the inevitable outcome: Somebody was bound to bring kids along anyway." Sure enough, several small children did show up at the event. Ironically, the most unruly child was an invited one—the groom's nephew.

And that's the bottom line: If you invite kids, expect the unexpected. Amy Berner, who married last summer in Cambridge, NY, found this made her more relaxed on her wedding day. "Having kids there was an advantage. I knew I couldn't predict what was going to happen, so I didn't worry. Our ceremony was outdoors and included a lot of personal touches and humor," says Amy. "It was a real and serious event, but it was also fun, and I wouldn't have wanted to do it any other way."

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