Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dear Messy: Entry #1

I’m trying something new at the request of a reader: A messy advice column! I’ve done a few O.H.M. parody advice columns before, but never “real” ones. Let me know what you think of the idea in general, and feel free to weigh in with your thoughts on the reader’s question, too! (This is a real question I received, but some details have been changed to protect the innocent).

Dear Messy,

My partner and I are in our 40’s and planning a wedding. We have both been married before, and we both have school-aged children from our first marriages. Our kids get along well with each other, and we get along well with each other’s kids. They all want us to get married. However, we do not want to include any of our kids in our actual wedding ceremony. When we told our kids this, they were very upset. I have always thought it was weird when people get remarried and have their kids from previous marriages in the wedding party. I’m not sure kids should participate in a new marriage when the prior, failed marriages were the whole reason the kids exist to begin with. I worry about how other people will view our kids’ participation in the ceremony, and I also don’t want the kids to dictate our wedding plans. What do you think?

Sincerely,

Ceremonial in Soldotna

Dear Ceremonial in Soldotna,

In my opinion, you and your partner should do whatever makes you comfortable in terms of a wedding, be it just the two of you on a bluff somewhere, a courthouse administrative job, or a big to-do involving all of your extended families and children. So I agree that you should not let anyone else, including your kids, dictate your wedding plans.

However, I do not think it is "weird"—nor do I think it will be perceived as weird—to have your kids be part of your wedding ceremony. The fact that your kids “would not exist but for prior failed marriages” has nothing to do with the fact that everyone is moving forward in a new joint life together. Not that anyone else’s opinion matters (it doesn’t), but it strikes me as very normal and almost expected to have your kids—who will be part of a blended family—be part of the ceremony that actually blends that family together.

3 comments:

  1. I 100% agree with this advice. :)

    Disclaimer: I'm a wedding photographer and I've attended (very literally) over 600 weddings over the course of my career. I've seen every possible family combination and situation you might imagine happens at a wedding. So a lot of my thoughts come from that perspective.

    The comment that the only reason the kids exist is that they're the product of a prior failed marriage and therefore they shouldn't be part of the new wedding is just so incredibly sad to me. What kind of message is that sending to the kids? That they're not worthy of being part of the new marriage because they're the product of something that failed? If they shouldn't participate in the new marriage, then do they not get to participate in the new family?

    As far as worrying about how other people will view the kids participation? I would imagine that most people would be more weirded out by the kids NOT participating. I guarantee there would be speculation that either the kids didn't want the marriage or the new spouses didn't want the kids.

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    1. Me father always told me, "Chilin's are to be heard and not seen."

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