Let's face it: Not everything kids do is cute. While some parents ooh and aah over their children's adorable antics, we prefer to call it like we see it. Ill-behaved children have a tendency to ruin special occasions -- especially weddings. Now, we're not saying kids should be excluded from ceremonies where couples say "I do" (though there's something to be said for adults-only weddings, particularly if some of the guests' children are known troublemakers), but we are saying one or two rambunctious, attention-seeking offspring can wreak havoc on someone's special day. Trust us, we've seen it.
How bad can it really be, you ask? Well, we've seen cakes toppled, dresses stained, vows interrupted and guests stalked and frightened (yes, seriously). We've seen brides plead, beg and scream in frustration, and grooms reach their boiling points.
First up, find out why tears at a wedding can be inappropriate … and even shocking.
Crying and Screaming
Have you ever gone to a highly anticipated movie only to have the entire film ruined by a screaming baby?
Well, imagine that at your wedding. Babies cry; it's not their fault, and when guests arrive at your wedding with tots in tow, you know there's going to be some periodic wailing. But if parents are negligent in their duties, your wedding will be remembered more for the screaming infant than for your deeply felt vows, the candlelit service or your five-tiered wedding cake.
How big of a distraction can a tiny baby be? Well, we once saw (and heard) a babe wailing so loudly that the bride and groom's vows were rendered completely inaudible. It was so bad that the bride even turned and gave the child's parents a pleading look, but received nothing back but blank stares. The parents and their screaming child were not-so-conspicuously absent at later weddings in the same social circle, but that didn't help the couple whose big day was irrevocably ruined by poor parenting skills and one child's shockingly loud pipes.
Texting During the Ceremony
We all know kids love to text. OK, so adults do, too, but we know when to put the phone away. If there were ever a time and place to shut off your mobile device, it's during a wedding ceremony.
Apparently, some kids didn't get the memo. We were at a wedding where a group of several children, each separated by a few rows, began texting each other. Every five seconds or so, the kids' various alerts would echo throughout the chapel, soon followed by shrieking laughter, obnoxious catcalls or shouted verbal responses. Sounds bad, right? Well, they started doing this when the bride began walking down the aisle and didn't stop until after the vows. The groom was so angry, he nearly started a fight with one of the kid's parents after the service, and the couple asked all of the offending parents and their children to skip the reception.
Playing With Food
It's tradition for the bride and groom to smear cake on each other's faces, but at one wedding, we saw a small child take inspiration from the act and smear cake all over his own face, which, we admit, was pretty cute. But then he smashed a piece onto his older brother's suit coat, and soon enough, it was an all out cake war.
Before long, there was cake in guests' hair, clothing and everywhere else. Pieces of balled-up cake floated in the punch bowl, and seats, tables and stretches of floor were lined with crumbs and frosting. It was funny at first, but the bride and groom weren't laughing when they had to spend the remainder of the reception cleaning up the rented space, while the guests took their cake-smeared children home early.
Running Amok on the Dance Floor
Your first dance as man and wife is a big deal. There's nothing like softly swaying across the dance floor with your new partner. But when kids are allowed to run amok, this intimate, romantic moment can quickly turn into a chaotic exercise in babysitting.
We were once at a wedding where, during the bride and groom's first dance, a few small children found their way on to the dance floor. Everyone thought it was adorable until the kids started running wildly back and forth, knocking into one another, the dancing couple and the speakers. After careening into the equipment a few times, one of the heavy, towering speakers tumbled down and crashed loudly to the floor -- barely missing one of the tiny dancers. It was a scary accident that could've hurt a child, and the bride and groom were charged a hefty fine to repair the damaged speaker. We're guessing that's not at all how they were hoping to remember their first dance.
Innocent (But Still Inappropriate) Touching
It's no secret that children like touching things. In some social situations (like weddings), it's better for everyone if kids keep their hands to themselves. Think we're being too schoolmarmish? Well, we once saw a messy wedding disaster that could've been avoided with a simple no-touching policy.
It all started so innocently. While most of the adults were dancing, the chocolate fondue fountain caught one little girl's eye. She climbed on a nearby chair and proceeded to stick her hands into the fondue, then rubbed her chocolaty mitts all over her face and body.
The chocolate child caught someone's eye, but by then it was too late. Covered in sticky fondue, the girl ran toward the bride and gave her newly hitched friend a big hug, ruining her expensive gown. While everyone was staring at the horrified bride, the cute little troublemaker found the wedding cake and started eating it with her fingers. Oh, and somehow during all this, the bride's heirloom tiara disappeared, only to be found later by the cleanup crew in a potted plant, covered with chocolate fondue.
Like your sister's immature husband, kids love fart noises. It doesn't matter if they're 5 or 15, chances are, if they hear a poot, they'll laugh (especially if they're male). While a little potty humor isn't a problem by itself, when you combine a group of rowdy kids with a wedding they probably didn't want to attend in the first place, you get an abundance of fake farts and an inconsolable bride.
It all started with one ill-mannered adolescent. Shortly before the ceremony began, the kid put his palms to his lips and made a cacophonous farting sound that echoed throughout the cathedral. Since the ceremony hadn't started, several adults made the mistake of laughing. A few minutes later, as the wedding party was making its way down the aisle, another boy made a similar, louder noise, and then it was all over. The bride's footfalls were covered by the sounds of passing gas, and by the time the couple was preparing to say their vows, a tearful bride turned to the audience and begged for silence. Her request was granted for a few moments, but before the birdseed was tossed, the farts were back in full force. When the unpleasant sounds followed the newly hitched couple to the reception, they shortened the schedule of events and escaped to the bridal suite hours early. It was perhaps the saddest wedding we've seen, and no one but the clandestine pooters enjoyed themselves.
Not So Subtly Sneaking Alcohol
It's not surprising when underage teens to try to score a little free booze. What is surprising is when they do it in the presence of their parents and a hundred other adults, but that's exactly what happened at one wedding we attended. And we're not talking about a single rebellious kid -- once one teen started stumbling around, a few minutes later, it seemed like all of them were hitting the sauce.
People get hammered at weddings all the time, so what's the big deal if a bunch of high-schoolers do it? Well, besides the fact that not one of them was of legal drinking age, teenagers can't hold their liquor (big surprise). One minute they were giddy; the next, nausea took over. The teens' inebriated escapades quickly devolved into a big mess -- if you've ever seen "Stand By Me," you'll know what we're talking about. Most of the mortified parents took their kids home early, but the party had soured after the spectacle. We'll just say there were a lot of very expensive leftovers and a bored bartender.
Weddings are a good place to cry, but not in terror. One child at a wedding we attended actually donned a "Scream" movie mask and ran around scaring ladies, causing them to spill their cocktails and drop their hors d'oeuvres. He'd pop up from behind chairs, underneath tables and anywhere else he thought he could make a surprise scare. The kid was eventually caught and ousted from the reception before he gave anyone a heart attack, but not before he photobombed some first dance photos. The memory of his reign of terror was enough to cause several us to have a strict child-free wedding policies -- relatives included!
Throwing Temper Tantrums
Hearing the sound of a wailing baby instead of your partner's "I do" is bad enough, but having to endure a full-blown temper tantrum is another thing entirely.
At one wedding, a very cute but defiant little girl ran out into the aisle and threw herself on the ground, kicking and screaming. The bride, who was making her way to the altar, froze and stared at the wailing child. For several minutes, nothing happened. Neither of her parents, both of whom were in attendance, made an effort to calm or quiet the troublesome toddler, and the bride eventually had to ask the girl's parents to take care of the situation. It was extraordinarily uncomfortable, and though the rest of the ceremony was comparatively trouble-free, that screaming girl is what everyone, including the bride and groom, remember most about the wedding.
Fighting With Mom and Dad
Nothing is more uncomfortable than watching bratty children scream at their parents, especially at a wedding. It's demeaning, demoralizing and embarrassing for everyone involved, from the bride and groom to the parents and their unpleasant children (even if the ill-behaved kids don't realize it yet). But, like with everything else on this list, we can't blame the children entirely.
Sure, all kids complain and pick fights with their parents, but this shouldn't go down at a wedding. We're not trying to be preachy here, but it's the parents' job to take care of their kids. If the children are uncontrollable (hey, it happens), they need to be taken to an area where they won't disturb anyone else, especially the bride and groom. At weddings, relatives and friends gather to support two people making a lifelong commitment to each other. No one comes to witness the all-too-audible antics of spoiled children.
Why do we judge our friends' weddings? Read about wedding criticism at HowStuffWorks.
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- KidsHealth. "Temper Tantrums." 2011. (March 20, 2011).http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/tantrums.html#
- Margulis, Jennifer. "Why Do Newborns Cry Without Tears?" DisneyFamily.com. 2005. (March 20, 2011).http://wondertime.go.com/learning/article/why-babies-cry-without-tears.html
- Tucker, Abigail. "The Strange History of the Wedding Cake." Smithsonian. July 13, 2009. (March 20, 2011).http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/food/2009/07/the-strange-history-of-the-wedding-cake/