Kids, weddings & cake

I was in my first wedding when I was 5 years old, serving as a flower girl. I have distinct memories of riding in my Aunt Ellen’s red and white Volkswagen bus as we bounced along to the reception. Even at that tender age, I understood the importance of the day. I appreciated the central theme. I looked around at all the people in their wedding finery, and was able to arrive at a single, important conclusion:

I was definitely going to get cake.

Not much has changed since then. As a member of assorted bridal parties for more than 30 years, the highlight of the evening is always the cake. The first dance and speeches are nice, but happiness to me is a good buttercream frosting.

Although my gown collection isn’t quite “27 Dresses,” I am within that ballpark. Because of this extensive history of bridesmaiding, I have developed very strong opinions about controversial wedding topics. Take kids, for example.

I’m not a fan.

I know, I know. I’ve heard all the arguments.

“It’s a family celebration!”

“Children bring such fun to the evening!”

“Babies are a blessing from God!”

Whatever. It has always been my preference that frosted covered fingers stay far away from me when I’m wearing a shiny dress. Kids take over the dance floor. They steal my ice cream. They eat all the mints out of the wedding favors.

And you know how I am about my sugar, right?

So when my husband’s sister asked that our youngest son Joey serve as ring bearer, I agreed and arranged to have a babysitter for the older boys. But that’s when Mary and her fiancé John (total and complete kid freaks) started their relentless lobbying. They wanted every child from their families in attendance. I resisted as long as possible, but then decided I should probably respect the bride’s wishes.

There’s a first time for everything.

The ceremony was Saturday. Joey only required one or two “death stares” from yours truly after realizing his rented footwear was akin to tap shoes. He started rap-tap-tapping away during the vows.

Medusa herself could not have frozen a child better.

By the time we arrived at the reception, the kids were jazzed. They had a million questions and then promptly scattered to the wind. I was left to second-guess my decision.

“Look at ’em,” my husband admonished. “They’re having a great time!”

So I looked. Daniel was chasing down a waiter carrying a tray of hors d’oeuvres. Jack was playing with a pair of light-up goggles left out for the kids. Joey was trying on every last pair of flip-flops designed for dancing revelers with sore feet. It was madness.

It made me recall a moment 30-some years ago when my newly married Aunt Ellen came up to me at her own reception.

“Are you having fun, Marianne?”

“Yup. But when are they going to cut the cake?”

“You want cake?”


And I’ll be damned if Aunt Ellen didn’t march right over to that giant-tiered confectionary masterpiece of sugary goodness and hack right into it.

Simply because her niece wanted a piece of cake.

It reminded me that weddings are indeed about love and family.

And of course, cake.

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