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Weddings are about love and family, and that includes children

Everyone who's ever been married has spent weeks staring miserably at a list of people they're related to, went to school with, or have some meaningless (to them) but crucial (to their parents) importance that means they simply cannot be left out.

Culling the list is difficult. In wedding planning, some animals are definitely more equal than others, and the smaller they are, the more ruthless you can be. Children are less likely to bear a grudge about not being invited - and it seems, their parents aren't too bothered either.

A survey conducted by MummyPages.ie found that 61pc of married Irish women invited children to their weddings. But when they did, over half of parents didn't want to bring the kids anyway. It's easy to see why - nobody wants to be dragged outside by a sulking six year-old just as the Best Man gets to the juicy bit in the speech - but something is lost from a child-free wedding.

It's only now, a year later to the day, that I look back at the photos of our wedding and see how much fun the kids added to the day.


We had young cousins, nieces, nephews and neighbours, and as well as being remarkably cute in the photos, they gave us a great excuse to bring along a vintage Japanese fire truck owned by a relative, they had immense fun with the band, and they even kept the DJ entertained when he played to an empty room because everybody else was outside.

Once there is somewhere else for them to be, with supervision and away from loud music, drink and bad dancing, what's the problem?

Although everybody's idea of what marriage is about is different, weddings are about bringing together two people - and their families - and how can you celebrate love and family without including the next generation?

I've been at a few where the bride and groom had children, and they were central to the day. Something that used to be frowned on, having the couple's children involved in the ceremony, is now one of the loveliest elements of many celebrations.

Although it may mean lying to the priest about the child's identity until the wedding day, there is nothing more emotional than seeing a couple's children help them celebrate their commitment to one another. The kids are alright.

- deirdre o'shaughnessy