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What's the big deal about Young Living

On Children Attending Weddings and Funerals

(Photo credit: Ginny Hughes Photography)

We just got back (alright, it was 2 days ago… I was wiped out OKAY?) from the stunningly beautiful wedding of my niece.

We were all thrilled that some of my little girls were invited to be bell ringers during the wedding. They immediately preceded the bride down the aisle, wearing tutus filled with rose petals, ringing their little silver bells, and calling, “She’s coming! She’s coming! The bride is coming!

I was so glad my children were able to hear their “Poppy” conduct the wedding ceremony, in which he reminded all of us that we were witnesses to this covenant the bride and groom were making to each other.

As long as they both shall live.

He even told both of them that this meant when one didn’t like the other. When, not if.

When they had money and when they were broke. Right now, when they were looking their best, and years from now, when time has marched on.

My children talked afterwards about how serious “Poppy” was when he was saying these things for all of us to hear. Yes, it is a serious thing to commit yourself in marriage.

I think it is so important for children to witness and understand the circle of life.

Babies are born. Couples pledge themselves in marriage. People die.

We have taken all of our children to funerals for various loved ones: their Sunday School teachers, long-time friends of ours, and church members.

They have walked past the open caskets and cried.

I can only think that moments like these help them understand that life is fleeting, and one day their own life will be over. This is a good thing to realize. If life is fleeting, then precious moments, like the one pictured above, are to be tucked away in our hearts and treasured.

And that is just what I have done.

How do you feel about children attending weddings and funerals?

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Comments

  1. When my boys (now 28,25 & 22) were small, I remember taking them to the funeral of a gentleman they had visited in the nursing home. They were small enough that I had to lift them for the last viewing. A nephew of the deceased came to me after the funeral service and thanked me for showing my children how to show proper respect for the dead. If they have been taught to behave in church, then weddings and funerals are just an extension of good behavior. It teaches them life lessons.

  2. I think each situation has to be evaluated. Depending on the age and the child. Recently, and very suddenly my MIL passed away. She was just over 50 and it came as great shock. My children’s ages are 9, 3, 3 and 1 month old (at the time of the funeral). We left the 3 youngest home with my mom. For my 9 year old we gave him the choice of coming to the viewing, which he opted out of. He also didn’t come to the grave side service, but was brought to us at the Church for the memorial service. I don’t think the twins would have understood what was going on and I felt like I needed to be there for my husband, not focused on my children. To this point that is the only death that we have had to deal with in our family. As far as weddings, I think it depends on the couple getting married and the type of wedding.

  3. I bring my daughter to weddings when “and family” has been indicated. She has a wonderful time, people like to see her, and she is so cute to watch dance. I hav

  4. We always took our children to both weddings and funerals. If a wedding invitation said “no children” we just didn’t go. Sadly there are too many parents who do not care to raise their children to know how to behave themselves appropriately in different settings. Those of us who do (or did as mine are now grown with children of their own) suffer the exclusion because of people’s experience with the children of those negligent parents.
    As far as funerals, they are a part of life. We’ve never talked about death as spooky or something to fear and sadness when someone is lost from our lives is just a part of life. I also think it helps the children to see the person who has passed away there in the coffin, to see that they are no longer as before and won’t ever be again. Not to compare pets with family members but I even drove my sweet 13 year old Golden Retriever to my young godson’s house the morning she died so that he could say his last goodbye and understand she was gone and would not be with us any more. This is natural life, being honest with children and respecting their right to know and to mourn.

    • My kids (3 and 19 mo) know how to behave in church..as well as a 1 yo can anyways, but if she even looks like she will fuss I take her out so as not to disrupt the ceremony. But we, too, do not attend weddingsif half our family is not invited. My son loves weddings and a good dance!
      As for funerals, I attended a funeral a month ago for a woman who was like a mom to me. My kids didn’t know her so I went alone so I could spend time grieving and with her family. But for people they know, when that happens, we will take them. Part of life an a good teaching opportunity.

  5. Melissa Ferguson says:

    We did not include “and family” on our wedding invitations as it was an evening wedding around many children’s bedtimes and because of my experiences at other weddings. We even provided a nursery at the church with adult staff, free of charge, and had a small sign at the guest book indicating this was available. Still, there were quite a few infants and toddlers who cried through much of the wedding. That is the sound I remember, not the music that was played or the preacher’s words. Our wedding video is inaudible for the most part. We love children, but there are some events where very young children should not be imcluded – esecially if not specifically invited. I have stayed home from two weddings this summer as my one year old was going through a screaming phase (was teething) and I did not want to risk having her scream during the wedding.

  6. I agree to a certain point. My son is all too familiar with death, as we had a highly anticipated child that was stillborn. Of course my son was looking forward to being a big brother, but the experience has made him very mature and has developed his emotional intelligence. If the deceased was close to my son (i.e. grandparent, teacher, church friends, etc), then we all definitely will be there. If it’s a distant relative or someone he really didn’t know (i.e. a great-aunt when he met when he was a toddler, etc), then I won’t bring him. I feel like kids should know about death and not be scared of it, but they don’t need to be overloaded with it either. As for weddings, sure! Any weddings that kids are invited to attend, my whole family will be there front and center.

    tiannamae.blogspot.com

  7. As a newly wed I think that a children add a great deal to weddings– their spirit and vitality adds something to the room, and it is a great lesson for them as well. We invited children to our wedding and it was great to have them. However it worked for our family because it was a smaller wedding and there aren’t a lot of children in the family yet. I have friends from bigger families who say “no children” on the invitation because inviting kids means adding another 40 or 50 additional small children to a guest list. Guest lists are incredibly complicated so please don’t be offended when couples opt for a childless wedding or can’t invite the whole family.

  8. We just attended a funeral for a dear uncle of mine. All three of our children walked up to the open casket with me to say goodbye, but I have a precious memory now of my almost 4 year old.

    She walked right up to the casket, and lovingly looked at my uncle, almost touching him. And she stood on the kneeling pad, and I sat down beside her, and we had a talk about Uncle and that he was with Jesus now. This was just his body but the real him, his spirit and soul, were with Jesus.

    We had a few minutes to talk before someone came to wait behind us and we turned to leave. That’s a learning experience every bit as important as any formal lesson ;)

  9. To be honest my husband and I have only attended 2 funerals since we have had kids and the kids were VERY tiny. So they don’t even remember. I know that they day is coming quickly as my grandparents are aging quickly and my grandpa’s health isn’t what it used to be. (I dread this day.)
    All of our friends are married and well the next generation is getting ready to in the next few years so “HOPEFULLY” they will be able to be old enough to control themselves at the weddings.
    Your niece and girls LOOKED STUNNING..

  10. When my father in law passed away my oldest children were almost 3 and almost 1. We left the baby at home with my mother but took our son (3) with us. He was so close to his grandpa that I felt he needed to know why he wouldn’t be seeing him again. He didn’t really well. At the grave site he called the casket a treasure chest and that we were giving his ‘papa’ to God. He is almost 9 now and still remembers the day and his ‘Papa’. Some thought he would be scared but death isn’t something we can hide from our children. They will experience it one way or the other. I was glad that he could experience it with his mother and father explaining it to him the whole way.

  11. I will usually take my children to a funeral home for the viewing, but I have left them at home for the longer funeral service. They were only 3 and 6 months at the time. I did get a little gruff for taking them to the viewing, but I do want my oldest to understand. I had to answer questions for months afterwards, but it is a part of life. It is hard to talk about heaven and why Jesus died, if she has never seen a glimse of death. That sounds so morbid. I probably wouldn’t attend a wedding where children were not invited unless it was an extremely close relative, but I can’t imagine them doing that. Only recently in our history has the death issue been an issue at all. In the 19th century, death was not taboo at all, but sex was. Now it is the other way around.
    Great post, and I love your blog!!!

  12. It’s strange because I never knew you didn’t take kids to weddings until I read blogs. Maybe it’s because I live in Canada, or because I live in a small town, but children are ALWAYS invited to weddings. I honestly would never want to attend a wedding that was adults only – my daughter is part of our family!

  13. I bring my kids only if they are connected to the wedding party/deceased in some meaningful way. If my child doesn’t know who they are, why am I bringing them? It is much too stressful for me to keep them well-behaved at formal events just to avoid finding a sitter.

  14. My husband’s aunt recently passed away. We traveled the 12 hours + stops to be with the rest of the family. We took our daughter (4 years old) to the “viewing” with the open casket and lots of people coming through. She also attended the funeral and graveside, however she slept through most of that because she had an infection she was fighting. I do think kids should and can be a part of every thing life offers. My daughter is 4, and I hope she learns about life because she lives it!

  15. My grandmother died when my children were young. We took them to the flower service before the funeral, after the flower service was a private time for the family. My young son walked up to the open casket and in a puzzled voice asked”Is this the dead one?” Thank goodness my Mom was quick to ask (because I was in mortified shock) When we told you Grandma went to heaven did you think Iesus took her body? He answered “YES” My Mom then quietly continued that Jesus left her body so we could say good bye. It was not traumatic for him. My gandma would have loved it! Church, funerals, and weddings have always been a part of our kids life(we live in a SMALL town)

  16. It must be the season of weddings. We just attended two recently. Beautiful wedding picture!

    We attend weddings and funerals as a family. In our family, it is another time for the children to learn about life.

    We also know that children bring joy and ours certainly have brought joy to several grieving families at funerals.

  17. I’m going to have to agree with Melissa. I’ve been to many many weddings and it’s always shocking to me how many ill behaved kids or screaming infants are allowed to disrupt the ceremony. On the flip side, I’ve also seen many many will behaved kids who were wonderful (and I always make a point to tell the parents how great their kids are). This may sound a bit harsh, but if a bride/groom doesn’t want children at their wedding, for whatever reason, that’s their decision and it should be honored. It’s *their* day, not yours. That’s just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions ;)

  18. I agree that if the couple desires a child-free wedding, that request should be honored. But the couple should also be aware that some guests may not attend at all if their children are not invited. This happened at least once to my parents: they weren’t comfortable leaving us with strangers in another state for half the day and they couldn’t leave my sister and I (young teens) in the hotel with our youngest sibling who had some special needs. So they decided not to attend at all.

    I think that children should be part of life’s great events, but I understand that many parents do not raise their children to behave properly for ceremonies. Couples must take that into account when planning their weddings, especially if planning a wedding that would be very difficult for children to attend (evening ceremony, loud reception, etc.)

  19. This past year our family lost our son in-utero. Christopher was in his second trimester and suffered an umbilical cord injury. After delivery my husband and I were given the chance to hold and cherish him before my husband walked him in hand to the hospital morgue. After our loss we knew that God wanted us to honor Christopher’s short life by having a funeral mass and burial. That was the best decision we ever made on behalf of our other children; 7,5,4,and 2 at the time. They were able to witness the love of our family poured out on a brother who was now in heaven. Now a year later, our children can say that they have a brother and remind me to respond “How many children to you have?” with “5″ proudly. They initiate praying for his soul during family devotions and my heart smiles at their witness to me of invaluable kindness.

  20. I think it depends on the situation, but generally I am in favour of taking children to both weddings and funerals. I took my daughter to my Granny’s funeral when she was about 18 months old. We have been invited to a few weddings where our kids weren’t invited, but (for the local ones anyway) we have taken them to the church service and then dropped them off with grandparents while we went to the reception. My daughter absolutely loved the last two we went to. We figure the church part is the important bit anyway! Interestingly, if you get married in the Anglican church over here (UK) the services are technically public events and they aren’t legally allowed to block people from coming in! How’s that for a comeback ;)

    But in seriousness, I do think it is a good thing if appropriate for children to be included in these events, so they get to realise the pattern of life. I think the honesty is harder on us than on them – we’re often trying to save ourselves grief or trouble or the embarrassment of having our kids see us cry or whatever it is. Or we have got too focused on having everything at a wedding look ‘just right’ but we forget the relationships that have got us there in the first place.

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