updated 25 Jul 2011, 02:02
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Mon, May 23, 2011
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Kids complete a wedding
by Clara Chow

FOR bridezillas (and groomzillas) agonising over whether to allow kids at their must-be-perfect weddings, here's a suggestion: Have one with them, and a separate adults-only do.

That's what my dear friend L and his wife G did when they got hitched last week - giving parents like me the best of both worlds.

Their Vesak Day church ceremony welcomed the kiddies, while an intimate sit-down lunch a few days later was a grown-up affair complete with martini bar.

L's church wedding was the first that my five-year-old son Julian was attending, sending us into a mini sartorial tizzy.

We combed Orchard Road for an appropriate outfit, and the Supportive Spouse - who knows heaps more about men's formal wear than I do - picked out a nice blue shirt for his son, with smart-looking black shoes.

And we found a zip-up tie, green with thin stripes that reminded me of my college tie, at a suburban mall.

A few days before the big day, we excitedly tried on our new outfits: Papa, one of the groomsmen, in a dark suit; and his mini-me in shirt, tie and jeans.

You'd think we were the ones getting married.

Playing stylist, Julian vetoed my choice of a grey flapper dress to attend the ceremony in, and gave the thumbs down to a series of other cute frocks.

In the end, he insisted I wear a black, draped halter-neck dress with gold boots.

And that was how, looking a little like Morticia Addams, I ended up arriving at the lovely, hilltop Catholic church with a dapper-looking son as my date.

We accidentally stumbled through a side entrance, coming upon the groom and his masculine entourage standing in the wings.

And Julian was thrilled to get to high-five his Uncle L just before he took the plunge.

As the wedding got underway, what struck me - even as the priest spoke about how a wedding is a chance to reaffirm the vows that each married couple present took - was how the cute, well-behaved children there really lifted the proceedings.

One was dressed as a fairy. Another, when the unity candle was being lit, whispered loudly to his dad: "Is it a birthday? Let's go and investigate!"

With the trend of some brides (mostly abroad, it must be said) requesting that children be kept away from their weddings, for fear of inappropriate crying, shouting or other such behaviour marring their big day, it seems a pity that children might be shut out from witnessing these communal milestones.

The trend would probably not catch on in Singapore because wedding guests here either are fond of ignoring requests on invitations, or, as parents, many are in the habit of taking their kids and maids everywhere.

For Julian, being able to be there at this rite of passage was invaluable, introducing him to the idea of marriage as larger than just two people or a nuclear family.

The usually grumpy boy sat still throughout the hour-long service, studying the readings and hymns printed in the programme booklet.

When he got bored, he simply buried his face and hands in the folds of my dress.

When it was time for the happy couple to exchange rings, one of the best men stepped forward with the ring box.

"It's Papa!" I prodded Julian and hoisted him up for a better view.

The two of us looked on proudly as his dad played a small but pivotal role in the joining of two lovely people in blissful matrimony.

Last year, the SS had looked on as Julian performed at his nursery graduation concert.

I saw the same look of pride on our son's face as he craned his neck to get a better view of his dad.

A few days later at the adults-only lunch for the wedded couple, I listened as the groom described in a speech his young self as a boxer in a ring, fighting with his shadow.

He thanked his amazing mother for giving him the space to and helping him find his way out of the ring.

And even though my two sons were not with me then, I was reminded acutely of how much I love them.

I wondered if they would one day thank me at their weddings, too.

After all, weddings bind a man to a woman, but also shows how far the bond between parent and child can be slackened or stretched.


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