What wedding planning with my daughter taught me about family

My little girl’s only requirement for my upcoming wedding was that she be able to wear the floor length, twirly dress of her dreams. Having secured said dress and being just a few weeks away from the big day, I have been able to reflect on the process of planning a wedding with a young child and it has been a really fun way to begin building our new family dynamic.

At six years old, my daughter’s idea of weddings is largely Disney influenced. However, it has been rewarding to walk her through the process and let her see that weddings are much more than that. Recently, at my bridal shower, she expressed some disappointment over not having the same last name as me anymore. She has really taken to my fiancé and his family and wants to be the same as them, too.

That was a good catalyst for us to talk about weddings being more than dresses and flowers. We were able to share with her that this is a day for everyone to show how much they love and support us–and that binds a family more than any names ever could.

That being said, we have also indulged the little girl whimsy. We let her decide what her role would be and she did not hesitate in claiming her rightful place as flower girl. I have included her in the picking of flowers and the tasting of the cake. We have spent more than one evening cuddled on the couch, watching Say Yes to the Dress. One of my most precious memories is the moment she first saw me in my wedding dress and declared, “Mama, you are so beautiful!”.

One benefit of having a wedding after having a child is I have the gift of perspective. There has never been temptation to be brought into the ceremony on horse in carriage simply because there are field trips, new shoes and college funds to consider.

Planning with my daughter in tow has been a good way to discuss budgeting–well, we spent a little too much on the food so now we have to reconsider the options we chose for the flowers. It has also opened us up to conversation about traditional roles and societal expectations. Once she found out the marital vows were sealed with a kiss, she declared marriage was absolutely not for her. While it was a very cute moment, I also seized the opportunity to tell her that it is perfectly fine to never get married, too. Of course, I threw in the speech about women being able to lead any life they choose–but that’s another essay.

I think letting her walk through this process with me and being transparent with her has brought us closer and given her a sense of purpose as we transition to a new phase of life. She knows that we value her role not just in our wedding, but in our family.

Originally posted to © CharlotteFive

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