I have heard of weddings that disallow children, but that is not my style. I grew up in expat communities where kids usually attended grown-up parties, and then raised my own daughter in Italy, where kids are expected to socialize with adults in a civilized manner. Many of our guests had children, and our own family includes Mitchell, Brendan’s ten-year-old son. So I made sure that our guests knew their children would be welcome and even, as far as we could manage, looked after.
The house we are renting is on a corner lot, which includes a fenced area where a previous owner used to store an RV. The current owner put the greenhouse in front of that, so now it’s a 15’x15’ fenced space which Mitchell had dubbed “the zombie yard.” It’s overhung on one side by a vining Lady May rose, and tends to collect the dead leaves and prickly seed balls from the trees that grow along our side street.
Friends helped to clean it up. The landlord had left a pile of gravel from some previous project, which Sharon painstakingly smoothed down to a flat surface. Laura carefully removed all the seed pods and some errant rose branches coming up from the other side of the fence, as well as covering over dangers like rusty screws in the gate. We put down a cheap, colorful rug, and put up the Tibetan prayer flags that my classmate Teeran had once given me for my birthday.
The plan was to have the older kids “on their own” in this space. They were mostly boys, so it was easy to conclude that they’d be happy playing video games. I engaged the older son of my colleague Arun, along with a buddy of his, to supervise.
The area in front of the greenhouse, where guests would be entering via a side gate, was turned into a space for anyone to lounge and younger kids to play, brightened up with Indian textiles (some borrowed). Amy and David had build a trellis enclosure (which matched the existing fence) to hide and fence off the ugly air conditioning unit.
It all seems to have worked well. Two of our youngest guests (twin girls) loved playing on the mattress, while the older kids hung out playing video games. One of the boys told his parents that this was “the coolest party ever!”