Is it weird to rope kids into the wedding industrial complex before they hit puberty?
Perhaps – especially considering child marriage continues around the world.
But children aren’t likely to be thinking deeply about concepts like heteronormativity and whether love can really last forever – and if they’re determined to have a fake wedding with a pal, you’ll have to go along with it.
Such is the case of Frankie Miller, nine, and his ‘girlfriend’ Aubrey Butterly, eight, who have stubbornly declared that they will one day get married for real. They met at kindergarten three years ago and have been inseparable ever since.
To display their love, they decided to tie the knot in an unofficial ceremony (don’t worry, this wedding is not actually legally binding, as that would be wrong) at a community college in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The pair wore full on bride and groom attire and dragged in seven of their closest friends and family members to act as bridesmaids and groomsmen for the photos.
Frankie’s mum Nicole, 38, said: ‘After they met, Frankie came home and told us all about Aubrey.
‘He always referred to her as his best friend in the whole world.
‘One day, Frankie started referring to Aubrey as his girlfriend.
‘He was so matter of fact about it, it was incredibly sweet.
‘I don’t know if they’ll end up getting married when they’re older, but for now we just want them to have fun and experience all the amazing adventures life will bring.
‘That’s exactly what this shoot was about – making precious memories.’
On their first Valentine’s Day together, Frankie went out and bought a toy unicorn, one fake rose and one real rose for Aubrey. When asked why, the young romantic explained to his mum that the real rose would die one day, but Aubrey would be able to keep the fake one forever.
Three years after they met, Frankie, who is from a Catholic family, had his first Holy Communion in May.
He was having his photos taken by professional snapper Dana Smith for the celebration when he asked whether she’d be able to take photos of him and Aubrey all dressed up when they were older.
Dana and Nicole fell in love with the idea and, together with Aubrey’s mum Amanda, came up with the idea of a mock wedding.
The kids enjoyed pizzas together before getting into position for the photos.
After posing for pictures they enjoyed their own wedding cake.
There was one tradition that had to be kept though: the wedding cake.
Aubrey’s mum Amanda, 35, a registered nurse and mum-of-two, said: ‘We just wanted the children to have fun and while some of the snaps were staged, most were just taken while they played together.
‘They absolutely loved spending the day playing dress up.’