Dual Income, No Kids, One Unforgettable Wedding

Chris Davis
Human Parts
Published in
12 min readApr 19, 2024


It’s pretty well-known that every so often, the folks behind the Oxford Dictionary decide to get hip with the times, adding common slang words right next to the more traditional entries. Words like “rizz,” “nerf,” and “bootylicious” have officially made the cut, which I’ve always found hilarious. But in 2023, they added a word that nailed my wife’s and my lifestyle: DINK.

For those not steeped in contemporary vernacular — yes, millennials and baby boomers, I got you covered — DINK stands for Dual Income, No Kids. Allow me a moment to outline a few highlights of our DINK lifestyle:

I catch a full 8 hours of sleep each night.
No need to baby-proof the house.
Sneaker shopping? Anytime I want.

And the list could go on. I hope those of you with kids are still with me because there’s much to appreciate from both sides of the fence. However, in the spirit of inclusivity and brevity, I’ll cap my list here — for now.

My wife and I fully embrace being adults. It’s not that we’re against having kids; we just view it as a personal choice, and currently, we’ve decided to remain childless. However, it seems this choice isn’t always met with understanding or respect. There are exceptions, though, like when we’re boarding a plane, grabbing a seat at the movies, or dining out. In those moments, people seem to love our child-free status. No cap, sometimes when passengers see me stepping onto a plane without any kids in tow, it’s almost like they’re rolling out the red carpet. “Hey, young man. Sit next to me, and I’ll buy you a drink,” they’ll say, practically tripping over themselves to offer up the seat beside them.

As we were locking down our wedding plans, we hit the big debate: are kids gonna be allowed? Part of us felt, “Excluding kids might inconvenience my family.” Fun fact about me: I have 15 cousins on my dad’s side alone, nearly all of whom have kids. My Dad used to say when I hit puberty, “Always wear protection because Davis’ don’t miss.” We affectionately refer to it as the Nick Cannon effect now.

Yet, another part of me struggled with the financial implications, I mean paying for all those kids’ plates will cost a lot of money. Despite her family’s generous offer to cover the ceremony and reception, the thought of imposing the additional cost of accommodating kids on my father-in-law felt uncomfortable. And splurging on extra tables at our expense wasn’t really an option; we were balling on a budget, particularly with the costs for the photographer, videographer, and, especially, the flowers. For those who’ve been through it, you already know, but for the singles out there, brace yourselves: flowers can be, and often are, one of the most significant expenses of the whole thing. A single altar arrangement costing sixty bucks had me considering a career in floristry.

The tipping point—and you'll enjoy this play on words shortly—occurred in a scenario ripped right from the heart of our ongoing debate. At my cousin’s baby shower, (cousin on my dad’s side, shocker) my wife and I watched in horror as our little nieces and nephews teamed up to topple a TV because, in their words, they were “bored.” Even though they throw TVs on the ground, I love them. I’m just eternally grateful they go home to someone else’s house. Riding home, my wife made the executive decision: “Yeah, we’re not having kids at our wedding.” Faced with the undeniable evidence of their potential for havoc, I found myself in full agreement. I guess the TV incident was her tipping point. Get it? Because the TV…tipped? I know, I know, I’ll see myself out.

On a separate but kind of related note, another detail that affected me more than my wife is that her only nonnegotiable was that we do it in her home state of Arizona. I tried to argue for Chicago since we’ve built our life here, but she elegantly reminded me that all of her family lives there and if I was passionate about having it in Chicago maybe I should help pay even more for the wedding. And just like that, I became Team Arizona.

So, there I was, kinda stuck. My family would need to fly out, but the real headache? Figuring out who’d keep an eye on the little ones during the trip. It felt like choosing between being broke or breaking family tradition — not exactly the choice of the year. My wife, being Mexican, to this day, doesn’t get the whole “why don’t they just hire a babysitter?” thing. Maybe it’s a Black people thing, but in my family, leaving kids with a sitter is about as common as a snowstorm in July. It’s grandparents first, then aunts, uncles, and cousins. No available family member? That’s a hard stop on attending. We don’t just trust our kids with anyone; our family bonds are tighter than jeans after Thanksgiving dinner. With the grandmothers all heading to Arizona, a good chunk of my family faced a tough decision. It seemed we were more intertwined than earbuds left in a pocket, with everyone potentially missing out due to our close-knit (and logistically complicated) ways.

To level the playing field as much as we could, we went for a date when Chicago’s usually freezing, but Phoenix is basking in warmth. We branded the wedding as the Snowbird Kickoff. Adorable, right?
We gave everyone a heads-up super early, sending out save-the-dates a year and a half in advance to sort out their plans. And, just for a little extra insurance, we scheduled the rehearsal dinner on a school night.

As soon as the save the dates went out, we were swamped with calls begging for an exception to the no-kids rule. Now, some of the stories from her side were honestly pretty legit. One was about a single mom left in the lurch after her partner made a big life change and skipped out. My wife? She was unflinching. She told her, and everyone else for that matter, to figure it out. We’d given everyone more than enough heads-up to sort their schedules, and if push came to shove, they could always just well… not come.

And then there was me, the softy. My relatives would call me up, voices full of hope, saying they just couldn’t bear to leave their kids behind. “What are we supposed to do? Granny is gonna’ be all the way down there!” But my wife was right there beside me, like I was an intern, coaching me through it. “Just say no, and hang up.” she’d guide, her voice steady and patient, like a seasoned mentor leading a rookie through the ropes.

To smooth things over for those bringing kids, I floated the idea of booking a hotel room, ordering a bunch of pizzas, and having an uncle oversee the mini-mob — all on my dime. This solution seemed like a reasonable middle ground, more affordable than adding extra tables and plates at the reception, and less burdensome for my family. It was a bit of a gamble, given their track record for mayhem and the potential costs if their boredom led to another TV casualty. And this uncle isn’t exactly Mr. Entertainment.

But even that proposal didn’t satisfy them. From their perspective, we were merely erecting unnecessary barriers. “We all have kids; y’all should just elope,” was one of the most frustrating arguments thrown my way, treating our decision for a child-free wedding as more of an inconvenience than a boundary or personal choice. And it didn’t help anything that the uncle I considered asking is, well, the “creepy” uncle. He’s so out there that I didn’t even want him at the wedding. It was like killing two birds with one stone, but it didn’t work.

When it became clear that my family wasn’t on board with the hotel room idea for the kids, I wholeheartedly joined team bride. Taking a page out of legendary comedian Earthquake, I thought to myself, “Fuck ‘dem kids.”

So, the day before the wedding, my wife and I were enjoying breakfast when my phone rang. I got a call from my uncle. Not the creepy one. A regular one. Naturally, I answered.

“Hey nephew, I’ve got a situation,” he started.“What’s going on?” I asked, concerned. He sighed, “Well, it’s not common knowledge in the family, but your cousin Clyde lost joint custody of his son. The court decided he’s an unfit father.” “Man, that’s rough,” I sympathized.
“Yeah, it is. But that’s not why I’m calling. Your aunt and I fought for grandparents’ rights, and we won last week. We can now take care of Jamal, and Clyde can visit, but only when we’re around.”
“So, what’s the problem then?” I inquired, puzzled.
“The issue is, our first weekend with Jamal falls on tomorrow — your wedding day. It’s still a delicate situation, and we don’t want to ask for a schedule change. Is there any way you could make an exception for us to bring Jamal to the wedding?”
I sat with it for a second. “Could one of you possibly stay back with Jamal and let Clyde attend?”
He explained, “Jamal is seven, and we can’t risk him telling his mom that one of us wasn’t there. It’s a tricky situation.”
After a brief pause, I had to be honest. “I’m really sorry, but I don’t think we can make an exception.”
I could hear the disappointment in his voice. “That’s a shame. We even bought Jamal a new suit and everything.”
I replied, “I hope you kept the receipt.”

Over breakfast, I shared my uncle’s request with my wife, wondering if we should have made an exception for him. Her response was quick and firm. “Absolutely not. We gave everyone more than a year’s notice. There’s no reason they should have even hinted they were available this weekend.”

“You’re right,” I acknowledged, then shared, “He seemed really down about it, even mentioned they bought Jamal a suit and everything.”

“Did you tell him to keep the receipt?” she inquired, practical as ever.

“Of course,” I said, but her next words stopped me mid-bite.

“Hold on,” she started, her brow furrowing in thought. “They were supposed to fly in from Chicago, right? Were they really going to buy last-minute tickets if we said yes? That’s ridiculously expensive.”

Her question hung in the air. “So, what are you getting at?” I prodded, intrigued by her line of reasoning.

“I’m betting Jamal’s been here all along. They planned to ask, but were ready to ignore a ‘no’ from us,” she deduced.

Her insight hit me like a cold splash of water. It felt like a violation of our wishes, a total lack of respect. Yet, I couldn’t help but voice my hope that they wouldn’t actually go that far. “Maybe he’d just call to cancel, rather than go against what we want for our day,” I suggested, more out of hope than conviction.

She met my gaze, her expression a complex tapestry of trust and concern. “Okay, I trust you on this. But just so you know, if any kid sets foot at our wedding, I’m going apeshit.”

The next day was our wedding day. I’m not trying to stunt, y’all. I promise you, I’m not, but on the wedding day, the venue was so lit. We had the whole celebration outdoors, blessed with perfect weather — 70 degrees and not a cloud in sight. The mountains served as our stunning backdrop, a sight my family had never laid eyes on before.

My wife, embracing her Mexican heritage, insisted on a mariachi band greeting our guests as they arrived. And man, did they deliver. They even took requests. Who knew that a mariachi band could play Snoop Dogg’s ‘Gin and Juice’? And it sounded even better in Spanish.

As I stood near the pastor, I watched my bride glide down the aisle. And right behind her, to my shock, were my uncle, my aunt, and a little 7-year-old Jamal gripping my aunt’s hand. My first thought was, “OMG. How am I gonna deal with this?” And my second thought? “Jamal is rocking a pretty dope suit.”

I could see them clearly, but my wife couldn’t because they were directly behind her, and her gaze was fixed on me. My uncle and aunt, being close family, had front row, center seats reserved for them. My mind raced with thoughts of how to handle the situation discreetly. The plan? Get through the ceremony without my wife noticing, then quietly ask my uncle to leave afterward. The last thing I wanted was for her to become upset during our wedding or for the photographer to snap a photo of her removing her earrings, and getting ready to scrap. So, as she reached me, I gently took her hand and subtly positioned her so she couldn’t see them, ensuring her focus stayed on us and this moment.

As the pastor kicked things off, I was a mix of super pumped and super nervous — my heart was going a million miles an hour. Under my breath, I found myself whispering, “Please don’t cry,” thinking about Jamal, making a scene. My wife, catching me mutter, leans in and says “There’s no shame if you want to cry.” At that moment, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. My plan worked. She thought my nerves were all about the ceremony. So, that must mean she hadn’t seen him. Ay, Dios mío.

The ceremony wrapped up, and before I knew it, we were whisked into cocktail hour. The photographer snagged us right away for a photo shoot, pulling us away from the crowd. There went my chance to corner my uncle and suggest, that maybe it was time they dip out. Meanwhile, Jamal was making rounds, chatting up guests, while my aunt and uncle took full advantage of the hors d’oeuvres. In my head, I’m like, “Okay, you’ve seen the vows, now leave!” But when I glanced at my wife, she was all smiles, fixed on me, totally in the bridal zone, while I was practically drowning in sweat. On the bright side, in my mind, was that her serene expression was a clear sign that she still hadn’t spotted him yet.

Finally, when the photo sesh wrapped up, I beelined for my aunt and uncle. But just as I was about to reach them, the DJ caught me with a “Hey, we need to sort out your first dance song and a couple of other details.” By the time I got all his questions answered and turned back, they had vanished. I scanned the venue, thinking, “They’ve got to be here somewhere.” My uncle’s not the type to leave without grabbing a plate. And sure enough, there they were, making a move on some egg rolls.
I started heading their way, but just then, my wife pulled me aside to introduce me to some of her uncles and aunts. I did the whole happy groom bit, shaking hands, saying how thrilled I was they could make it. But by the time I looked up again, my aunt, uncle, and the kid had moved to a different spot.

This happened like three more times. Each time I spotted them and made my move, someone or something would distract me, and poof, they’d vanish again. It was turning into a real-life cat-and-mouse game, the kind of thing you’d expect to see in a Scooby-Doo episode, not at your wedding.

During our first dance, I found myself scanning the area for my aunt and uncle, but they were nowhere to be seen. My mind raced, wondering if they had moved to a table with enough space for all three of them. “Are they behind me? Where could they be?” I decided to let those worries fade and just focus on the dance with my wife, spinning her around with enough twirls to make her dizzy. In my head, I joked, “She can’t throw hands at my uncle and nephew if she’s too dizzy to stand.”

Mid-twirl, she looked up at me with a knowing smile. “If you’re looking for your uncle and nephew, they’ve left. I had my bridesmaids handle it,” she said calmly. I was stunned. No man fully understands the depths of women’s communication, but this was on another level. I’d been with her practically the entire time, and she hadn’t spoken a word to the bridesmaids. It was like she’d given them some kind of mafia boss signal, and they’d acted like the muscle and took care of it. “I need to learn that signal before we head back to Chicago,” I thought.

“Did you know the whole time?” I asked.
“Yeah, I knew. That purple suit of his was louder than any baby’s scream. It’s kind of cute, though,” she admitted.

Apologizing, I confessed she was right all along about them planning to bring Jamal. I started to vent about how rude and selfish it was of them, but she didn’t engage. Instead, she slipped back into the bridal zone, resting her head on my shoulder as we continued dancing. It would’ve been the perfect moment for an “I told you so,” but she didn’t say it. I half-joked, “Are you going to call security? Ready to throw bows? Want me to hold your heels and earrings?”

She didn’t reply, just closed her eyes and smiled, the biggest smile I’d ever seen on her. At that moment, I realized she had known about Jamal but chose to stay present with me, focusing on our celebration rather than the drama.

For the first time that day, I looked at my wife without any distractions, and I saw stars. Literally, because spotting stars in Chicago’s night sky is super rare. As we swayed side by side, I drew my head closer to hers, closed my eyes, and thought to myself, “We better get used to moments like this; we’re DINKs.”



Chris Davis
Human Parts

Narrative Craftsman | Weaving Humor and Humanity into Everyday Stories