When Marielle Slagel Keller was planning her June 24 wedding, there were a few names she jotted down on the “must invite” list: 20 of her kindergarten and first grade students. The 25-year-old Indianapolis teacher told ABC News that her students are so important to her that she couldn’t imagine her big day without them.
“I’m really close to their families too,” she said. “They supported me throughout this wedding planning process, so it wouldn’t have been right to not have them be there the day of. To have those kids walk down the aisle for me was really special. There were a lot of tears.”
And so, Marielle’s 20 IPS Butler Lab School students acted as her flower girls and ring bearers that day, trotting down the aisle in two rows clad in all-white and carrying garland ahead of their teacher’s big entrance.
Marielle recalls that it was the first wedding for many of her little stars, and several “shielded their eyes when we kissed,” she told ABC News.
Marielle, ever the teacher, even on her wedding day, also made sure that she rewarded their good behavior with a special cupcake ceremony immediately after she and now-husband, Mike Keller, exchanged vows.
Mike admits that he had some qualms about involving 20 kids in the wedding ceremony, but said he was impressed with how smoothly the plans went.
“I said, ‘This is lovely,’ but in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, ‘There’s a 25 percent chance this will go according to plan,’” the 26-year-old groom told ABC News. “I thought, ‘This is going to be interesting: a herd of 6-year-olds coming down the aisle in this very important moment.’”
“But she really had a passion for it on this special day, and I’m glad she went with it,” he continued. “It ended up being perfect.”