Aug. 11, 2017
A MEMORABLE MOMENT — Butler Lab School 60 teacher Marielle Slagel Keller embraces some of the 20-plus students she invited to be apart of her wedding in July. The children are students in Keller’s combination kindergarten and first-grade class.
When Marielle Slagel Keller decided to include her students from the combination kindergarten/first-grade class she teaches at IPS Butler Lab School 60 to be flower girls and boys in her wedding this past summer, she didn’t think twice about it.
Having 20-plus 6-year-olds — wearing all white and carrying garland — walking down the aisle was a no-brainer. “It just seemed like a natural thing to have the kids that mean the most to me in my wedding,” said Keller.
However, what has been a surprise is all of the attention that her decision has garnered.
Since school started on July 31, Keller and her students have been interviewed by local media and appeared on both “Inside Edition” and “The Today Show.” She said a magazine distributor has also contacted her, but believes her proverbial 15 minutes of fame will soon be over.
“It has been fun to see ourselves on the news and things, but at the same time it’s strange that people are so interested in it. I think it’s a positive story, which is why there’s been so much attention,” she said.
Keller’s students thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the wedding, as well as the attention they’ve received.
“It’s been really awesome to relive the experience with my kids who were in kindergarten then but in first grade now, and to be able to watch videos together. They’ve been running around the rooming yelling, ‘We’re famous,’” said Keller. “I think the new kindergarteners think it’s normal to have camera crews come through the class.”
Maddie B., who’s now a first-grader in Keller’s class, said she was excited to be in her teacher’s wedding because it was the first one she had ever been in.
“I had to be brave and not close my eyes when they kissed,” said Maddie, who said she and her classmates had to walk slowly down the aisle and be quiet. “It was fun to be in the wedding with my friends because at the end we got to have a giant party and we got to jump up in the air.”
While Keller was confident her students would be well-behaved at the wedding, she said her husband didn’t reveal his apprehensions until after the ceremony.
“In the beginning, he didn’t say too much about it and seemed to be in agreement. But it wasn’t until after the wedding when we were in the limo driving to the reception when he said, ‘I have to tell you, I thought this was never going to work out. I thought there was no chance that many 6 year olds were going to walk down the aisle and then sit quietly during a 30-minute ceremony, but they did and that was one of the most special things about the ceremony,’” recalled Keller, with a chuckle.
As the excitement of the wedding and the attention wears off, Keller said everyone — from her school community to her family have been supportive of all of the attention she and her class has received. “My family is really loving it.”
But the newlywed is also quick to point out that she’s not the first person in her family to invite students to a wedding. “My mom’s a teacher, too, and she invited her class to be at her wedding, not in the wedding, but at the wedding. So, I’m not the first one in my family to do this.”