Wedding Conundrum: Kids or no Kids?

It seems the days when Asian weddings were attended by anyone who ever met you in your life, are over. The brides and grooms of yesteryear probably rarely spoke to the majority of their guests and probably had little involvement in who came either! In contrast, it seems now that most weddings start with the awkward conversation on numbers of guests and continues throughout the planning process with cutting and re-cutting the guest list until the moment the invites are in the post. Invitation cards themselves were previously open to misinterpretation with ‘…..and family’ written after the invitee’s name. One of the key questions facing couples today is whether to include kids or not. As a parent, my views have changed on the subject and I am sure that happens to most people as their circumstances change.

Of course, for parents out there, it’s obvious – you come as a package and that includes the kids so why wouldn’t you assume they would come with you? Weddings are a great social function and its one of the rare opportunities for them to interact with others from your social network too. They look so cute all dressed up in their gorgeous lenghas and mini sherwanis and make the cutest flower girls and page boys! Even the tensest moment can be broken with a child’s funny antics and their laughs can be infectious! I know my daughter grew a reputation for being the child who sat in the mandap at family weddings to almost participate in them! She almost led my sister-in-law down the aisle at her wedding in Goa!

For a couple trying to keep their wedding to a small affair though, the thought of worrying about whether the isle decorations remain intact for when the bride is making an appearance might be too much. There’s also the added cost when working on ‘per head’ rates for catering.  For parents too, indian weddings can be lengthy affairs and there is often little for them to do which can make for a less than relaxing experience!  Some brides think they’re doing parents a favour by ‘giving’ them time off from being parents but do they understand the difficulties in getting babysitters – especially if that usually involves the grandparents who were also invited to the wedding?!

Either way, the trend toward greater stipulation of who’s invited seems here to stay and as the size of the average guest list falls, the issue of whether to invite kids or not will be part of the debate for some time. One alternative may be to make weddings more inclusive to children by giving them a role or by catering to their needs. I quite like the idea of a magician and perhaps a bouncy castle at the next wedding I attend! My sister is home for the weekend and inevitably wedding planning discussions will take place – I will suggest adding it to her ‘To Do’ list and watch the smoke protrude from her ears!

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