Take yourself back to when you were a kid, say 7 to 10 years old. How many Indian weddings did you attend? Weddings where you didn’t know anyone (except your annoying older brother) and didn’t understand what was going on.
I remember a lot of family and family friends’ weddings (including the one where my brother and I locked the keys in the car…oops!). Or when my cousin ran through the middle of a dance performance and stood in the middle of the stage area…
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that we’ve been a part of this huge, crazy Indian family that extends beyond what is literally “family.” I didn’t get it before when I was a kid, but now it’s something I really value.
For Indians, when we say “cousins” they’re not even cousins at all. There’s no blood relation. We’re not related to them, but they’re family. I don’t know many cultures that do that.
We Indians are crazy, loud, boisterous, pushy (literally pushy), meddlers (sometimes), and lots of other great things too but we’re also one BIG Indian family.
So on that note, I want to focus on the kids in this post, why you can’t have a “No Kids” Indian wedding and how to plan for it. Whether you have 10 kids or 50 kids at Indian weddings, it’s all part of the fun!
Whether you have 10 kids or 50 kids at your wedding, it’s all part of the fun!
Who To Invite And Who Not To Invite?
Keep a rule like: “I’m inviting all of our cousins’ kids (1st cousins), but I’m not inviting my parents’ distant friends’ kids.” Keeping a rule might be tough to adhere to, so be open, knowing that you’ll probably create exceptions to the rule. We all know that with Indian families and wedding planning come exceptions. Managing expectations is the key here.
What Should Kids Eat?
Figuring out any menu for a multiple event wedding is confusing enough. Don’t let adding kids trip you up. Decide whether or not you’ll have a separate menu for kids or if you’ll have a few items that’ll make kids happier (like pizza or pasta or simple Indian foods). Kids love chicken if they’re not Vegetarian, and if they are, stick to the basics. Here are some tips on creating the perfect menu.
If you decide to have Indian food for kids too, keep the food mild. Tell the caterers to separate a portion for the kids (or, have a mild option that can be used for both kids and adults). It doesn’t matter if you know a few little kids who like spicy food – most kids won’t eat spicy food.
If you’re getting fancy with your menus, chances are that kids under 10 won’t eat the fancy food. If it’s familiar Indian food or cuisine they’ve had before, they might eat it, but no guarantees.
Also consider serving dinners at an earlier time for kids (since kids usually eat on a schedule).
If you don’t create a separate kids menu for dinner, you could carve out a fun section of your venue for dessert that’s especially for kids – like an ice cream sundae buffet or better yet, an ice cream truck outside your venue (even though I’m sure adults will flock there too!).
TIP: Ask your catering manager about kids prices (it should be a lower per-person price). Most caterers should accommodate, but it varies based on the caterer. After all, they’re eating less, so it should be less!
Where Should Kids Sit?
Strategy is the key when it comes to seating arrangements. Don’t forget kids when determining seating arrangements. Cluster groups of parents with young children together. This makes it fun for young kids and for the parents too. Older kids (about 12 or over) can be seated at their own tables together.
Chances are that you’ll have siblings and cousins from the same family attending. It’s easy to group those kids together because they know each other. You can easily put older kids and even single girls and guys (21+) on the same tables to make some new friends (or future spouses :0).
Infants and toddlers need a “seat” for either a high chair or a booster seat. Don’t “pull a desi” and assume that they’ll squeeze a high chair next to the parents without accounting for their table space. This could mess up your layout space in terms of how much area there is to get through between tables.
TIP: Ask your venue to keep some extra high chairs and booster seats available so guests can ask the waitstaff for them during your events.
Don’t Forget The Invitation Language
The invitation is a place to make it clear about whether or not kids are invited from a particular family, and which of those kids are invited (if you aren’t inviting all of the kids). Address the invitation explicitly. Not Mr. & Mrs. Shah & Family (on the inside of the card or reply card), but spell out the names of whoever is invited. Let’s face it, sometimes you just need to reconfirm with Indians (even if something seems very obvious). If it’s a little obvious to you, make it super clear. Make it REALLY obvious. No room for confusion. Sometimes you just need to be direct.
Keep Kids Entertained
Kids want to be a part of the activities too, and you can definitely include them as a part of the action. Make kids feel special altogether. Designate a specific area within your venue (ideally a separate room) that can be the kids room.
We’ve all seen kids running around at Indian weddings – you gotta love it, but depending on the event, it can be obtrusive. Why not give kids their own room so they refrain from running around (and you can keep them busy)? Kids can eat here and play here. The opportunities of what you can do are endless. Set up some crayons, coloring books, and some board games. Or, have a DVD player set up (ask the venue if they can provide one). Check out some ideas here.
You can play up the décor or coordinate it with your existing theme. Keep extra high chairs and booster seats available for use in the room. Provide favors for the kids (and reduce the number of favors at the adult tables). Make it simple with a pack of markers or some other goods you can easily find at a party store.
If it’s in your budget, hire a babysitter for the kid’s room. Tell parents in advance so they can plan accordingly. Depending on how many kids you have and if you want to go the extra mile, consider some entertainment – like a magician, balloon artist, or a singer. I’m sure you’ll even get the adults interested in that!
TIP: We all know kids will be kids, so go into it with an open mind (and with some humor). Be open to the outcome of your plan!
Fun Activities for Adults and Kids Alike
If you can’t accommodate a separate kids room, incorporate and cater parts of your wedding to both adults and kids. With a candy buffet, guests get to pick their own candy – who doesn’t love that? And with a photo booth – make it creative. Add some fun props that your entire crowd would like. Add in some Indian-looking props or something else out of the box.
Or, create a scrapbook station where guests can take their photobooth photos and add some bling, stickers, and trinkets to scrapbook pages that go in a scrapbook for the bride and groom.
Give Kids a Job
Another way to include kids is to give them some jobs. Kids love jobs!
Here are some job ideas:
- Ring Bearer: This usually ends up being one super cute kid, but you could have two kids if you want
- Flower Girls: Indian families always have cute little girls to be flower girls. If you have multiple flower girls, team them up to walk together so it’s not as intimidating for them. Get them acquainted beforehand so they’re not shy.
- Passing out something from a basket: If you have favors or hair flowers for women to be passed out while guests are walking in, have older kids hand them out. It might require some adult supervision otherwise recruit teenagers for the job.
- Throwing flowers on the bride and groom during the four pheras (Hindu ceremony)
- Dances / Performances at your pre- wedding event/s (gotta love the little cousins dancing to the latest Bollywood songs – it’s an Indian tradition!) Or challenge kids to be creative with another type of performance – Singing, Playing an instrument, or anything else (approved by the wedding couple of course)
TIP: If you have a lot of kids and can’t give them all their own job, call out their favorites songs at the reception or ask them for their requests (assuming it’s not anything from the Disney channel).
What Do You Do If Someone Shows Up with Their Uninvited Child?
This could happen, it’s definitely not out of the question. I don’t know if it’s just our culture or other cultures too – why do people just show up thinking that they can bring their child even if they weren’t invited?
The best way [for your point person – not you] to handle this is to remind the guest that the child isn’t on the guest list, but that they’ll find a way to accommodate him/her. If the child is an infant, that shouldn’t be a huge problem if the parents showed up with a stroller or carrier. If the child is toddler age, try to fit a high chair at the table. Or if the child is older and booster seat age, you can try this strategy too. If the child is older, make room for him/her at your extra guest table. Worst case, a parent sits with their child.
Some couples love kids at weddings, but others might see them as annoyances. Yeah, they’re unpredictable, and sometimes they run around in the middle of events, or they cry in the back of the ceremony hall. Despite that, Indian weddings are all about families coming together. That means kids, too.
Everyone [together] creates that fun, playful, vibrant atmosphere that is the Indian wedding. It’s the air that becomes light-hearted when kids are included in the mix.
Have you seen any unique ideas including kids at an Indian wedding? Tell us in the comments below.
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