By Sadaf Afshan
I can’t forget the time when I attended my brother in law’s wedding with my four month old daughter and had to kneel down on the floor in my heavy sari to change her diaper because the banquet hall’s washroom did not have a changing table. Or the time when I almost missed all the proceedings on stage during my sister’s wedding because my toddler demanded to be breastfed at that very moment when the rituals were taking place.
Family weddings are the stuff that magical memories are made of but they also have the potential to drive us insane when we have young kids in tow. It’s not the same as attending a friend’s or a distant relative’s wedding where we only need to be present for a short period of time. Also, during family weddings most family members are busy attending guests or looking after arrangements which means that we hardly have any help with kids.
Thankfully, when my sister in law got married a few months ago I had gained enough experience to know that it is possible to enjoy family weddings with kids if only we do some meticulous planning.
Here are some tips to make sure that weddings are an enjoyable affair for you as well as your kids:
This goes for both moms and kids. You might be tempted to wear your wedding lehnga on your brother’s wedding but if you have a clingy infant who demands to be carried around it might not be the best option. Suits, gowns or kaftans might be better options than heavy lehngas, ghararas or saris.
Don’t forget to wear comfortable footwear as well. Yes, those 6 inch stilettos might be very elegant but if you have to be on your feet for the entire night along with an infant or toddler you might want to reconsider your options.
Similarly, you might be eager to dress up your little girl in that cute gharara which she unfortunately finds too scratchy but it’s better to have a simple yet happy girl rather than a well-dressed but whiny one. Alternatively, try to layer scratchy ethnic outfits with comfortable cotton shirts underneath or ask for cotton lining if you are getting the outfits custom made.
Pack extra clothes
Even if your kids are past the age where you lug around diaper bags, do consider bringing an extra pair of clothes to the banquet hall. Once the photo session is done and the kids start getting restless you might want to change them into more comfortable clothes. Also, keep in mind that accidents do happen. You don’t want to rush home in the middle of the ceremony if your child spills his entire bowl of soup on his 3-piece suit.
Get help if possible
Most weddings are late night affairs and it might be too much to expect little ones to stay awake the whole time. While some kids might be happy to curl up in their stroller or a corner of the banquet hall, others might get really cranky. Consider asking a friend to take your little one home once the important rituals and photo sessions are done.
Prepare your kids mentally
If your kids have not attended a wedding before and are old enough to understand, do let them know what to expect. Some kids can get overwhelmed by large crowds or noise. Others might get upset to see grown ups getting emotional when the bride leaves. Letting them know in advance might help them feel relaxed and enjoy the proceedings.
Try to follow routines
During all the pre-wedding rituals routines might go haywire which might mean that you will have an even tougher time during the actual ceremony. Try to make sure that kids have their afternoon nap and eat their meals at proper times. It might be a good idea to feed them dinner before bringing them to the hall so that you don’t have to worry about feeding them while attending guests.
Check out the banquet hall
If possible check out the banquet hall in advance to know little details such as whether they have changing tables in the washroom or an extra room where kids can rest. In case these are not present you can make alternate arrangements such as bringing a full-sized stroller.
Weddings in the family do not take place every day and are meant to be enjoyed as much as we can. They are great occasions to acquaint your kids with your culture and help them bond with their extended families. Make them memorable for all the right reasons.
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Have you had any memorable incidents while attending weddings with your kids? Would you like to share any tips for handling kids during wedding ceremonies? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.