How was your week and how is your weekend coming along?
Last Saturday was our second wedding anniversary. I was flipping through our wedding album and had an idea. As usual, I put up a poll on Instastories asking…
Well, all of you who voted said yes. So here it is!
Disclaimer: In every wedding there is the good, bad and the ugly. While marrying my husband is the best thing that has ever happened to me, I choose to address the “reality” in this post. Weddings aren’t easy but at the end of the day you take away the good memories only. I’ve written this post because a lot of brides have told me “I wish I had known what I would go through in a wedding…” Hence this post.
Courtship and Engagement: The beginning of it all
My husband (referred to as Arv throughout this post) and I met at work. It was a whirlwind romance and we got married a year after we started going out. We got engaged in July 2015 and that was the first time our families had met. While we live in Chennai, Arv’s family lives in a different state, leave alone city. The engagement shopping day was an unforgettable day (in a bad way). You know how you visualise what you want to wear and the ring you want to give each other during the engagement ceremony? Well, none of it happened as per my wish. I kind of gave up and told the elders of his family to do whatever they wanted to. His aunts chose everything. My mom asked me to save all my energy for the wedding and I decided to do just that.
The engagement happened and the wedding date was fixed for 17th February 2016. And during the next few days, I was busy planning how I could take charge of my own wedding without any interference. So my mom, grandmom and I quietly went, bought all my sarees as per my wish and got all the blouses stitched. So all my sarees and blouses were ready by October 2015.
Talk the talk
In October, my in-laws had come to Chennai for a wedding. So our families decided to meet and finalise the rituals for the wedding. Now, Arv is from a Telugu family and we are from Tamil family. So we had to combine rituals.
It’s been a dream since childhood to wear a madisar and sit on my dad’s lap when the thali is tied. And the oonjal ceremony was something I wanted. So I made this very clear to everyone. While everyone nodded their head during the October meeting, things didn’t quite go as planned on the wedding day. More on that later.
I finished shopping for my reception lehenga shortly afterwards and things were finally falling into place.
…and the saga continued.
Obviously, beauty treatments were part of this process. The one thing I didn’t want was a facial since I knew it would give me rashes and the last thing I wanted was that. But, destiny had other plans for me. The beautician assured it was all natural and convinced me to go for it. And I did. Voila! The rashes appeared. My skin was a terrible mess. And this was four days before the wedding.
Three days before the wedding, my brother flew down from the US. It was a surprise for the entire family and I cried so much. And that’s when the tears officially started flowing.
I respect traditions and honestly while we all have mehendi and sangeet functions even in a South Indian wedding nowadays, I wasn’t up for it. I hosted a small mehendi party at home for my first family and that was it.
We left to the mandapam on the 16th morning. I had a terrible headache and the area under my eye was hurting badly. At that time I didn’t realise it was a migraine. I was irritated with everything and everyone. My skin was acting up, my headache was getting worse and I just wanted to get done with the wedding. The morning vratham went smoothly but the problems were waiting to happen.
In the evening we had another engagement ceremony. During both the engagement ceremonies, strangely, according to “Telugu” customs, the sisters-in-law had to put the ring on my finger. Whaaaaat? I’m getting engaged to Arv. Aren’t we supposed to exchange rings? That pissed me off. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love my sisters-in-law. But I didn’t like the tradition. I wanted Arv to put the ring on my finger! Was that too much to ask?
And of course, there’s this young group of people in every wedding who have a problem with how boring the wedding is. “No dance, no music – how boring!” Ermmm… Go to a pub or go home and sing and dance. Who is stopping you? I wanted to tell that group of people to stfu and get out of the wedding hall. I couldn’t. My headache just became worse. I turned into a bridezilla and snapped at everyone.
“Just stop asking me or telling me things. Go away!”
“Why are you being a pest?”
“I want to kill you!”
…were some of the nicer things I said to people that day. And it was okay to be a bridezilla at this stage. And of course, like any normal Brahmin wedding, we couldn’t sleep. “You need to wake up at 3.30 in the morning,” shouted my grandma from the other side of the room. It was 2.30 am.
My migraine became worse despite taking painkillers. My left eye looked much smaller than usual. No amount of makeup concealed the worry on my face. The only thing I was looking forward to was the oonjal ceremony and the actual marriage. So I got ready. It was 5.30 and the oonjal was originally scheduled for 6.30. Enter an elderly person from the groom’s side who wanted to push the oonjal to 5.45 and finish it early so that their rituals could be done elaborately. I was irritated by then, stormed out and met Arv. Told him that I was not going compromising on anything and if anything needs to be compromised, it should come from their side since I had asked only for two things. He agreed and was by my side throughout. We had the oonjal ceremony at 6. Only 5-6 were able to participate in the timeframe given and we moved on to the Gowri Poojai, which literally ate up all the time. I couldn’t even move my head and I was so angry by then that I wanted to walk out. Another suggestion that was made shocked me. The original plan was this – I was supposed to wear my madisar, complete our rituals and then wear their (off)-white saree and complete theirs. Unfortunately, this sounded good only on paper. They wanted to skip the whole madisar thing and finish the rituals wearing the other saree. I said no. Arv was on my side. He told his parents that they should compromise but not take away what I wanted and they agreed. It mattered because when I said yes to him I told him the only condition I have is I would get married in a madisar. He promised me that it would happen and it did.
The migraine was happy. More problems, more tension. More tension, migraine stays and gets worse. I was done for the day but the reception was pending. Thankfully that went pretty smoothly.
On February 21st, we had another reception in the city where my in-laws live. So one of the old ladies around had a brilliant idea. She suggested I wear a saree on the flight so that when I reached my in-laws’ place, the neighbours will see me in a saree. Since it was the first time they were seeing me, it would only be appropriate if I wore a saree. I was appalled by the crap that was happening. There was a huge argument between my husband and the lady and it became a big issue. I settled for a salwar finally.
We reached my in-laws’ place on the 19th. There was a poojai on the 20th. My migraine by this time had reached the peak. I was vomiting my guts out. Nobody knew. Finally, on the day of the reception, I vomited and told people I was really sick. Well, there was no point. There were 1200 people at the reception. And we were standing throughout. The reception in Chennai was a simple one. There were round tables and people were seated. Arv and I went to each table and met people. Those who came really late came to see us on stage. And that was that. The reception at my in-laws’ place was the regular one where we stood for more than four hours. I cried out of frustration but I was glad it was all over.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against those who made me cry on my wedding day (maybe I do hehe) but I wrote this post despite knowing people who I’ve spoken about will read it. But I want you – brides-to-be to take away something from my experience.
To those getting married in the near future, here’s my advice to you:
- Have a control over your wedding. It’s your big day. The elders play a role in your wedding. They cannot take the lead. You and partner need to take the lead and put your foot down.
If you do not want a sangeet or a lavish mehendi function, stick to it. Do not succumb to pressure. Honestly, if you mattered to people, they would enjoy your wedding the way it is. You can just wave your middle finger to the rest. *adios amigos!*
- Stress as the D-Day approaches is inevitable. Make sure you have your loved ones by your side. I had Arv, my friends Sneha and Sowmya by my side. They made sure things were fine and we had a really good time together. A few of us took a few minutes off before the reception to go have ice-cream at Swensens. I really needed that break.
To the others, especially elders who are reading the post, please take a step back. At the end of the day, the bride and the groom need to be happy. If you cannot add to their happiness that’s fine but please do not make their day miserable. It is their happy day. It is a day they would want to remember for the rest of their life.
I wrote this post in the order I recollected incidents. I haven’t polished my writing in this post simply because I didn’t want to dilute my emotions. So, kindly excuse me for grammatical errors.