Just so you know, I planned my wedding in less than 3 months. Yes, you read that correctly.
And no, I did not have a shotgun wedding nor was it held in my parents’ basement.
I didn’t have some of the more typical Hyderabadi wedding ceremonies, such as a manja, in which the bride’s family gathers to put henna on the bride’s face and hands, or a sanchak mehndi, in which the bride’s younger sister forcibly attempts to put henna on the groom with the hopes of receiving money if successful. But the three-day celebration consisting of a dholki/bridal shower, nikkah ceremony (signing of the marriage contract), and reception was more than enough for me.
[bctt tweet=”In short, I had the (relatively) simple but beautiful wedding I had always dreamed of. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
I almost can’t believe it myself.
How did I do it?
Well, after being on the marriage market for over six years, I had plenty of time to decide what was really important to me. If ever I had wanted my husband to come riding in on an elephant (which I never did by the way), reality had its way of bringing me down to earth. By the time I was finally engaged, all I really wanted was my nikkah to be held in a mosque, a gorgeously delicious cake, and a purple outfit for the big day.
This was a tall order considering a) I had to find a mosque that didn’t have strict gender barriers (not many in Chicago do) because my husband’s mom, understandably so, wanted to be there with her son when he signed the contract, b) typical wedding cakes are super expensive, require significant lead time, and frankly, taste disgusting. How many times have you been to a wedding only to discover that the gorgeous cake on display tasted nasty as hell? And c) I would be going against decades, if not centuries, of not just Hyderabadi but Indian tradition.
Indian brides typically wear red on their wedding day. Purple is not common.
With some help, I was able to locate a mosque downtown that allowed everyone to be together at the signing of the contract.
After speaking to at least 5 different cake vendors, I was able to find an aunty, Hyderabadi no less, who not only made the cutest and most delicious tester cake ever, she was willing to make the actual cake for at least $100 cheaper than the others!
And lastly, since I was marrying into a Pakistani family, I would never have to wear a khada dupatta (the traditional Hyderabadi outfit consisting of yards of fabric wrapped around the body and is often worn by brides) again in my life!
The lifetime of warnings about having to wear whatever my mother-in-law made for me, whether I liked it or not, turned out to be untrue in my case.
My mother-in-law actually asked me what I wanted! PURPLE DRESS, HERE I COME!
The biggest source of contention was probably how many guests to invite. My husband wanted a super small wedding. My parents were fine forgoing some of the extra festivities, but they wanted to invite everyone who’d ever invited them to their children’s weddings. I wanted something in between.
In the end, serving as arbitrator between them both, we agreed to compromise at 300 guests.
(That’s nothing – some South Asian weddings can go as large as 1,000!)
Of course, I had my fair share of last-minute stresses.
My beautiful purple outfit, when it did finally arrive from Pakistan, had not been sewn properly! My mom, my go-to tailor, said it was too big of a mess for her to fix, especially since this was the one event where literally all eyes would be on me. Thank God for the swift tailor on Devon Avenue! But most stressful of all for me was making sure that the uncle we had hired to do the stage followed through with my picks. Otherwise, I’d have to contend with tinsel foil and dollar store flowers as my wedding decor! Why did I take on such a huge risk for one of the biggest days of my life? He was relatively cheap, available, and an acquaintance of my dad’s.
Basically, we had no other choice.
[bctt tweet=”But in the end, it all came together, by the Grace of God.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Would I recommend planning a wedding in three months?
Though there was a lot of compacted stress involved, I don’t think spacing out that stress would have made things any easier. Weddings have turned into a multi-million-dollar industry; the more time you have on your hands, the more you end up spending.
My husband and I wanted a simple wedding. But I forgot that my family is Indian.
So, if you’re like me and looking to cut costs, especially when not all parties agree on matters, I would say “YES, plan that wedding in three months!” It’s the wedding-planning equivalent of a HIIT workout. Being pressed for time can be a good thing – I can guarantee that no one will even think of having an elephant in the procession!
My family and I had less than a quarter of the time to plan what normally takes over a year for some families. But I honestly would not have changed a thing.
Well, except for the fact that I didn’t get to finish my slice of my own wedding cake.
I’m still angry about that.