Politics and weddings go hand in hand. Hear a few tales of brides who've been there before, and learn a few tips to help you keep your peace.
Shocked to hear that your wedding’s gonna get political? Yeah, didn’t think so. You’re right to anticipate drama and stress and conflicting opinions and dueling priorities. Weddings are complicated, we know this.
What’s shocking isn’t that wedding politics exists, but that it comes from unexpected people and situations.
True, more often than not it’s the usual suspects—parents, in-laws, guests—who give you grief about normal wedding things—budget, auspicious dates, and no-show RSVPs. But there’s also some stuff that you likely didn’t carve out mental energy to deal with, coming from people that you didn’t think would cause it.
Bridemaid drama. Miffed extended family members. Shady vendors.
Some of these tidbits are from my own experience, and others are things I’ve heard secondhand. Ready to dive in? Let’s break down the different ways Indian weddings get political.
I once heard about a bride whose future in-laws hated her. They despised their daughter-in-law so much, that they ignored her vendor choices and hired a second photographer and videographer, despite the fact that she already hired those vendors for all their events.
Apparently, those vendors were a nightmare. They were in everyone’s way—the guests, the bride, and the actual, bride-approved photographer and videographer. Her in-laws also talked sh* to her ON HER OWN WEDDING DAY, while this poor bride, on the other hand, was trying to keep the peace as best she could.
My jaw was on the floor when I heard this story. How thirsty can people get for control?! From what I heard, the bride handled herself brilliantly, and the in-laws never heard from her or their son again.
If the parental wedding politics are extreme and bordering on abuse, never forget that it’s your right to dictate what the relationship looks like after wedding day.
Bridesmaids are a new fixture in the South Asian wedding landscape. It wasn’t a thing until we made it a thing. What we gained along with bridesmaids was the expectation of a bridesmaid’s responsibilities. Availability. Willingness to help. Excitement to put you first because, ya know, you’re the bride.
Now, *I* didn’t have bridesmaids because I didn’t have any friends. But I’m glad that I didn’t, because the tale that’s frequently told here is that when it’s all said and done, brides tend to *lose* friends in this process.
I know of a bride who managed to both not have bridesmaids, and still lose her friends afterwards. It was because she wanted those friends to plan and participate in pre-wedding things with her, like a bachelorette party and a bridal shower. But she didn’t invite any of those people to her wedding.
She had her reasons for making that choice, but it was a political choice. And it’s impact was permanent.
Brides and bridesmaids need better dialogue, period. Brides, if you want help, be clear about it, ask nicely, and don’t expect anything of your bridesmaids.
Bridesmaids, if you can’t help be honest about it. Let’s normalize being supportive friends in ways that feel healthy for each of us individually. For some of you, that means the bridesmaid commitment is wedding day only. For others, maybe you can offer more.
Don’t let the pressures of wedding planning and sexist expectations (why aren’t the groomsmen doing anything) ruin your lifelong friendship!
Politics with vendors hurts the most, because you hope that the people you interview and hire will treat you with kindness and empathy during the understandably overwhelming, stressful, and draining process that is wedding planning.
Let’s throw out a caveat for the good vendors because there are so many! I personally will NEVER stop singing the praises of Vesic Photography (Hooman = King) and Eric Weiner (venue coordinator, formerly at the Westin Charlotte). When I tell you they saved me…god, I love ’em!
Now for every 20 vendors that are *chef’s kiss* ah-mazing, there are a handful that are rotten, stinky, bad to the core. Who are out for themselves and that paycheck, and not much else.
Hopefully you’ll pick up on the bad eggs during the interview. But you also might be like me, and hire a sweet talking tiny Indian man in a 3-piece suit who rapidly becomes your biggest headache.
The most frustrating thing about this politically charged relationship was that no matter how many times he dropped the ball, or how often he talked badly about my parents to my future in-laws, or how angry we all eventually became with him, I couldn’t do anything about it.
My parents and in-laws urged us not to piss him off before the wedding in fear that he would sabotage it. And not to leave a review afterwards in case he got litigious. Instead, I started Dulhan and share this story often and wide. 💅🏾
Yes, interviewing multiple vendors, talking to lots of different people who worked with them, reading Google reviews and comments is a massive time-suck on your extremely tight wedding planning schedule, but DO IT.
I didn’t ask the hard questions, I didn’t make him sweat, and allowed his fancy portfolio and sugary sweet elevator pitch to overcome my senses. And in the end, he didn’t care about us, our families, or even the other vendors (hey, putting on a wedding is a team sport).
If you somehow find yourself in the same unenviable position that I did, lean on your other vendors. Use their years of experience and wedding wisdom to find a workaround for your problem vendor.
And you thought US politics was a trainwreck?!
Take solace from the fact that many a bride before you has treaded these murky waters, and not only do they have stories 👀, they’re proof that you *will* make it out alive, and that out of alllllll the bull, only one thing matters—your new, perfect little family.
What’s the craziest wedding political storm that you’ve weathered? Share in the comments!
Dulhan is an independent wedding resource designed to help you navigate the wild world of wedding planning. If you find Dulhan useful, please consider supporting the site. Thank you!