We’ve heard and witnessed our fair share of South Asian wedding horror stories. And most of the drama can be traced and pinpointed to one source – the parents. Listen, we get it. When our parents got married they didn’t have control over anything. From their outfits to the date down to the person that they married – those decisions were made for them. But times have changed. So why won’t they?
If you’re confused about what we mean, here’s an example. We all know about the evil mother-in-law trope, yes? We grew up with it in Bollywood, it’s the plot in just about every TV serial on South Asian networks, and it’s a sad reality for a lot of families both living in South Asia and outside of it. Who ends up perpetuating this cycle? The very women who were victims to it when they were married into their households. And why? They finally have power. They finally have control. And instead of breaking the cycle, they end up putting it on repeat.
The same thing happens in the world of weddings. And if we take the time to understand and empathize and look at the root causes – it makes sense. But at the same time, it’s not our job to constantly be empathetic to the plights of our family members. Understanding? Yes. Cognizant of their sacrifices? Yes. Forever indebted to the point where it impacts our own agency, independence, and mental well-being? No.
Here’s the rub that a lot of controlling parents and families don’t understand until it’s too late. In most cases where they cover the cost of the wedding, yes their opinion matters. But when they cross the line of opinion to exerting control for the sake of control over a momentous occasion in our lives, they start putting our relationships at risk. Because after the wedding, when the financial hold they have over our heads disappears, we’re not obligated to maintain these toxic relationships any longer.
So what’s the solution?
There is no easy answer to this, but there are ways to work around family members who seem more interested in sabotaging your happiness rather than ensuring it.
- If there is a vendor that you absolutely want for your wedding, fight for them. Chances are that you don’t have the same taste as your parents or your in-laws and they’ll probably push for things that give you nightmares (with my family it was a chocolate fountain and the stereotypical tacky photographer straight outta India). It’s your wedding. Give yourself permission to fight for the vendors that will make you and your partner happy. The worst feeling will be looking at your photos or video years later with feelings of bitterness and regret.
- Hire vendors who will advocate for you. In NC we have a problem – Aunties and Uncles have a little bit of a monopoly on our parents and the industry. But over the past year we’ve discovered SO many amazing vendors who are experienced in South Asian weddings and who advocate for the couple at every turn. There are vendors out there who can handle your difficult parents – you just have to find them first. If you want specific recommendations, email us at [email protected].
- Difficult parents don’t just pop up overnight. If you anticipate that you’ll be duking it out over any aspect of the wedding, prepare accordingly. Can you and your partner cover the cost of certain vendors that you can’t live without? Will you need a planner or venue coordinator who can double as your muscle? Be proactive in troubleshooting and come up with creative and viable solutions.
- Team up with your partner. Wedding planning may be the first time that you and your partner will face real conflict as a unit. Instead of letting that drama seep into your relationship, cleave together with your partner, talk it through, come up with a plan (like setting boundaries), and tackle it together.
Do you have any other tips or advice to offer couples in this situation? Email us at [email protected].
Tips or comments about this article? Have a topic you want us to research and write about? Drop us an email at [email protected]
Founder & Chief Visionary, proud fur mom of 2, amateur artist, Netflix binger, wino, and chocolate addict.