4 Ways To Deal With Difficult Desi Parents During Wedding Planning
by Raj Desai | Updated 7/31/21
We’ve all 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, I get it. When our parents got married they didn’t have control over anything. Their outfits, the date, even *who* they married—those decisions were made for them. But times have changed. So why won’t they?
It’s all about power, baby. South Asian families have a well-established hierarchy. Our parents are at the top of the totem pole. Instead of breaking the cycle, they actively perpetuate it (they’re victims of it too, it’s a mindset that has to be unlearned).
The same thing happens in the world of weddings. And if we take the time to empathize with them and understand the root causes—it makes sense.
At the same time, being empathetic doesn’t mean we have to be doormats.
Understanding? Yes. Respectful 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 just to get their way, they start putting our relationships at risk.
After the wedding, when the financial hold they have over our heads disappears, we finally have the freedom to dictate what healthy boundaries look like.
Basically, there are no easy answers (I know, I wish there were too!). Fortunately, there are ways to work around family members who seem more interested in sabotaging your happiness rather than ensuring it.
Fight for the vendors you want
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 straight outta the 80’s).
It’s your wedding.
It’s okay to push for the vendors that will make you and your partner happy. The worst feeling will be looking at your wedding photos or video years later with feelings of bitterness and regret.
Hire vendors who will advocate for you
Over the years, I’ve discovered SO many amazing vendors who are experienced in South Asian weddings and who advocate for their clients at every turn.
Case in point? Our venue coordinator at The Westin Charlotte, Eric. Not only did he help me avert the chocolate fountain fiasco, he stepped in when our planner dropped the ball on (SO MANY) things.
There *are* vendors out there who can handle your difficult parents—you just have to find them first.
Before you hire them, ask them if they’ve worked with difficult and controlling parents in that past. Did they handle those situations effectively?
Also, get an idea of what their action plan is for your family dynamic.
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 by brainstorming creative and viable solutions.
List out all of the potential compromises and solutions. Maybe you and your partner cover the cost of certain vendors that you can’t live without. Or recruit a planner or venue coordinator who can back you up (strength in numbers!).
Thankfully, there are ways to work around whatever roadblocks and curveballs your family may throw at you.
Team up with your partner
Wedding planning tension with parents may be the first time that you and your partner will face conflict as a unit.
Instead of letting that drama seep into your relationship, talk it through with your partner, come up with a plan (like setting boundaries), and tackle it together.
Content strategist and UX writer who’s been researching and writing about weddings for 5 years. Addicted to Netflix, dirty martinis, and naps.