DURATION: We got married just over 8 months after we got engaged – so it wasn’t very long at all for what we needed to do.
OUR APPROACH: Shankar and I come from different religious and cultural backgrounds – Shankar’s family is Hindu and Sri Lankan, and my family is Muslim and Pakistani. As you can imagine, there wasn’t really a precedent to guide us. Rather than ignoring these potentially conflicting ideals and backgrounds, we wanted to incorporate and celebrate all that was important to us during our wedding celebrations. Rather than separate the two sides in different ceremonies, we wanted them to be united into one.
The wedding planning process compelled us to deepen our understanding of our cultures and religious backgrounds, as well as traditions. As you can imagine, all of this would be important to our marriage, not just our wedding. Shankar and I had many conversations on how to go about things, and we also sat down with both of our parents early on.
The other challenge we faced were numbers! I have almost 100 relatives when counting my first cousins, including their parents and kids alone. My parents wanted to invite literally hundreds of people, but we didn’t want a big wedding. So we had to decide what was important to us and what we could compromise on. We thought rather than drag out the planning process, let’s get it done efficiently. It was a massive team effort, with both of our siblings, cousins and parents helping out to make it happen.
MY ADVICE: Realising that whilst you will have expectations of what you want your wedding to be, it might be that your parents, your partner’s parents, and your partner do also have expectations, and compromise will be inevitable. I think it’s important to start by listening to what everyone thinks is important, what vision they have, and reserve decisions and judgement initially. Keep the big picture in mind.
In the end, my Mum (who originally wanted a 600 person wedding and everything to be done the traditional Pakistani way), was so happy with the outcome. It just took a while for her to get her head around something that was so different to what she expected.