A wedding is very much a family affair, though confusingly every family does them differently. For Asian weddings this can be incredibly difficult to manage, as trying to find out all the different events and traditions to follow for your wedding can be almost impossible! Your Dads side says one thing, your Mums another and that’s without even speaking to your in-laws who will probably have their own things they would like included! By functions/rasams I am referring to all the traditions/ ceremonies you do in addition to the actual wedding ceremony that are a part of the wedding. So for example how many maiyans you do, or are you going to play any games with your husband when you arrive at his or do you have to make something sweet as your first dish with your in-laws?
It all gets very confusing with lots of opinions being thrown around, and you trying not to offend anyone and chose one side over another. I have also seen this repeatedly at mehndi functions where they are also doing a Maiyaan or other function and the Puah is fighting with the Masi over the correct way to do things. The way I handled this for my wedding was that me and my Mum agreed that my Bibi was the appointed cultural expert for the wedding and we solely went to her for instructions and advise. This worked for us and when we had instances of conflicting advice, we just went with what Bibi said. However, this option may not work for everyone, especially if both sides of your family are quite opinionated.
In those instances, I would recommend you speaking to your parents’ sides separately and seeing which functions/rasams they would like you to do and find out how they do them. It’s also worth asking what their essential ones are so when it comes to shortlisting you don’t miss anything important. Once you have the lists from both sides you can see what they have in common, what they involve and how important they are to your family. Then with that information you can decide which you would like to do.
I would also recommend your partner to do the same with their family. Then when you and your partner are clear on what you would like to do, you can meet with your in-laws and agree what the joint functions will be. For example, if you will be having a chunni ceremony or not and what your fiancé’s family consider to be an essential part of the ceremony and if it conflicts with how your family holds one.
For my wedding we did the below:
– A Mini Roka – it wasn’t an official roka, but I went to my husband’s house with my parents after got engaged and was introduced to his side and we were given laddu and shagun.
– 3 Maiyans – the first maiyan was on the Thursday in the morning, the second on the Friday in the evening and the third on the morning of the wedding. For the third maiyan they also put yogurt in my hair and my brother had to take me out of the bath (I was clothed).
– After my first maiyan I wasn’t allowed to shower or leave the house until the wedding day. My husband’s family only do one maiyan, so this does vary.
– Churra Ceremony – this was done after my second maiyan. My eldest Mama put my churra on.
– Jago – this was done after my churra ceremony and I was told must be done after the 2nd maiyan.
– Mehndi – can be done 2/3 days before the wedding.
– Milni – We agreed who would be participating in the milni before hand and had a list ready for the Gurudwara committee. We decided to keep it to just close family so it wouldn’t get too long. We also were supposed to have a ladies one separately but I don’t think that actually happened.
– Kurmai – we did this at the Gurudwara before the wedding. Both sides agreed not to do a chunni ceremony.
– Doli – I always wanted this to be done from my parents’ house, and luckily, we made it work. From watching too many Bollywood films I thought that I needed to throw the rice behind me, it turned out that in my family we throw the rice in the four corners of the room.
– My brother accompanied me to my in-laws after the doli.
– Paani Varna – This was done the standard way.
– The day after the wedding we went to my parent’s house for lunch/dinner. My in-laws chose for this to be just my husbands’ immediate family though this varies with different families.
If you haven’t started thinking about this yet, I would highly recommend you do. As being able to know what you are doing/how it needs to be done is an integral part of the wedding. It also looks better in the video if you are confidently doing everything and not constantly looking confused/ asking for help.