(Closed) Parental Involvement in Wedding Planning

posted 4 years ago in South Asian
Post # 2
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

I know this is a really old post but I’d love to hear if you (or anyone else) has any more insight into this topic. It has been challenging for me, with cultural differences and parents’ expectations. My Fiance is Indian and his parents will be paying for a lot of the costs of the wedding; however at times I feel left out of the planning. I would be curious how others handle it!

Post # 3
Member
37 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2017

I think that this is very challenging. After having gone through most of the planning process (less than 3 weeks to go till the wedding) , I’ve had my fair share of moments that make me want to pull my hair out. My parents are paying for >90% of the wedding costs so I try to be as understanding as possible for their requests. We are also South Indian and doing most of the wedding in a North Indian way and having the wedding at a location near my fiances parents home so I recognize that my parents have been extremely accomodating in this process. So when my mom asks that I have one more outfit change than what I planned or my dad wants us to have double the number of photo groupings at the mandap than what we had allotted for, it doesn’t bother me too much. My fiances family has been generally hands off but my future Mother-In-Law sometimes gets so wrapped up in following the traditions 100% even when it does not make sense logistically and is not meaningful for anyone. When she keeps insisting that things be done a certain way even when no one can explain the significance or meaning of doing it that way, it drives me crazy. Usually in this scenario, I’ll talk to my fiancé and explain what is upsetting me and he has been able to smooth most things over in a way that everyone feels ok with the decision.

I think that the amount of parental involvement in a south Asian wedding is super unique. We had a large engagement party a few months ago and the amount of love we felt and the feeling of both of us being integrated into each other’s families without question (despite all the family involvement and traditions that don’t always make sense) makes me realize that I wouldn’t trade this for anything else. If you ever feel left out of the process as far as the traditions and those types of details, I would take charge of the things that you do/should have full control over. I was able to choose all of the decor/florals, pick our all of our vendors (with input from my fiancé), and generally make it into the event that I had dreamt of. I think minor annoyances will continue through the wedding day but when I step back and think of the big picture, knowing that I was still able to plan an event (especially the reception) that is as perfect as possible, I don’t mind these things as much. 

Post # 4
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

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mdbee :  Thank you for answering! My situation is a little different in that I am white and have so much to learn about Indian culture and wedding traditions. My Future Mother-In-Law wants a bigger, traditional wedding and as she is paying for the majority of the costs (although I am planning to contribute as much as I can of my personal savings) I feel she should have a lot of say in how the wedding will be. In the beginning I felt more involved – I chose venues for us to look at together and we did choose a venue that I had suggested. But lately she is making decisions and letting me know afterwards. For example, she chose all the ceremony decor and told me later about the colours she picked. She is planning to go to another city to look for my ceremony dress but didn’t invite me to come. When Fiance asked her about it she said that in her culture the bride doesn’t have a say. This is very different from my culture and difficult for me to understand. She has always been extremely nice and welcoming to me and Fiance tells me she loves me. I was advised (by another caucasian woman who married a south Asian man) that I should always be pleasant and agreeable to my Mother-In-Law. Never disagree with her, just ask Fiance to talk to her if I’m unhappy. Would you agree? It is the first marriage in their family and I understand she wants it to be traditional. I’m okay with the decisions she has made so far, I would just like to feel more a part of the planning. There are a couple of things I worry about. One is that she asked me to get my nose pierced before the wedding; I didn’t know at the time that this was part of their traditions and said I would think about it, but I’ve decided since that I’d rather not and I’m worried about how to tell her! Secondly, for the reception I asked if I can wear a western-style wedding dress (to include both traditions) and she is fine with it as long as it’s not white. I chose a beige gown but now I wonder if I should have invited her to come look at it before paying a non-refundable deposit. At the time Fiance recommended to just buy it, since I love it and it does follow her guidline of not being white. I am worried she won’t like the colour as it is still quite pale. These issues keep me up at night!!

I have thought about having a separate Christian ceremony in order for my family to be more involved (i.e. my sister would love to be my maid of honour) but I would prefer one fusion event – it seems weird to have a separate “white” ceremony especially since I’m not particularly religious. In the end I am so happy to marry my Fiance who I love very much and I think the wedding will be beautiful. It is just hard to know how to navigate the wedding planning. Any advice would be so appreciated!

Post # 5
Member
37 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2017

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rosabelle :  Oh wow, your Mother-In-Law sounds quite traditional. Definitely do not pierce your nose if this is something you don’t want (I have tons of friends who are Indian and this is definitely not a required thing for any of us- some people like for the bride to wear a large nosering on the wedding day but they now have clip in ones or skip this all together!). I have also never heard of the bride not having a say in her own wedding dress (this is what it was like in my parents generation but not our own). I am sure your beige dress is lovely. I actually chose a very pale gold dress for my reception, which my parents and fiance loved but my Mother-In-Law was not thrilled with (thought it looked too close to white) but I got it anyway because- objectively it is not white and everyone else including myself loved it. So I would stand your ground as far as your beige dress goes ;). I would talk to your fiance about which parts of the planning you are uncomfortable with and expect him to stand up for you being able to take part in the portions that are important to you. I agree with your friend’s advice about letting your fiance talk to her rather than confronting her yourself- but definitely would encourage you to stand up for your independence and individuality in this process. I would hate for this to set a precedent for her to feel that she can continue to make decisions for you/your husband in the future. Some of the things you have said about your Mother-In-Law make me sad. That was the type of culture my parents and grandparents were raised in and lived in when they were in India- and I’m forever grateful to my parents for integrating a Western way of thinking in raising me and expect no different from my in laws.

Post # 6
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

Thank you! It’s reassuring to know that the nose ring isn’t an integral part of the ceremony. Fiance suggested just waiting to see if she mentions it again and then politely letting her know I’d prefer not to, but I worry she may buy the ring before then. Thanks for the encouragement about the dress as well! I think she might have preferred if I asked her opinion about it before buying, but she hasn’t said anything. She just asked what jewellry I am planning to wear with it and said pearls or diamonds would be best. 

My mother would like to be more involved in the planning as well but it’s harder because she doesn’t live in the same city as FI’s family and I. She sent a message to Mother-In-Law wanting to share her decorating ideas for the reception (which my mom and I have been talking about; she offered to make the centerpieces for us) and left her phone number as well … I hope this doesn’t lead to any communication problems (talking in person is so much easier than via messaging). They have only met each other once and I fear misscommunication and hurt feels are a possibility!

Post # 7
Member
367 posts
Helper bee

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rosabelle :  Oh wow you are very accomodating and too nice. I’m asian and was raised to respect elders and all which I do but I wouldn’t do half the things you are doing. Yes it is nice to compromise on certain things to keep peace and be happy with family but you should not let others control your life or your wedding completely ๐Ÿ˜€  i would suggest standing your ground for the nose piercing – you dont want it you dont have to do. You can let her know nicely that you are not comfortable. Let your fiance talk to her if needed. I would be so upset if I didnt get to choose my colors and my center pieces lol I’ll be fine if she chooses the menu heheheh Just because they are paying, you do not have to feel obligated to do everything she wants, it’s cultural in asian culture for parents to pay for wedding(Please dont get me wrong – I dont expect anything from anyone , it’s different if they want to ) but that does not mean Bride and Groom have no say, may be that used to happen in olden days. you definitely do not need to take her to choose your dress, you like it thats great! She had 1 condition that it not be white which you complied. Please dont lose sleep over these. Enjoy it and dont be afraid to ask for things that you wish – at the most she will say no. Just as you want to keep her happy, I’m sure she wants to keep you happy. If you feel your family is left out and you would like your sister to be your Maid/Matron of Honor you should def. ask your Future Mother-In-Law. If I were you, I would not ask, I would let her know ๐Ÿ™‚ and I would also let her know that I would come with her to choose my dress ๐Ÿ™‚ hehehe after all it’s my wedding. Good Luck!

Post # 8
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

Thank you! We have talked and things are much better ๐Ÿ™‚ My mother will be moving closer so I’m excited for her to be here. I do love his family and I’m not going to obsess about these things anymore. I think with more communication everything will be better! You are right that her traditions are important to her but she also wants me to be happy. We will look for a dress together and my two sisters will be more involved too.

Post # 9
Member
130 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

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rosabelle :  chiming in late, and I’m glad to see things are improving with the Future Mother-In-Law. I am Indian-American, and I really hope you set boundaries with her early.  I’m fortunate that my parents have a more modern mindset about the traditional mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship, but even at its most modern, the core of Indian values is respect to elders.  This makes setting boundaries or voicing your needs very difficult at times.

FWIW, I’m doing two ceremonies.  One day is traditional Indian, next day is Western (non religious) because my fiance is not Indian.  I made it clear to my parents that we were honoring BOTH traditions or neither.

Post # 11
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

Thank you both for the support! It is so helpful to hear from Indian brides about these issues. Personally I am the kind of person who does not like to cause conflict or offend anyone and it has been tricky when cultural differences that I don’t understand come up. I had considered two ceremonies but I don’t want to encourage a split in our guests (I.e. white people attending the Christian ceremony only and Indian guests going to the Hindu one). We would invite them to both (all the close friends/family anyways) but I worried it would still work out that way because attending both might be challenging for people’s schedules. My family is excited to come to a traditional Hindu ceremony since it is new for them and fun to learn about a different culture. I hope they feel included and represented as well – I think it will be okay. I’m feeling a lot better about the planning than when I first posted here. I’ve gotten to choose the venue, photographer, and my reception dress … my sister will co-MC the reception with someone from fiance’s side. Mother-In-Law has shown me what she has in mind for ceremony clothes and I’m good with everything so far (nose piercing hasn’t come up again but I’m ready to politely decline if it does ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m feeling really excited.

Post # 13
Member
430 posts
Helper bee

Thank you for the tips!!

We have discussed playing half Indian and half American music; I will be sure to remind when the time comes! We are planning to make a list of songs to include. Things aren’t set yet for catering so I’ll keep that in mind as well. I was thinking the same thing about makeup – that I’d be more comfortable choosing for myself – but Mother-In-Law has a friend who is studying at a local makeup school and her price was hard to turn down. I hope the makeup artist will be on board with toning it down for me (I normally wear minimal makeup and I’m also worried heavier makeup would look extra overdone with my very fair skin). I am planning to see my usual stylist for hair. Maybe I can set up a trial with the makeup artist so I know what to expect …

Post # 15
Member
42 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: July 2017

Can I chime in and ask a question regarding Indian wedding make-up? Here’s my dilemma.

I am white, married to an Indian man and my inlaws are organizing a giant wedding reception in India next spring. My Mother-In-Law (with my input) is getting clothes for the different events made, which are quite a bit brighter colored than what I usually wear and I’m wondering what to do about make-up. I’m a no make-up girl in normal life and I went with minimal make-up for our western style wedding last year. I wore semi-sheer foundation, mascara, blush, and a natural lip color. I don’t think that will be enough for Indian style wedding festivities.

I haven’t talked about it with my Mother-In-Law yet, so I’m not even sure if she’s planning to hire someone for make-up but I’m planning tell her that I don’t feel capable to pull off an Indian make-up look by myself. If she decides to hire someone to do it, I’m planning on asking her to make sure it’s someone who has worked on white people before. I’m a bit afraid I will feel overwhelmed by full-on Indian make-up and would like to find a compromise between my usual look and doing justice to the beautiful clothes. Any advise? Comments?

I’m also looking for tips and resources on what products buy on my own, in case I will do my own make-up. I’ve been googling pictures and tutorials of of Indian wedding make-up but all the pictures I can find seem very photo shopped or otherwise over the top. Do you think I could get away with wearing a brighter lipstick, eyeliner, mascara and blush? Eye shadow intimidates me a bit.

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