questions? Ask the Bridal Aunty!
BA is a combination of your favourite aunt
and a desi Emily Post. Here, she has
some straight and not-so-straight answers to all those big day qs!
Q. My BFF is
getting married and with three weeks to go, she`s turning into a classic
Bridezilla. She wants her bridesmaids to wear hideous outfits (in puce, mind you!), she wants some
`friends` not to be in the group photos, she wants us to ensure her ex-boyfriend
doesn`t meet her in-laws or her new husband. All this is putting way too much
pressure on us. Help!
A. Others would
recommend you shirtfront your BFF and give her a talking-to. I won`t. I would
just ask you to suck it up, remember why exactly she is your BFF, and just be
there, in puce if need be, on D Day. You can get your own back on your wedding
Q. I`m marrying
my boyfriend of four years next weekend. The problem is that his family believe
in major show-shah, mine doesn`t. They want the standard big fat Indian
wedding, I’d rather elope than go through with dressing up in matching colours
with my bridegroom, and doing a synchronised first dance the moment the band
strikes…in any case, I have two left feet. How do I get him to ensure we have a
classy, pared-down wedding? It`s my big day and I want it the way I want it!
A. This one calls
for a serious tete-a-tete with your bridegroom. Both of you need to talk, then
to listen. If he will stand up to his family (this early in the day), well and
good. If not, compromise. Adjust. Do some things the way they want it, get them
to do some things the way you want it. And hold onto this thought: it`s just a
day or three. This too shall pass.
Q. it`s my
mother! I`m getting married in a month`s time and she wants me to go what she
calls the traditional route and what I call the jewellery store route: seven
chains of differing lengths and 24 bangles…yes, you read right, 24… on each wrist.
The way I see it, if I am to sponsor jewellery stores in such a blatant manner,
I might as well go and model for them. Do I persuade my fiancée to run away
with me instead?
A. The litmus
test here, I have found, is what your fiancé has to say about your bling
extravanganza. Because your mother is just doing what she thinks will
impress/please your in-laws. Get your man to sound his parents out on this one,
and go with that. With a caveat, though: pare it down a bit, as much as you can
possibly manage pleasantly. Remember, keep things pleasant. Twenty-four bangles
is not worth rifts in this lute.
Q. Our only child
is getting married soon and I want to personally design a tasteful wedding card
for him. Is it really necessary that I put in the `antecedents` line in the
card: grandson of so- and -so and such- and- such, etc? He loves his
grandparents, they love him but should that love be expressed via the card?
A. Put yourself
in their place. How would you feel? If
you are sure they won`t feel bad, go ahead and keep the text on the card short
and simple. When in doubt though, go with that extra line or two. It could make
all the difference.
Q. My son is
getting married and my alcoholic brother-in-law is coming all the way from Dubai
for the events. The man generally drinks way too much and create scenes at
ordinary times; I’m sure there will be dreadful (unwanted) drama at the
wedding. What do I do, I`m quite driven to despair at the very thought of an
A. Keep calm and
pour yourself a glass of wine! Seriously though, you need a wingman or
wingwoman for this. Designate an individual or two whose sole duty will be to
keep the b-i-l occupied, entertained and as far away from the centre of the
wedding as possible. Also, do drop in a word about his proclivities to your son`s
in-laws but keep your tone light. Remember, every family has one of these.
Q. I`m the bride
to be and really excited about my upcoming wedding. Only, my parents live separately
and are barely polite to each other. I adore them both and want them to be part
of the festivities, but a convivial
part. How do I go about this?
A. You need to
talk separately to both of them, tell them what you have told me, and ask them
to strive for some conviviality for just the wedding. For your sake. I`m sure
they will be happy to oblige.
Q. I had a best friend
who is no longer any friend at all, after a bitter fall-out last year. But I do
so want her to attend my son`s wedding. Shall I risk a snub and send her an
invite? If she does attend, how do I and my family behave? Like nothing
A. Follow your
gut instinct on this one: send her an invite if you really really want to. If
she comes, be most gracious and cordial. Only, this may be a one-off gesture
from her, so don`t peg your expectations too high.
Q. My daughter is
getting married outside her community and there will be a host of events:
church, temple, Christian and Hindu rites. We are not rolling in it, and things
could go far better if the other side agreed to split expenses. Except, they haven`t
offered. Does one broach the topic oneself?
A. Most families
are practical about this and agree beforehand to split expenses. There is
absolutely no harm if your side broaches the topic. Maybe your daughter can
gauge how her in-laws stand on this. Once she reverts, you can either go for it
or drop the idea.
Q. My husband
doesn’t know the meaning of the word delegate and I’m worried he`ll run himself
ragged on our daughter`s wedding day, micromanaging a zillion little and big
things. How do I get him to calm down and well, delegate?
A. No point
talking to him, men being from Mars and all that. If I were you, I`d let things
be. He will do what he wants to do. If he feels he cannot, he will abruptly delegate.
Trust me on this. Men are like that.
Q. Can we replace
the traditional thank-you notes to all wedding attendees with small return
A. Yes you can…if
you attach a small thank-you note to the gifts.
Q. My soon-to-be husband
is the sporting kind and wants to go on an adventure holiday honeymoon. Me, I’d
rather trawl Paris or Venice. How do we get on the same trip page?
A. Toss for it.
No, what you need to do is, split the honeymoon into two parts so both of you
will be sure of a good time. Or else, indulge him now and do Paris/Venice later,
the soonest both of you can get away.
Q. I’m watching as
my parents are mounting what must rate as the loveliest wedding ever for me,
next month. How one earth can I ever thank them for all they are doing?
A. Old but true cliché:
parents derive much happiness doing all they can do at this time. However, you
can always treat them to a weekend break after the wedding, someplace they like
Q. I’m a couple
of weeks shy of my wedding and I’m already sick and tired of the prep! If I
have to see the insides of another shop or showroom, I will scream. Everything and
everyone bar my fiancée, thankfully, is getting on my nerves big time. Do I
need to fill out a prescription for Valium?
A. You need to
calm down, girl. Take some time out from the prep, tell all your near and dear
ones to take a break, too. Recharge, then dive back telling yourself that it
will all go off like a dream … if you put in some effort. Hold onto the first
part of that sentence, though: it will all go off.
Q. I’ve heard of Bridezillas. Is there any such creature as the
Momzilla? Because my mom is trying to like, take over the wedding. My wedding.
We have to wear what she thinks is right, the food has to be her choice, she`s
even vetting my guest list! I love her but I need to find a way of telling her
to er, butt out. How do I do that?
A. Alas, some moms just don`t know when to let go. You need
to handle this with tact. Sit her down, tell her it`s your big day and you have
definite ideas on each and every thing. Show her your blueprint for your own
wedding (quick, make one!). Clincher: tell her that`s how your fiancé and you
want things. Be kind but be firm.
One List Fits All?
help you tackle and face down the dilemma of making a guest list that pleases everyone.
It has to be said. Many
a fraught temper has clashed, frayed and been lost at what is actually the
frontier of wedding planning: the invitation list. It`s pretty much like three
countries are sitting at the table for a tripartite pact. Three countries, you
ask. Well yes, there is the couple about to enter holy matrimony, there are his
parents and there are her parents. A fair amount of realpolitik, economics,
social manipulation and diplomacy is
What has to be
factored in is whether the young couple`s wish for a compact list, thereby leading
to a compact number of guests, can be
honoured under the circs, the circs being that their parents are paying for the
wedding, as is mostly the case in India. If the betrothed pair want a list
comprising just their friends, they can forget it because usually the parents`
list include a zillion near, far and farthest kith and kin, as well as their
bosses, work colleagues, people they feel
they are obliged to invite, and suchlike.
Another point that usually
sticks in the craw of all present is the number of guests both sides want to
invite. If one side manages a neat acceptable round figure, the other ups the
ante by insisting they need to add at least 50 more names to their list, simply
because their family circle is huge.
That hurdle was just
the first, there are many pitfalls ahead. Like the groom`s aunt who insulted
the bride when she first met the girl; does she really have to be invited? Like when the groom`s uncle happens to be a
close friend of the bride`s father but absolutely loathed by the groom`s mother…
yes, it happens. Like when uncle Babu has to be called but no one can remember
what his current wife`s name is.
So, how exactly does
one go about making that One List that fits all expectations and keeps everyone
happy? Well, for one, settle on a certain
number, divide it by three, and decide
that all three parties can and must invite only that number of people. Of
course, the bridal couple gets to add more names to that list if they
That first list
should be a rough one…edit, edit and
edit it till it reaches the right proportions. The economics of the
situation has to be considered: the chairs at the venue, number of plates of food, the drinks, strings
of flowers, limes, the return gifts and all the rest of it. Oh, and car parking
space, too while we are at it.
Make a must- invite list, then a should- invite list, and finally, a could- invite list . As the date nears and people RSVP, you will get a clearer
idea of how many people will attend, and can therefore move some names from the
B list to the A one, from the C list to the B one. Usually up to 10 per cent of
those invited will not be able to attend for various reasons.
Be tactful but firm. Clearly write out the names on the
invitation. If people call to ask if they can bring their cousins, kids and
in-laws along, tell them regretfully that the caterers have been given a
certain number and it`s too late to make changes. Worse comes to worst, you can
always blame your obdurate future ma-in-law, irascible caterer or inflexible
Factor in the size of
the venue and trim the list accordingly. A crush is not the best way to have a
wedding. Times have changed and now you can expect your single friends to come
as they are…singly, we mean. Where former boyfriends and girlfriends are
concerned, just three words: don`t call them. It may well and truly be over
between the two of you but it might make your new spouse very uncomfortable.
Your boss of course you must call, unless you loathe him or her but you don’t
need to call all your coworkers, only
those you hang out with. Facebook
friends? Really? People known to create scenes, drink too much, squabble with
perfect strangers? No. Ideally, children should not be dragged to weddings
unless they are your flower girls, ring bearer boys, thalam girls, or your family. However, try telling that to people
here in India! So, with this one, you might just have to grin and bear it.
One litmus test is if you have to think
hard on whether to invite someone , don`t.
Finally, remember the
diplomacy bit. Hold onto your temper and stay
calm through the ordeal of making lists. If compromises are unavoidable,
compromise. Remember this is your big day and if smiling like a shark at a
handful of people you don’t know is part of the turf, then you will do it. With
grace and charm. And courtesy, lots of it.