This time she tackles the problems
that unwittingly arise from those around the bridal couple.
Q. I`m getting married in two months` time. Everything
should be fine and dandy but is not because my mother has very recently walked
out on Dad and the family home, and things are in a turmoil. The two of them
are engaged in an acrimonious never-ending squabble about everything and
anything. How do I ensure my D-Day goes off smoothly, it looks impossible at
A. I am so sorry this had to happen at all, leave alone
the undeniable fact that it is bad timing. Do you feel they will not rise above
their situation and give you wedding day
of your life? My I suggest that your
fiancé and take over as much of the wedding preparations as you possibly can?
Then, take both your parents out, together or separately, for a quiet meal, put
all the facts down on the table and plead for their understanding and maturity.
Q. Okay I will come straight to the point. My younger
brother is gay and only the immediate family knows. Mine is an arranged
marriage, and I’m happy with that, but
how does one handle this so-called skeleton in the cupboard?
A. Arranged marriage or not, your fiancée needs to
know. She can then take a call whether to tell her people about it. As long as
your brother does not show up with a partner for the event (not this early in
your marriage) I think you can keep things on a need- to- know basis.
Q. I absolutely loathe my stepmother but I do love my
father and so, will have to call his second wife to my wedding. It’s going to
cause ripples in my mother`s family because they still harbour resentment
against Dad. How do I go ahead and have a joyful wedding day?
A. Ah, the perils of a modern family. You can do the
polite segregation thing here: ensure your father and his wife are seated a
respectable distance away from your mother`s family. Limit your interaction
with your stepmother, easy given that you are the bride. Get a wingman or wingwoman
to shepherd them to the lunch table, and see them off later.
Q. My elder brother is in rehab. Well, he is usually in
and out of rehab most of the time. He is my only brother and we used to be very
close but nowadays his behaviour can be both embarrassing and erratic. My
fiancée seems okay about the situation but her family can be a little uppity. Will
it be awkward if I tell my family that he doesn’t need to attend the functions?
A. Well, it is
your wedding. You get to decide who you want there and who you don’t want. Your
brother might feel upset about your decision, so do make a note to go sit with him and explain matters
at a later date.
Q. I’m doing what the snobs call marrying below my
station. My parents are throwing a reception for us in a very posh resort and
already there is carping about how my in-laws will probably appear dressed down.
Honestly I don’t care, they are
basically nice people and my fiancée is a wonderful girl. But how do I keep my
sniping family from verbally attacking those poor souls?
A. Surely all of your family can’t be insufferable
snobs? Go find two or three of the nicer lot, across generations, tell them
they are in charge of welcoming your in-laws, attending to them at the
reception and generally seeing to it that they have a good time. This of course
includes staving off bad behavior form those likely to behave badly.
Q. This is straight out of the ads! I’m marrying into a
very traditional family from another community,
my mother is required to wear the sari and my father, the headgear of
the community. They refuse to! What on earth do I do?
A. I’m presuming you tried taking, cajoling, coaxing, bursting
into tears? All of it didn’t work? Then I’m sorry but you just will have to
tell your in-laws how it is, and they will have to make adjustments.
That small, tight team of people you
have acting as host/buffer/chauffeur/bouncer/ general dogsbody? You couldn’t
have a proper wedding without them, avers SHEILA KUMAR
America, they call them wingmen. This is aircraft terminology for a pilot whose aircraft is positioned behind and outside the
leading aircraft in a formation. Translated to wedding terminology, these are
people who have the backs of either the bride, the groom or both!
This team is like a flash mob. They are
formed well before the wedding, given
some if not secret, definitely discreet duties. Sometimes, these duties are
done on the fly. At other times, they do what they have to do as and when an
unexpected situation arises. they are
expected to do unspecified tasks. The one thing common to all wingmen and women
is that they go about doing their jobs quietly, without any fuss, bless them.
Basically, they are the small but vital
cogs in the wedding machine.
So, have you got your team together yet?
· You will need one set of competent even expert drivers. These
are the Track Two lot who will always be on call, car keys in pocket, fuel
tanks brimming, vehicles parked at accessible spots just in case the
professional fleet of cars and chauffeurs suddenly plays truant, goes missing,
gets lost in the by-lanes they have been sent to, the vehicles develop problems
or some such crisis rears its head. Some of them are so good that they willy-nilly become the chosen ones
to ferry the bridal couple! I know of one bride who declined the ride to the
wedding venue in a gleaming Audi, insisting she would rather be ferried there
by `Uncle Bhaskar ` in his not too new but still gorgeous Mercedes!
· Sangeet and mehendi sessions go smooth as silk with wingwomen
casing the joint as it were. They quietly and efficiently see to it that the
queues for applying mehendi aren’t inordinately long; that even the most
bashful girl gets her turn at the dhol;
in case the bride and her immediate family is preoccupied, these girls step in
and welcome guests in the most heartwarming way; they man the music console or
if there`s a deejay in the house, they keep him/her on their toes; they
distribute the return gifts (and yes, they are the one who wrapped those little
gifts in the first place!); they find a safety pin, a brace of hair grips or a Disprin
should the need arise for any of those; they see to it that the candles are lit
and say lit all through the evening.
· Indian weddings being what they are, invariably some guests
are called for form`s sake; yet others have the potential to create trouble
either through nasty comments or well meaning awkward statements. Then there
are sets of relations who are not on the best of terms with others but have to come face to face at weddings of
someone both sets hold dear. This is when the wingmen and women come into play,
do a neat and most subtle job of segregation without offending anyone`s feelings,
see that no one is isolated or alone for the major part of the function, scoop
up monster children out on a wrecking spree and quickly distract them. They
divide the collection of money gifts, floral bouquets and packaged gifts, collecting
and keeping them away methodically.
· Another lot act as the bride or the groom`s multiple shadows.
The former`s wingwomen are the ones who, free of the task of dressing her or
layering her with jewels, instead keep a concerned eye out for her state of
body and mind, bring her a much needed tall cold glass of something to drink
just when she starts to feel dehydrated, hover near her when she’s greeting guests so
that a quick handkerchief (yes our modern-day wingwomen carry old- fashioned hankies!)
can be passed to discreetly wipe those beads of sweat away. The wingmen rally
around the groom and set the mood with a
lot of joshing and raillery, so that even if he contemplated it, there is no
question of feeling nervous. They adjust each other’s ties, liberally splash on
the groom`s cologne (wingman’s privileges!), and in one case, a wingman drove like
an F1 racer, ten kilometres back to the
groom`s house to pick up and bring the forgotten wedding ring!
They are really amazing, these wingmen
and women. I have seen them spray water at a reception when they noticed some
of the flowers were looking less than fresh. I have seen them ferry cartons of drinks
to the cocktail counter when they ran short. I have even seen a wingwoman
quickly give her strappy sandals to the bride when that unfortunate girl`s
fabulous heels got caught in a grate en route to the venue!
D-day is getting closer now and you
need a watertight Masterplan. SHEILA KUMAR offers some tips.
six months left for your wedding day to dawn, we are presuming you have the
main stuff well out of the way. Stuff like fixing the wedding date, the number
of functions, doing the rounds of venues before you decide on the final ones,
going over the financial end of things (unless it’s your parents who are
handling this end), choosing your wedding attire, settling on a menu, booking
the music people/deejay. Once this out of the way, you need to focus on the
smaller, finer details that go up to make a perfect wedding.
The wingman/woman list. See elsewhere in this issue for a piece
on the trusted team of wingpeople and just what they bring to your big day.
Draw up a list of essential duties for all the functions, then sit down with
the Wing team and assign those duties.
The guest list. This you will have to do with your
parents, siblings, fiancé and future in-laws., just so that the list is a
complete one. Don’t forget to include people who have been part of your life
but stand just outside the immediate circle: beloved teachers at school and
college, faithful domestic help, the postman, milkman and newspaper man. Most of them are not likely to
attend but it makes all the difference to them to get that invitation.
Flower power. We mean the people who will turn
your wedding venue into a floral fairyland. Not just the veue, the doli, sehra,
pandal, etc. Select the flowers of the season, settle on a colour scheme (the
blooms must not clash with what you and your bridegroom are wearing), ensure
they hang where they can be seen…too high or too low and it`s money down the
The wedding snapper. Interview some wedding
photographers and fix on one. Tell them just how the balance will stand: how many
candid camera snaps, how many official photos. Tell them if you don’t want
shots of you staring at the sky dreamily, or shots of your wedding guests
stuffing their face sat the table. Give them a list of all those who just have to feature in the snaps.
Save the date: Make an innovative, fun save- the- date video or e-card and send it
out online to everyone. Don’t overload info on these missives: have the date, time and venue stand out.
Colour coordinates. Talk clothing colour with your
fiancé, with your maids of honour, thalam girls, bridesmaids, etc. Be merciful and don’t ask the girls (or your
soon to be other half) to wear purple, florescent pink or flaming orange…unless
all of them are happy with that!
The honeymoon talk. Decide where the two of you want to
send your special get- to –know- each -other –better time. See that your
passports are travel-ready if you are planning to go abroad. Go meet your
travel agent and do the bookings. Book hotels and guided trips too, while you
are at it.
The pre-wedding counselling. Some communities have this as part
of the wedding run-up and we cannot recommend it enough. Marriage is not child`s
play, so having an expert talk to both of you can only help.
Card matters. Sit down with your parents and go
over the finer details of the wedding cards. The text, the colour scheme, the
trimmings. Remember less is more, less is more elegant too.
The wedding fleet. Find out if you can do anything to streamline
the transport decisions. Suggest how you want to arrive at the wedding venue, be
it a Rolls, a Merc, a horse or a buggy.
Gifts galore. This is something you need to do
discreetly, maybe with a sibling or friend in tow. Buy a host of small but meaningful
gifts for your parents, wedding attendants, wedding planner, domestic staff.
F & H. Select and book your hairstylist,
mehendi artiste, make- up person. It`s important to do a trial run of face and hair,
you have the time.
The final dress fitting. Take along a friend, and of course
your mother. Don’t get carried away. If there are changes you want, ask for
them firmly, politely. You are paying for an expensive dress, it has to fit and
look like a dream.
Sweets corner. Order all the mithai one will need
at home. There will be a steady stream of guests and mithai is the ideal and
festive item to serve.
Goody bags. Have welcome baskets put in the
rooms of all outstation guests.
all this is done, calm down. Stay calm. Everything is going to go smooth as
Labels: 6 days to the wedding, Bridal Aunty answers questions, bridal q and a, brides guide, The Hindu Bridal Book, wedding wingmen and wingwomen