How to get married and remain sane through it

“Here’s inviting you to the happiest day of my life!” began the invite that I had sent to all of my friends for my wedding about two months ago. Two months later, when I look back at that day now, all I can recall is being dragged from one place to another like a puppet on a string, a lot of impatient sitting and waiting, and smiling till my face ached. How it could ever be the happiest day of my life when it involved remaining hungry and sleepy the whole day I am yet to work out. Two months, I tell you, and it is yet to sink in: I got married. And laughable though it may sound, I gathered a few pointers in the way that I am willing to pass on to prospective brides and grooms. Yes, free of cost too. But before I move on, let’s just accept the fact that while “wedding plans” make a woman light up like a Christmas tree, it is enough to make a man run the other way as fast as his legs can carry him. So let’s just keep this simple and ask the men to humor me while I continue with this funda-baazi? The women can soak this up all they want to. Alright, moving on.

First bit of advice: Plan, don’t just dream.

I know brides and dreamy sound synonymous, but from my experience, it is best to utilize your time a little, well, productively. Before one gets overwhelmed with things like wedding shopping and venue decorations, it is best to take some time to figure out what is it that one really wants. And I mean it for the men, too. Saving your wedding shopping for the last minute isn’t going to help any, folks! Women normally have a vision of how they want to look, so looking around a little, going through photos of other brides and stuff will help them to decide on what they want and more importantly, on what they don’t want. I suggest going through different shades and colour schemes before going out for shopping to save time and confusion. You might want to keep your eyes open and do a bit of window shopping before you actually buy something. Sometimes it might so happen that you chance upon the exact thing you want without even having to look for it. I took all of half an hour to complete my wedding trousseau shopping, almost five months before the wedding, because I always knew what I wanted. I had also gone over a lot of lipstick and eye shadow swatches, but word of advice: Swatches on the internet never match the actual ones.

Gist of this? You’re inviting confusion if you land up in a shop waiting to find something that you like without knowing what you want. It is a universally known fact that the lights in all shops are only to trick you into liking everything that is placed under them.

Second bit of advice: Don’t be a control freak. In fact, don’t even try.

Myth: It is *your* wedding. Everything will be the way you want it to be.

Reality: It is your wedding. But most of the things will *not* be the way you want them to be.

Harsh, I know. But fact is fact. Dream and plan and dream some more, but on that day, absolutely nothing is in your hands. The sooner you accept it, the better it will be for you. Take this from a wedding obsessed insomniac who spent all of her days and nights doing “research” trying to plan out the perfect wedding. Starting from the way you want to look to the way you want the wedding venue to look, be prepared to be satisfied with just a vague similarity to what you wanted. There are two “technical” reasons for this: the people involved with wedding stuff (caterers, beauticians, decorators) will always remind you that while this is your first wedding, it is their umpteenth so ahem, they do know better and you should let them handle things. Secondly, details and visions almost always get lost in translation from one mind to the other. So while you think you got your picture across and the people in charge think they got your picture right, it might not be the same picture after all.

Also, one must take into consideration last minute changes due to unseen factors. I remember being late for one of my own rituals because we hadn’t considered the Bijoya Dashami crowd and the blocked roads while planning the event. I spent almost half an hour decked up and sitting at home while guests started arriving at the wedding hall, by-passing road blocks whichever way they could.

All practicality aside, one must also keep in mind the emotions and sentiments, and boy are there many! Statements like “Won’t you even let us plan your wedding? You do everything else your way anyway” and “We want only the best for you! After this you can do anything you want” are not uncommon after all. My advice? Let go. Just let go. And go with the flow. So while it is good to have a plan and a vision about how you want your wedding to be, it is also a good idea to keep expectations low. Added advantage to letting go is not having to worry about anything because all the other people will be doing the worrying! So while I had scurried about the place in high heels during my sister’s wedding taking care of responsibilities, I had breezed through my own wedding smiling and gushing and blushing because I had nothing to take care of, really.

Third bit of advice: Don’t wait for the mythical epiphany, that “one moment” when everything in your life changes.

Yeah, sorry to break that bubble too. But chances of the wedding getting over before you even get the hang of it are high. A common mistake that people make is to focus on the wedding, rather than on the marriage. A wedding is just one insane day of extravagance, while a marriage is for life. All I can remember from my wedding is that the room was completely filled up with smoke and it was extremely hot, being wrapped in yards of silk that I was. Before I could figure out a way to beat all of it, the priests announced that the wedding was over. And like I mentioned before, I am still waiting for that moment when I suddenly wake up to the fact that I got married. Marriage is a process, punctuated by moments when you realize those tiny little changes in your life. You marvel in them and you get emotional, and you hold on to them. And marriage is a little like adding those moments throughout your life and coming up with something greater than the sum of its parts. The wedding is just the beginning. If you don’t let it overwhelm you, it is just the one day when you are the centre of attraction and have people fussing over you. Believe me, all that fades away faster than you can say “wedding”. What remains is a brand new spouse you have to get the hang of, all by yourself.

Last bit of advice: Don’t take my advice.

Then why this hullabaloo to make a moot point, you may ask. Well, let’s just face it. A wedding is a very personal experience and while a lot has been said and will be said for times to come, fact remains that the way you feel about it is purely yours. It is good to have pointers, but in the end, everything that you have read just now will fly out the window, and all that will remain is a blank canvas which will be filled up with snapshots of your own. That embarrassing moment when you were caught on camera trying to sneak a bite of that chocolate. That awkward moment when you didn’t recognize the distant cousin of yours you had met as a kid. The warmest hug you could ever imagine your high school teacher gave you. The long awaited “group photos” with your closest friends all together. The family photo you finally got after waiting for half an hour for everybody to be at the same place at the same time between all the running around. And if you are me, then the blessed meal of boiled rice and potatoes at two-thirty in the morning that you and your mother shared after remaining hungry the whole day long in the process of getting married.

All said and done, I will quote my husband here, “But come on, it is not that bad!” A wedding is the most beautiful thing one could come up with. Gather all your closest friends, invite everyone to eat, drink and make merry, and see the happiness surrounding you. Take a chance to deck up (and in case of men, “groom” up) and be the prettiest (again, the handsomest). Be a bundle of emotions, laugh and cry at the same time if you feel like, and there will always be someone to hold your hand through it. And in the end, begin a symbolic new life with the person destined to be yours for “till death do you apart”. Relax, let go and try not to think too much about too many things at the same time, and it will all be beautiful. It always is.

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