Monday, April 4, 2011

Sari stuff

I wanted to write a post about the issues we have been having organising our wedding. I wanted to laugh it off with a "oh aren't cultural differences funny" but it doesn't feel funny yet.

We are both the eldest children in our families. I feel like the weight of both families expectations are pressing on us as we try to come up with compromises which allows for the important aspects of both our cultures. Meshing together Hindu and Christian traditions was pretty much out of the question so eventually we just had to go with a Hindu ceremony. The friction  of all that compromise is still rubbing a little raw.

The biggest misunderstanding so far has been about the sari. I am not really the kind of girl who dreamt about a white dress wedding dress. I would have been happy with anything simple but coming from a family with five girls there was one ritual that was really important to me. I always pictured myself choosing my dress WITH my mum and my sisters. It is something we had spoken about many times and it was really the only part of the whole wedding thing that i wasn't willing to give up.

I was happy to trade a white dress for a red sari. I didn't mind swapping a church for a temple. I could even give up a roast dinner for dal bhaat at the party but i wanted my mum and sisters there to choose my clothes. Mero Budda and I had a long conversation about it and he explained it to his mother. She was a little concerned, I understand the grooms mum usually pays for the wedding sari. We told her she could still pay if she wanted to but we HAD to wait for my mum before we got the Sari.

I thought we understood each other. Everyone seemed fine with the arrangement. i am not sure what went wrong. A few days later when we (Budda's mother and I) went to look for kuta fabric and i found myself being presented with two red saris. One was terribly heavy and covered in every kind of shimmery, sparkly bead, sequin and light reflecting object ever created. The other one was a little less glittery.

No one is the shop seemed to understand English or my reluctant to look at saris. I tried to explain I can't choose yet. Everyone was smiles and nods. I had no balance on my phone to call Mero Budda. After a lot of gestures and head shaking i thought we reached an understanding again. Finally the saris were taken away.

The next time we visited I was presented with a new red sari. I am ashamed to say I burst into tears. I went to my bedroom and had a good cry. The stress of months of not being able to communicate, being away from my family, of having to wear a sari that look kind of like a disco ball, finally got to me.

I know it is just clothes. It isn't important what i wear, it is important that we are getting married.... but I can't get that experience back. I am never going to pick my wedding dress with my mum and sisters now. I wasn't sad just for me but also for my mum. She has been really understanding and accepting. She adjusted to the fact i live on the other side of the world and chose to have a Hindu wedding rather than a Christan. I know she would have liked to be with me to pick my dress.

 Anyway I probably I am being childish, actually I am sure i am. I just hope I am not turning into a Bridezilla.

video from youtube


  1. I am sorry we didnt have that experience too Amanda but I am so proud of you and the step you have taken and so pleased that you could never be mistaken for a bridezilla throughout the whole process. It was an amazing experience for us all....

  2. I really hated shopping for dresses in Indian shops...and that was in the US where everyone spoke English! One shop in particular was so high-pressure that I almost cried in the middle of it. Then my MIL went to India with pictures of dresses I liked...and proudly told me that she got exactly what I wanted. Well...not quite. The wedding dress (it was a lengha chole rather than a sari) was really quite beautiful, but she had gotten my hopes up that it would be the more simple style I had asked for (no luck -- but at least the dress did look really great). The reception dress was shapeless (I had really liked the cut of the dress in the picture I gave her), and I hated the color of the skirt. I definitely struggled with feeling ridiculous for caring so much...but I think that especially when things become high-pressure and you don't feel heard (either figuratively or literally, with language barriers), it's not a "bridezilla" thing to have a little breakdown.

    I think it's particularly hard when you settle on the few things that you're not going to compromise (and that there's no good reason to compromise)...and then those things are whisked away without much thought or respect for how much they matter to you. And I know I would have been really upset at having my mom left out of things...and although it was different for me (my mom died when I was a teen), I know it was really hard to do all the wedding prep things without her.