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14th August 2023
Growing up, I adored those Indian movie endings – the ones with the enchanting “happily ever after” weddings, where everyone basked in pure happiness. Little did I know that behind those romantic fantasy scenes, a complex journey awaited, especially for South-Asian grooms like us.
As we dig into how South-Asian grooms handle their well-being amidst wedding preparations – beyond the calming meditations, self-care spa sessions, and taking care of our brides – it’s evident that our role has evolved over the years.
Here, I’ll share some practical tips for grooms to navigate tradition, cultural expectations, and the emotional rollercoaster, all while being the pillar of support your partners need.
In a world where wedding planning is a mix of joy and challenges, your unwavering support makes all the difference. Recognising your role’s significance strengthens your bond and sets the stage for a smoother and more enjoyable experience. Recently, a friend shared how a couple’s dialogue during wedding planning shapes their ability to weather the storms of marriage. While it may seem ideal to avoid arguments at this stage, the reality is different. Family differences may arise, and the bride might feel pressured to fit into the groom’s family.
Wedding planning is a joint effort, and your active participation matters greatly. From making decisions to providing practical assistance, your contributions ease burdens and reinforce your commitment. Communication is key – start an open dialogue with your bride about her vision and concerns right from the beginning. Being candid about challenges fosters empathy and establishes a united approach. Your involvement goes beyond the surface – by sharing responsibilities, you underline your dedication and the depth of your partnership.
I don’t want to be a party pooper- but… If you haven’t experienced south Asian marriages “behind-the-scene” then one of the biggest and most challenging conversation that you will have is “money money money”. Budgeting, going over-budget, giving and taking, clothes costing, venue, DJ, and much more. Asian weddings do cost and as a couple if this conversation is not established between the two of you, it can create much disagreements as the planning happens.
This conversation will take place first between couples, then with both sides of the family. By having this conversation and discussing how you will both handle over-budget situations, you can save yourselves a lot of stress. Be realistic with each other; finances can trigger discomfort, especially among women. As a groom, I encourage you to be patient, listen to the discomfort, consider their difficulties, and approach these conversations calmly and reasonably. Don’t be a saviour and “take care of it” – discussing is vital during this period. Set aside time to sit down and go through your decisions, what are essentials, negotiables, and non-negotiables. Mastering this conversation requires patience, calmness, and consideration.
South-Asian weddings are rich with cultural heritage, demanding a delicate balance between tradition and personal dreams. Navigating this path requires finesse and sensitivity. Engage in open conversations with both families, grounded in respect and understanding, to make effective decisions. Extended family members, who play a significant role in these celebrations, bring diverse perspectives. While embracing their presence and weaving unity into your wedding’s fabric is important, it can be tricky, especially when they come from different generations. It’s tempting to leave matters to others, but at times, you might need to voice your viewpoint.
Mastery of cultural traditions enhances the experience. Familiarise yourself with rituals, participate wholeheartedly; when you understand the rituals and traditions, it may be easier to discuss and find the balance between uniting families and embracing your values and desires is crucial.
Remember, it’s your wedding, too.
Communication, a cornerstone of any successful relationship, becomes even more vital during wedding planning. Transparent communication with your partner acts as a lifeline, helping both of you address stressors and concerns as a team. Remember, there will be moments in your marriage where delegating tasks, setting boundaries, and making adjustments become necessary.
Engage in heartfelt conversations with your bride. Creating a safe space for sharing concerns, visions, and emotions lays a solid foundation for tackling challenges together, even before the planning begins. One useful approach is setting aside a designated time for discussing potential obstacles. These conversations might feel awkward, and there’s the fear of what might happen if we can’t agree. Yet, acknowledging differences is essential, and dedicating time to these discussions with established rules can help manage emotions and judgments. Actively listening to her aspirations and worries nurtures a sense of partnership, alleviating anxieties on both sides. Allocate specific moments for wedding discussions, utilising shared calendars or apps to streamline the process – like Eternity UK!
Remember, effective communication involves both sharing and listening – your perspective matters too. Strive for a balance between expressing your viewpoint and being open to understanding hers, creating a harmonious connection.
Amid the whirlwind of wedding preparations, your well-being should take centre stage. Stress management and self-care are your armour, enabling you to be a rock-solid support for your bride. Implement self-care practices that rejuvenate your spirit beyond the usual indulgences. How about finding a mental escape that doesn’t involve partying or noisy places? Explore hobbies that allow you to slow down and process the wedding’s hustle and bustle. Managing stress and concerns is essential, and acknowledging your emotions around them is vital, to find the words you need to express your concerns or find different answers. In the past, professional commitments might have been considered the “managing stress” distractions, but they can also be energetically draining.
Processing calmly restores energy and relieves the mind by offering possible solution to the question “how am I going to talk about this”, no complex situation has ever been successful in times of stress, so find calming moments, maybe a quiet walk? Striking a balance between personal and professional commitments ensures a well-rounded approach. Prioritising your well-being is an act of self-love and a testament to your potential to nurture a fulfilling partnership.
Surround yourself with people who lend a listening ear, ready to be your sounding board. Sometimes, seeking a third person’s perspective – someone who won’t take sides – can be invaluable. The intricate tapestry of wedding planning becomes more resilient with the threads of family and friends. You might worry that expressing a view or judgment could be misunderstood. Cultivate a support system that uplifts both you and your bride. When you feel stuck, remember that overthinking might not hold the solution. Lean on your best man for insights, guidance, and assistance. Their wisdom can make a significant difference in managing family matters, budgeting, and shared experiences, as they bring a perspective untangled from emotional ties.
Keep dating, keep courting – continue making moments enjoyable together. But remember, don’t turn these moments into a “saviour” role. Marriage encompasses far more than the wedding day; it’s about the journey you embark on before and after. It’s in the lows you overcome and the highs you celebrate, along with every moment in between. As you navigate the complexities of wedding planning, remember that you’re not only creating a celebration – you’re laying the foundation for a lifetime filled with shared dreams, challenges, and love.
In closing, remember that while wedding planning might be overwhelming at times, it’s a labor of love that ultimately strengthens the bond between you and your partner. By embracing your role, communicating openly, prioritising well-being, and seeking support, you’re not just preparing for a wedding – you’re setting the stage for a beautiful journey ahead.
*all images via Pinterest.
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