Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
In 2015, my husband and I got married.
Before getting married, whenever we talked about our future and our wedding, we had a plan. A complete opposite plan to how it turned out in the end.
We were so sure how it was going to turn out, that the way it did turn out still surprises me to this day.
A dream wedding that never came true.
Our plan was to hold the wedding in our garden at home. We’d be surrounded by colourful flowers and have delicious food under the canopy of our house.
We envisioned a small, intimate affair, with just a few of our relatives and friends, people who we recognised and could have conversations other than small talk.
We decided to get married in June, since it was the time of the year that rained the least in Malaysia – perfect for our garden plans.
Maybe later, after our honeymoon in Maldives, we would have a wedding dinner party where we invite everyone to a big banquet hall and celebrate our union.
It was simple but that was our dream. However, it didn’t come true for us.
Our parents didn’t agree to our dream
I am the only daughter in my family, and my husband is the first one to get married in his family. So a simple wedding became a ‘NO’ in big red letters. It had to be a traditional Indian wedding.
We received various comments on our wedding plans from both sides. For example:
“You are too whitewashed.”
“You aren’t following the traditions.”
“What will the rest of the relatives think?”
“Are you guys eloping?”
Yes, we weren’t planning to have a traditional wedding. But how does that translate to, “You weren’t raised well?”
Before the wedding, my relatives held a gathering with a small group of my cousins and my husband’s family to discuss what to do.
Our attempts to put our foot down to get our ideal wedding were simply waved aside.
One of my aunts suggested, “Why don’t we just make the banquet hall look like a garden instead of a real garden?”
But the idea of having a wedding in the garden resulted in confused and disgusted looks by the elderly.
In the end, since our parents were paying for a portion of the wedding, we couldn’t find it in ourselves to argue with them too much. So we gave in and had a more traditional wedding instead.
[Image for illustration purposes only]
Our budget was RM30k, but we ended up spending RM70k
My partner’s budget and I was RM15k each. But since our parents insisted on this wedding and decided to contribute financially, we spent more.
Wedding attires including the bride and groom = RM 5000
Jewelry = RM 20,000
Dinner hall (20 tables) + decoration = RM 15,000
Food = RM 12, 000
Wedding car decoration + photographer = RM 5,550
Temple Wedding + astrology + priest = RM 10,000
House decoration = RM 2,500
Makeup artist = RM 1,500
In the end, we spent a little over RM 70k for the wedding and dinner party.
First, our families had to go see if our astrology signs aligned. The signs show how compatible you are with your person.
Luckily, we did, but I do wonder, would they have stopped us from marrying each other if they didn’t?
We then had to find an auspicious date. October 25th was the only date available, because any other date would result in a bad marriage.
We got married in a temple in the early morning. I had to be awake at 2 am to start getting ready for a wedding that was taking place at 7 am.
The temple was crowded with faces, some I couldn’t even recognise. I would assume there were about 500 people, maybe even more. According to our families, they were our relatives or family friends.
I remember how hot the day was. I felt like my makeup was melting off every second. To top it off, the weight of my RM1k embroidered saree with beads and sequins did not help the discomfort.
It was very hectic but thankfully it was a quick wedding. After an hour or two, the ceremony was over and it was time for food.
Our families compromised with us and agreed to have the wedding dinner party in a banquet hall. However, they only allowed us to have it if it was the same day of the wedding itself.
[Image for illustration purposes only]
We agreed to this because it felt like a win, without knowing how tired we would be from our wedding. Even after the wedding, we had more traditions to follow.
We had to go to my house for them to recite prayers for blessings from the elderly, and then hold a welcoming ceremony for the groom.
Then, we had to go to the groom’s house and repeat the same thing, this time for the bride.
When the dinner party came, we both felt like zombies.
We had to make a closet change, another heavy saree that was embroidered with beads and makeup. At that point, all I wanted was to go back home, slip on a kaftan dress and take a nap.
By the time everything was over, we had stayed up for almost 24 hours.
After 5 years, do I wish we could have done it differently?
The answer is a definite yes. I do wish things had been done differently. I wish the only people who paid for the wedding were my husband and I. That way, we would have been the only ones to choose. Our money, our rules.
It’s illogical, but no matter how much we saved up, our parents would have still insisted on paying for our weddings as an act of love.
Even though it feels like they were projecting their ideal wedding on us, I do understand that it came from a place of love and concern. Hence, why I don’t hold a grudge against them.
Yes, we spent over our budget but inviting more people also meant getting more gifts and cash from relatives, so luckily, we didn’t go into debt for the wedding.
In the end, everything turned out well. To me, it wasn’t about the wedding, it’s about the marriage. And I don’t regret marrying my husband.
For more stories like this, read:I Wanted A Small Wedding, But My In-laws Wanted A Grand One and It Cost Us RM30,000 and Seven Reasons Why I Don’t Want a Wedding When I Decide to Get Married
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