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Help and advice needed before my wedding in India!

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7:14 pm
March 14, 2011


New Member

posts 2

Hello everyone,

I wondered if I could ask a few questions and ask for some tips / advice from anyone who reads this blog.

I am getting married to my Indian fiance in Chennai in July of this year.

I have met his parents a few times before in India and the UK but this time I will be staying in their home in as a daughter in law for a month. (have just visited their home before a couple of times with my parents when we visited Chennai last month)

I am feeling excited but very nervous about this as I dont really know what to expect…my fiance just says be myself but he also says I will be expected to be up very early each morning (6am at the latest!) make breakfast and to do pooja with his mum and cook, clean etc.

I really want to impress his parents as much as I can and erase some of the doubts / concerns they had about their son marrying an English girl. they are very nice to me but I feel they see me as no where near an ideal daugher in law!

Has anyone had a similar experience?

can you offer me any advice / tips / expectations?

many thanks

Sallie. Confused


7:58 pm
March 15, 2011


Toronto, Canada


posts 19

hi sallie,

welcome to this (ad)venture! you need to set yourself up for success. in order to do so, you need to understand the customer, her expectations, requirements et al. also, let us assume, that this is going to be temporary situation in your life, and would not involve permanent change of your lifestyle and views. also let us assume, your fiancee is behind you all the way.

a few queries to you here: what is his caste? language? how orthodox or liberal are they? ie daily pujas? vegetarian food? watch TV for entertainment or listen to carnatic music? the more info you are able to provide, the more feedback you can expect.

all the best. looking forward to your reply.

ps. i am a tamilian, living in canada for past 37+ years.

10:05 am
May 18, 2011



posts 237

Hello Sallie,

Fantastic news about your upcoming nuptials! Brace yourself for an unforgettable journey! It's going to be the roller coaster of a lifetime. Smile

As MrR suggested, a few answers to some questions will be able to help us give you the best advice. He asked some good questions, too, such as what is your fiancé's caste, language, whether or not your in-laws are more modern or traditional, and whether or not they are vegetarian. If you can answer these basic questions, I'm sure more people will be able to jump into the discussion, too. 

Assuming the answers to some of your questions, I can say that I have had a very similar experience. My husband and I were married last year in Tamil Nadu and had a traditional Iyengaar ceremony. From the wedding night onward, I spent a month in my in-laws' house learning how to be a good Iyengaar maatu ponnu, which was a bit daunting at first, considering I am so white, I pretty much glow in the dark. 

Although I am neither Iyengaar nor Indian, I had a few things in my favour that made it slightly easier to adjust to life in India: Being vegetarian for the majority of my life, having learned Tamizh a couple of years before wedding plans were in place, loving South Indian food and preparing it daily even prior to the wedding, enjoying Tamizh cinema, and being interested in Carnatic music. I had pursued all of these interests before I even met my husband, so none of this was forced upon me against my will. By the time I met my husband, these interests were a part of who I was. I will have to credit all of the things in my aforementioned list as helping me out immensely during my stay in India.

_ _ _

A bit of advice not related to any questions asked thus far:

Since you mentioned that you will be staying for a month, you must (I implore you) ask your fiancé what will happen if your *ahem* lady time coincides with any part of the trip. Typically, you will not be allowed to set foot in the kitchen or visit temples, and these will be your only restrictions…however it could be more drastic (it depends on the household.) Discuss this now and get all of the details before your trip, lest you be blindsided later on. 

Now…on another note, are you familiar with Indian jewellery? If not, you will be well acquainted by the end of your trip. I ask because if not, your ears are going to be in for a bit of a shock. The earring studs are typically VERY thick, and the earrings (especially jimikis) are VERY heavy. You will need a vacation afterward just to console your aching ears.

In order to wear my wedding jewellery, I had to force the larger studs into my ear piercings (widening the holes of my piercings) and I had to do my best to ignore the pain of my ear lobes being weighed down by the heavy, ornamented jimikis. I had to invest in a decent bottle of hydrogen peroxide to keep the pain (and bleeding) at bay. There is a saying that you must suffer to be beautiful, and I think it's true, because once you see Indian jewellery, you will not care how painful it is to wear, you will be blown away by how stunning you will look wearing it. Anyway, if there is any way to prepare your ears beforehand (trying out some of the thicker posts or wearing heavier earrings), I recommend that you do so to avoid discomfort during your stay in India. As a new bride, you will be constantly bedecked with fantastic jewellery from head to toe, so you will have to get used to it. Wink 

_ _ _ 

I have to give you a bit of advice (you did ask for advice, so prepare yourself! Wink) regarding something I have also had experience with but had to conquer lest I went insane:

You mentioned that while your future in-laws think you are nice, you get the impression from them that you are not "ideal" for their son. For your sanity and peace of mind, you will have to do your best to avoid looking at the situation like this. Every time you catch yourself thinking this, pinch yourself. Snap your wrist with a rubber band. Do whatever it takes to get this thought out of your head. For good.

Traditionally, and I am sure you are aware of this, it is the parents who feel it is their duty to arrange the marriage, so when their son or daughter makes the decision for him/herself, it will be shocking and disappointing (When my husband first told his parents about his intent to marry me, my mother-in-law asked, "Why do I even have a son?" and was inconsolable. It was disheartening at first, especially because I thought it was all my fault for being white and not Indian, but slowly we got to know each other. Everything changed and I have a fantastic relationship with my in-laws. Now they tell my husband that they love me more than him.)

Okay, so, "ideal" in a nutshell means "Indian" and "of the same caste" and "ready to consent to an arranged marriage," but never matter. Forget "ideal." Your in-laws have accepted you. They are ready to celebrate your union in INDIA (I cannot stress enough that this is a HUGE DEAL, a MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT, an EXTREME BLESSING necessitated by ALL CAPS). They are ready to take you into their home as their daughter. Fin. Now, stay positive, true to yourself and respectful of your in-laws and you will be just fine. 

_ _ _

If you still have functioning eyes after reading this rather lengthy post, feel free to ask me any questions you have through a reply to this post or through a Private Message. I hope I was able to help at least a smidge. 

Best of luck as the wedding date approaches!




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