By Kanchan G
(Photo credit: Kanchan G)
I recently married my long time boyfriend. We personally chose to do it courthouse style since we both fall under the category of “non religious people”. However, when my family decided to have a traditional Nepali ceremony, I wasn’t too thrilled. I expected it to be over the top, relatives and family friends I had neither met nor had little or no contact with to be there, and for me to partake in traditions I did not care for or relate to. I had always found weddings to be a bit over the top and just a way for people to show off lavish trends. All the stress and planning that is related to weddings isn’t all that alluring either. On top off all that we had decided to have the wedding during Dashain and only had two months to organize it. During these two months me and my family fussed and planned on different details of the wedding. We found a local Hindu temple to hold the wedding ceremony, looked for multiple venues to host the reception, while doing all this from across the country of the wedding location. Most of the planning was done by my aunt and grandmother, which I was very thankful for, seeing how I did not have half the stress most brides do.
The most stressful part of the whole thing I found was compiling the guest list; which turned out to be bit of a challenge. My parents wanted to invite everyone and anyone they knew since “that was the culturally sensitive thing to do.” However, I found it a bit unnerving to invite people I had no relationship or contact with for a day that was meant to be a celebration of two people coming together. Especially since some of those people didn’t know either of the people who were getting married. After multiple emails and heated arguments we finally met in the middle and chose to invite people as long as I had met them in person in the recent years.
The second hardest part of the wedding was finding a reception venue in New England during the Fall. I was not aware but apparently this time of year is a very popular time for weddings. So off we set to find a venue that would accommodate our guest list and the crazy requirements us Nepalis had. While all this crazy planning in a months time was going on, I was across the country in California stressing about how horrible and unpleasant of an experience this was going to be. I was secretly wanting to not show up to the wedding (I know how awful of me). However, in explaining my upcoming nuptials and wedding traditions to my in laws, significant other, and co-workers, I slowly began getting excited about it.
During the day of the ceremony, I was nervous like most people get on their special day. For me it was mostly for the fact that I did not want to be the center of attention; which inevitably I became. Also all my fears of last minute dilemmas and disasters happened, from my blouse not fitting me to the wedding ceremony going over an hour, to the wedding cake not turning out the way it was supposed to. However, as the priest started the rituals and explained all the traditions of the ceremony and history. I started getting lost in it all and forgot all the stress that comes with weddings and wedding day dilemmas. I’m sure most religious ceremonies, wedding or not, have grand stories behind the rituals but its lost in translation especially to the younger generation.
Being on the other side of this ritual and not just an observer, I started understanding why my family really wanted me to experience this. It was a beautiful ceremony that most people neither get to experience or appreciate. I wont say I understood everything that was explained to me but I understood more than I ever had before. I realized why people choose to have a ceremony and not just sign a piece of paper at the courthouse. I wasn’t the only one who felt this way, my husband and in laws were just as mesmerized. They appreciated how beautiful and colorful it all was. It was definitely a celebration of two families coming together and celebrating the union of two souls. I will always remember and value my Nepali upbringing and I am very happy I decided against my own hesitation and fears to have a Nepali wedding ceremony. Even with all the stress of having family members plan the wedding and all the last minute disasters, it turned out to be an amazing day. Sometimes the most unexpected of events turn out to be the most beautiful experience of your life. ☺
*If you are married, how was your wedding day? If you are not married, what would you like your wedding to be like? Please share your thoughts!
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