PLANNING a wedding has got to be one of the most challenging things in the world. The guest list, the venue, food choices, door gifts, the emcee, the table settings, the outfits — I could go on and on. Thankfully, for my parents and family, I didn’t come close to being a bridezilla (is there a politically correct term for this?)
If I had had my way, I would’ve just invited our immediate family over to my parents’ house for some of dad’s roasted lamb, chips and dip, played board games, and called it a day. But traditional Malay weddings are on the other side of that spectrum, aren’t they?
I was the first child in my family to get married, so traditionally that called for all the distant aunts and uncles, childhood friends, primary school teachers and long-lost neighbours to be invited.
I was still working in Canada during the year leading up to my wedding. I moved back to Kuala Lumpur only two months before I got married. This meant my super mum was fully and truly in charge of the wedding.
Of course, there was slight wedding stress leading up to the big day, I am not going to lie but, overall, I would say that I came away from my nuptials unscathed. I did not want an extravagant wedding. I did not have “extra” requests; no flying doves released as we walked into the hall, no dreamy wedding dais dripping in diamonds, no personalised hand-calligraphed invitations, I didn’t even want a bouquet (I ended up carrying one because it was gifted to me by my grandaunt).
I simply wanted to be my husband’s wife, and to make my parents happy. So whatever they wanted, I just said yes. Anything they did not want, I let slide.
I’ve been to a few weddings since then and witnessed an array of bride-friends and their pre-matrimonial stresses. I’d like to impart some of my own thoughts on how to work your way to an enjoyable wedding experience which I hope some future brides might find useful.
Not everything is going to go your way — get used to it. Unless you have an army of wedding planners, super organised friends and a well-funded piggy bank, you are most likely going to have to be flexible with your expectations, needs and wants. There will be times when you don’t get exactly what you want, be it the dress, dessert, or decorations but before you throw a bridal tantrum, ask yourself — is it important?
Is wearing your back-up dress going to ruin your wedding day?
Is waiting an additional two days for your wedding invitations really that upsetting?
Is re-thinking your initial idea for a room full of lilies because it’s too expensive going to make you not want to get married?
Hopefully your answer to all those questions is “no”.
And if it’s “no”, then you shouldn’t get upset over it. Deal with the problem calmly and respectfully (you can’t imagine the horrible things upset brides sometimes say!); you don’t want to regret hurting anyone’s feelings.
Being a relaxed bride is fine, but be a prepared bride. Do not rely on other people to take the lead — it’s your wedding! Even though I was away for most of the initial planning, once I got home, I dived right in and took charge.
You don’t want to be labelled a lazy bride — someone who just shows up at bridal appointments or meetings unprepared without a vision, ideas or list.
Be present throughout the process. Do not rely on your partner, parents, friends or family members to pull this wedding off for you. Be the co-captain of your wedding ship (the groom has to be involved too!)
The wedding day is important, but what’s even more crucial is your life after the wedding. If it ever comes down to choosing between spending money on something for the wedding or investing it for your future (a house, your savings, etc) always pick the latter. The wedding is only one day, your marriage is ALL the days after.
After navigating the treacherous months/years of planning, the day will eventually come — you are finally the bride! Enjoy every second of your wedding day. There is no use in being stressed out, annoyed or angry if something is not going your way — let it go, it will be resolved. You will only get to experience this day once (okay, some people get more than once, but let’s hope you and I will only get one go at this).
You want to look back on your wedding day and only remember good and happy memories — the moment he finally gets the nod from the qadi/priest/pastor/minister and you’re officially his wife, the happy tears on your face and finally, slipping that gold band on your finger. Those are the memories you want to feel and remember.
Forget about your phone — other people will take photos for you and you don’t need to reply any messages (they will be there tomorrow). Ditch the insta story — share this moment with your family, not your followers. Loosen up and revel in this day, you are the bride!
Finally, my golden rule — be thankful.
You have someone who wants to spend his life with you. You have a family who is supporting your next chapter in life. You have a new family who is eager to welcome you. You have friends who are willing to drop everything and help you with anything you need.
Be grateful this moment has arrived — do not take it for granted by being angry, annoyed or anything less than happy. Always say thank you to your parents and show them how much you appreciate their love and that they have raised a beautiful, strong, young woman who is ready to raise her own family.
Be thankful that you are able to experience the wedding you’ve envisioned for so long. Do not take for granted all the love you will be receiving on your special day — take it all in, savour it and remember it. You are special and you deserve this day.
Journalism graduate Iman Azman continues to navigate her way through the creative industry as a member of the dUCk Group’s marketing team. Here, she muses about her work, finding balance in life and shares what it’s like diving in headfirst into new experiences and opportunities. Follow her journey on https://www.instagram.com/iman_azman/