Hi guys, today’s post is a little different and a lot more personal than I ever expected myself being on this blog. But it has been bugging me how I haven’t been blogging as much due to getting ready for my wedding, so I had a little light bulb moment and thought why don’t I blog about the things I’m going through and the processes of a Bengali wedding? So I thought I’d do a little Bengali Bride series, and just show little snippets of my wedding process for those interested.
Warning: this process may sound really bizarre and not like the traditional western wedding process.
Okay so when I say ‘How it All Began’, you’d usually think that means boy met girl, fell in love, proposed and then got married. That’s not how it begins with a Bengali wedding. Depending on whether you have an arranged marriage (introduced to each other by a third party usually family), or love marriage (you found each other), you then decide whether marriage is on the cards. Myself and my fiancé were of the latter, and I think we discussed marriage in the first week. That might sound a little crazy, but it just made sense at the time.
I’ll skip the honeymoon stage and all the memories, it feels so weird speaking so openly about even this topic, I’m finding it hard to even discuss this let alone all the romance and lovey stages. Maybe one day I’ll speak about it all with you. But I wanted to talk more about my wedding process, what it’s like to be a Bengali bride and how it all began.
So once we knew we were ready, mentally and financially, to commit to a marriage we both approached our families separately, letting them know we were ready to settle down. Both families were so excited, my Dad was getting concerned at the age of 24, I was getting past my sell by date! Before the proposal, before the engagement, traditionally the groom’s family would approach the bride’s family asking for her hand in marriage for their son. By this point we had both swapped CV’s, a document listing our profession and education backgrounds, details of our families such as how many siblings, addresses in Bangladesh and much more. This is crucial in Bengali weddings, so both sides can see from the offset if the couples would be compatible. Both families swapped pictures of us, so I sent a couple of my pictures over and my fiancé did the same. You can see one of the pictures I used below.
We are both fortunate to be coming from loving families, whose happiness lies in our happiness so we had their full support and blessing (Al-ḥamdu lillāh – praise to God*). Once everyone had agreed that they were happy with our union, that’s when it all began. This is going back about a year, but I remember when a few of the menfolk from my fiancé’s family came to mine for the first time, with the ‘marriage talk’, in essence asking for my hand. They wouldn’t meet me at this point (more on that in the next post) but I peeked through the upstairs window as I watched them come inside my house. They conversed with the menfolk of my family, and were treated to a mini feast my mum whipped up. I eavesdropped by the door to their conversations, and sent texts to my other half with 5 minute updates. Wouldn’t you?! Just look at the ‘mini’ spread my mum made, I made the cupcakes as always.
From then on, it started getting really real. It was out in the open, my fiancé’s name mentioned openly in my household, which I found so bizarre. Coming from a traditional Bengali family, we wouldn’t talk about things like relationships so it felt like a secret had been finally been told. I was very lucky to have the world’s most supportive parents, whose aim in life seemed to be to make sure I was happy. For some people in the Asian community, it isn’t as straightforward especially if their partner is of their own choosing but I would say nowadays the majority of parents have the same stance as mine. If my parents had not been happy, I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the wedding, I just know I would never feel happy if I went against them. I would have stayed single and tried my very best to change their mind, but I would gotten married without their blessing. Thankfully, it didn’t come to that. Phew!
* when something good happens in my life I tend to say Al-ḥamdu lillāh,
which pretty much means thanks to God. Since this is quite a personal post,
I thought I wouldn’t hold back my personality and would speak to you like I would to a friend *
And that is how it started, my journey to becoming a Bengali bride. Through a flurry of CV’s, swapped pictures, nervous moments and a lot of hope, I started the journey to the next chapter of my life. Fast forward almost 12 months, I am engaged and due to be married in under 70 days (cue hyperventilation). We have a lot of catching up to do, but slowly but surely I plan to bring you up to date with all the details. Keep your eyes peeled for the next segment : The First Meeting.