ast December, I traveled to Lahore, Pakistan, to attend my cousin’s wedding. December is the peak of wedding season in Pakistan, and I’m always amazed by the endless, colorful celebrations held each night during the winter. Of course, in North America, most people—including South Asians—hold their weddings in spring or summer, when the weather is more cooperative.
But that’s not the only difference between weddings on the Subcontinent and weddings over here. There, most couples have much more help during the planning process, and parents are usually the ones who handle everything. Right up until her wedding, my cousin was pampered and primped with uptan massages and told not to lift a finger. Not so for modern South Asian American and Canadian brides. They’re often busy juggling jobs with planning every wedding detail themselves. Add to that the stress of meeting family expectations, blending desi customs with Western ones and managing a multitude of vendors, and you’ve got the recipe for nothing short of a nervous breakdown.
That’s why when readers asked us for a Nirali weddings issue, we were excited to oblige. After all, there are few good, easily accessible resources for South Asians planning weddings in North America. We hope our first attempt at offering this service makes life somewhat easier for future desi brides. In this half of the issue, we’ll show you how four couples planned beautiful, unique South Asian weddings. We’ll offer you advice on everything from designing invitations to choosing wedding photographers. We’ve even rounded up the best tips from recent South Asian brides. On June 18, when the second half debuts, look for even more tips and useful stories, like a guide to shopping in India and Pakistan and a piece on how to invest in wedding jewelry.
After talking to dozens of brides, we learned one thing for certain: Try not to get caught up in the planning, and focus on making the marriage—not the wedding—your top priority. After all, it’s the little things that will make your day special. Aneesa Shoaib, a bride featured in our Real Tips piece, said it was a simple gesture by her mother that made her day perfect: “The only desire I had for my wedding day attire was to wear a garland of jasmine flowers in my hair. I was willing to wear anything, serve anything, decorate with anything, but I really wanted the jasmine flowers that every Indian bride wears.” Because her wedding was in Morocco, the flowers were impossible to find. “But on the day of the mehndi, my mother came to my room with a garland of jasmine. I am not sure how she pulled it off, but it was the most beautiful and touching moment of the entire wedding.”
So remember your jasmine flowers—whatever they may be—and don’t forget to bask in your day.