Balancing (100s of) Family Expectations for Your Big Fat Pakistani Wedding

Are you dealing with the family expectations while being in the mindset of

"Shadi tou aik hi baar hoti hay”

Tying the knot? But can’t come to an agreement with your parents? We get you. One thing that does not get stressed on enough about the wedding preparations are the family expectations that follow.

Some people grow up obsessing about their wedding day, how everything will be. Parents dream of the day they marry their kids off, the day when they finally retire as parents. Suffice it to say, everyone has big expectations tied to the big day. However, expectations vary.

Unrealistic Family Expectations

Time changes, customs change. We’ve evolved from separated weddings, where the first time the bride and groom see each other is after their wedding day, to being friends since way before.

Everyone has different expectations from their big day, everyone is experiencing it differently, and for the first time. It is very probable that there will be clashes with regards to how the wedding will go between the parents and the bride and groom.

Shadiyana is progressive, we get your concerns, and we are here to help you navigate your family’s expectations, wedding edition.

The gist for people who do not like reading:

  • Focus on the big picture
  • Be vocal about your expectations
  • To have rasams or not, that is the question
  • Cutting down guest list for yourself but simultaneously not disappointing parents
  • Pay for the wedding if you want but don't hurt anyone's pride
  • A king/queen listens to all of the advisors but does what they want. Why shouldn't you?
  • Empathy for parents
  • Team Backup to convince your parents when you can't
  • Comprise when the time requires to, that's not all the time

The full fledged manual to help you get through this:

  1. Don't Focus on the Small Stuff
  2. The disagreements could be trivial but could cause a rift. Weddings are about connecting, and any sort of discord could ruin the whole idea. Conflicts could arise regarding the tiniest of details, whether the flower arrangement should be a certain way or not, cake or no cake, food menus. These are all things that might not be as important as we think but could affect how you spend your wedding day. Your goal should be to make your wedding day and the preparations prior to that as pleasant as possible and to make good memories out of them. So, our advice, try compromising on the minute details, it will give you leverage over the things that actually matter. 

  3. Be Vocal About Your Expectations
  4. The root of the disagreements is the generation gap. Our parents come from a different time so have different family expectations, they have lived a different life. At many times, they do not understand why you would want a quieter wedding, why you would want to wear something other than red, or why you don’t want to do the same “rasm” as they did. Wedding preparations are an excuse to bond with your parents and let them know about your interests. Tell them your side of the story, help them look at things form your perspective. Stepping in your shoes will help them look at things differently and help you in getting them to agree.

  5. To Rasms or not Rasam
  6. Explaining the difference will help change their narrative as well. A lot of traditions that our parents want to continue in weddings are because they have become “rituals”. If you don't want them and in order to break the pattern, you need to reason with them on why you don’t want them to continue at your wedding, and how they do not affect how your wedding goes.

    Wedding Rasams Pakistan Family Expectations

  7. Long Guest List - One of the Biggest Family Expectations
  8. It is very likely that you might want a close-knit wedding whereas your parents want to involve everyone you have ever met. They would justify it by saying “they invited us too, so we have to return the favor”. Whether their reasons are correct or not, we understand that this can get frustrating. However, instead of throwing a tantrum or stomping your foot, tell your parents how you want this to be a closed function, use COVID as a cushion. Show them the mutual benefits of this, how it is going to cost less, and how it will be less of a hustle for everyone involved. Most importantly this will make you happy, and that's what every parent wants. 

  9. Family Expectations over Paying for the Wedding
  10. We have grown into being a self-dependent generation, we do not like taking help. But this can become an issue for the parents. Your parents, naturally, will have already put together money to pay for your wedding as they think that it is their job as parents. However, if you want to pay for your wedding yourself, do not storm out the door because you can’t get your parents to agree. Try to find common ground, something that works for them and you. Tell them that they can give you “wedding gifts” instead, or put that money in life insurance, instead of spending it on the wedding. This way, they will have fulfilled their role as parents and you, your self-dependency.

  11. Take Advice but Follow What Seems Right
  12. Brace yourself for a lot of tips, advices and set of instructions everyone wants to give you at your wedding day. And add high emotions to that. Its important to filter out which things matter more. And you can smile and nod to the rest and discard them. 

  13. Understand Your Family Expectations
  14. Weddings require compromises. There are going to be times where you disagree with your parents, and vice versa, but you need to understand where your parents are coming from. This is the last time they actively play their role in your life as parents, and they want it to be their best work yet. There will be a lot of situations where they are wrong and so will you, but you need to meet them halfway, and pay regards to their feelings. The only goal that needs to be achieved is to come out of this function with good ties with everyone.

    Just like explaining yourself to your parents can help change their perspective, hearing their side of the story to help change yours as well, and will help you to agree with them truly and not out of compulsion. Ask them why they want to do certain things, evaluate their reasons. If it is something that matters, let them go ahead with it.

  15. Backup, Always have Backup
  16. Oftentimes parents are not willing to hear your demands because they think you are way in over your head with them, or simply because you are “too immature” to understand things (despite you are getting married, ahem).

    Instead of trying to convince them yourself, resort to Team Backup. Align with your siblings, your friends, your soon-to-be and your in-laws. If there are people who can convince your parents, these are it.

  17. Compromise but not on Everything
  18. It is YOUR wedding. Be sure to compromise on the little things, but do not be so submissive as to make the entire wedding about them. Your wedding day is yours, and it should be how you want it. Stay true to your vision, make minor tweaks, but do the things that you want to do. 

  19. Enjoy Your Day

Lastly, do not forget that a wedding is a celebration, everyone involved should be happy on the big day. Managing everyone’s feelings can be hard but stay focused on yourself. After all, this is YOUR day, and you deserve to enjoy it to the fullest.

Check out other blogs specifically for the Groom and hiring your wedding photographer, wedding venues, Makeup Artists or visit our Instagram.

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