The beautiful bride gushes across the centre of the room, the groom proudly beside her. This is a happy and joyful occasion…almost. That is until you spot the eagle-eyed aunties scanning you up and down, random relatives asking you 21 life questions, having your age asked about 341 times, and if someone suggests you consider marrying their family friend from Germany again, you will scream! (no offense German readers, we love you).
If you have a big traditional Asian family (Indian in my case), chances are you might have to deal with these annoying quirks at family weddings. I get why it happens, I really do. Weddings are a great time for families to come together, and the excitement of more weddings in the family is an exciting prospect. However, sometimes I feel unmarried family members are looked down upon as incomplete humans, people who haven’t quite got their sh** together yet.
But surely marriage shouldn’t define our success in life? With this mentality, a marriage becomes a compulsory life step, rather than a celebration of finding the partner you genuinely want to spend the rest of your life with. There tends to be this worry, particularly from the older generations, that there is something wrong with you if you’re not considering marriage by mid-twenties. What if you don’t feel ready for marriage? What if you can’t even bear the prospect of meeting your tinder date for the second time? (never mind having an actual spouse to deal with everyday). Maybe you don’t want to get married, and you just want to focus on your career or even wait for the right time and person to fall into your life. This is all fine and YOUR life decision – but with wedding season coming up, how does one avoid and deal with the family pressure around marriage?
You could just avoid your extended family altogether and not go to family functions. But that seems a little unrealistic, as you probably don’t want to miss your closest cousins getting married… also COME ON wedding food and dancing. One top tip I have for you is to avoid, avoid and avoid the old auntie table, (there’s usually 1 to 2 of these tables at every Asian wedding, avoid like the plague!). If you do find yourself accidentally caught at one of these tables, break into dance and ask the aunties to join in. They will hate this and will encourage you to dance away from them. No need to thank me.
Stick with the Bachelor Pack
Yes it’s no secret that South Asians are known for the importance they hold in the ‘marriage culture’, however for British Asians, our culture is rapidly changing. A lot of young people are choosing to wait till after their 20’s before considering marriage, or deciding that marriage is simply not for them. These people may be your family friends or cousins at weddings, and I have some easy advice for you: Flock together! You are stronger in numbers! When anyone approaches you about your future marriage plans, this group will have your back. They will bombard everyone with their future career plans, the joys of being single, having no responsibilities, countless travel aspirations and this will cause the person asking marital questions, to cower away and think twice about their own marriage (no offense married people).
The Squad having your back at weddings
Become un-marriage Material
There will be lurkers at weddings. These people are specifically on the lookout for a potential suitor for someone they know. This may lead to many awkward moments when they ask Mummy Ji your age and many other questions, whilst you’re right there sat next to her (because apparently, you’ve become a ghost). This is a great chance for you to show off your foodie skills (eating more food than your saree/shirt can cope with), or rapping/singing every lyric to Jay Z remix to Mundian To Bacha Ke. The lurker bacholan (wedding matcher) will soon be horrified and will try to look away (unsuccessfully). Your family members may not be impressed with this method, but hey it’s survival out here!
Foodie skills = Expert Level
Out of all the ways to survive wedding season, ignoring is probably the most effective way to handle things. Your life is in your hands, so feel comfortable in the decisions you make. Be proud of the lifestyle you lead. If marriage is not on the cards for you right now, then that’s completely fine. Remember, shrugging off with plenty of eye-rolling, is the perfect combination to deal with the snidey remarks from family members.
The pushiness for marriage is something I’ve started to notice more as I grew up in my moderately, traditional Indian family. However, times have changed and so has the culture within many British Asian families. There’s been some pretty huge changes as families shift to the more modern British Asian values. So, most importantly this wedding season, I’m going to be proud of the cringey nudges I get about marriage and brush them off. When I think about it, I have so much control over my future, compared to how the older generations of my family once did. I’m extremely grateful for that, but of course, I will continue to humorously challenge the outdated concept that marriage is the only road to happiness. Maybe for some, it is, but it’s not right to project that as the case for everybody.