This being wedding season, I have attended 10+ ceremonies in last 5 days; have spent 3 sleepless nights in last 7; and on one of those nights, was thinking of how weddings are a complete package in itself. Here are a few thoughts:
The way: Here in India, Hindu couples are married before a small fire, into which we toss flowers, water, seeds, and fruits, which are considered the four symbols of life. In the West, it has been replaced with a larger, metaphorical fire, into which great piles of currency are hurled.
Decent proposals: in private, on a starry night, preferably atop something tall. On bended knee: optional. Skip the bended knee thing if there are lots of other people around - you don't need applause. Besides, she might say no!
Indecent proposals: anything involving skywriting, fireworks, a sporting event, or submerging jewelry in champagne.
It's a classy, if outdated and sexist custom to ask her father for her hand.
The wedding timetable: Six months before, set the date. Also the budget. And the number of guests. This would also be a good time to place an accredited psychotherapist on retainer.
It being your wedding, of course, you get to invite whomever you want.
Here's how it's gonna be: Everybody she wants to receive an invitation will receive an invitation.
An exercise in a most basic aspect of matrimonial preparedness:
Step One. In quiet moments, when alone, try substituting the phrase "my fiancee" for "my girlfriend."
Step Two. Attempt same in public.
Step Three. Make note of any involuntary gastric reactions to this utterance.
Step Four. Now try saying, "my wife."
Repeat steps Two and Three.
Some women believe expensive diamond rings are silly and excessive.
I've not yet met one.
Ask your father and a couple of your married male contemporaries how much to spend. Spend that much.
While it is thoughtful to let her pick out the ring, it is also gutless and infinitely less romantic than surprising her with one.
Make a list of things that you hated from other people's weddings: the horse and carriage, the lack of liquor, religious ceremonies, the lack of liquor, lack of bride's friends, the lack of liquor.
Don't allow these things at yours.
Like it or not, you will defer to your fiancee's wishes in all such matters and be a better man for it. Think of it as pre-marriage practice for the rest of your life.
Comic relief: Now and then, look back at the original wedding budget and laugh at your childlike optimism.
The bachelor party, which, you should be aware, sometimes involves drinking noteworthy quantities of liquor, shall not occur any less than one solid week prior to the wedding day. Recovery time, that's why.
Also in the bachelor party:
Drugs are avoidable.
Shots are avoidable.
Strippers are always avoidable.
On the wedding day, it's all right to be nervous.
It's all right to be scared.
It's not all right to soil your wedding sherwani.
Wedding pictures: Black-and-white is more permanent and more romantic.
Spend more on the photographer than on the flowers, because photos last forever.
Meantime, keep smiling.
We know it sometimes hurts, but you've got no choice: Keep smiling.
PS: A few friends asked me after looking at this post, whether there's anything on the cards for me! The answer is - No. Definitely not!