*Dave & Ruchi*
To end this week of talking about Working Together, we have a rare treat: a wedding graduate post written by a groom. (Hint: Men, please consider submitting a post? Signed, all of Team Practical.) Earlier this week we had a wedding graduate post from Ruchi’s perspective, and today Dave is here to give his thoughts on being an involved groom in an intercultural, interfaith, Hinjew wedding.
All I want to say is that I was a groom who was involved with the wedding. And who cared about things. I wasn’t overwhelming, but the fact that I let my voice be heard meant I had to wear the moniker of groomzilla with pride even though there wouldn’t have been a second thought about my actions if I were a bride. I mean, I don’t know, was it groomzilla-like for me to go to all the venues and voice my opinion without being asked?
So I wore the groomzilla label as a badge of honor in order to keep my voice heard and maintain my confidence. I was like, “Yeah, I’m a groomzilla. Deal with it.” Wearing the label empowered me to not slink back.
When people would comment on how it was Ruchi’s day and how I just had to stay out of the way and say “Yes, dear,” I felt a combination of frustration and sadness and also smugness and pity. It was sad that this thing, which is really supposed to celebrate both of us, is culturally seen as the bride’s day. But I also felt bad for all the other guys that aren’t able to embrace it for themselves.
It’s not that other dudes don’t think that it’s their day. Dudes enjoy their wedding day too. But a lot of guys don’t get into the planning of it. However, it was important to me. I wanted our wedding to really be our wedding.
I think the most important thing uninvolved guys miss is the art and work of actually making decisions with your wife and your in-laws and your parents. I’m not a deferential person, but I had to learn to negotiate and compromise.
Most guys try to avoid arguing with their mothers-in-law. But I argued with mine over the baraat—an Indian groom’s tradition—that we wanted to integrate into our wedding. In a traditional Indian wedding, the groom’s family and friends bring the groom (who is typically on horseback) to the wedding while dancing around him, while the bride’s friends and family wait inside of the wedding venue to receive the groom. The groom’s procession is then welcomed to the wedding by the bride’s friends and family.
What I wanted instead was to have everyone dance and celebrate by bringing and welcoming me to the wedding hall—bride’s side and groom’s side. I had gotten to know and become friends with Ruchi’s family and friends and I didn’t like the notion of bride’s side and groom’s side. I didn’t want people to line up on which side they’d support if we got divorced or something. And to me, that was still a baraat. Ruchi and I had been in the continuous process of defining and merging our traditions. I felt like my idea of a baraat was a modern day, intercultural baraat.
Ruchi’s mom, on the other hand, had a hard time because she felt I was mixing up the dancing with the welcoming, and the important part was the welcoming. To Ruchi’s mom, I was, at its worst, desecrating the sanctity of her tradition by having a misplaced emphasis. And also, I think she felt that I was asking her and her family to give up their responsibility of welcoming me and my family, which was very important to her.
After lots of drama, Ruchi’s mother’s friends danced with me in the procession, while Ruchi’s family stayed inside the wedding hall to welcome us. Outside, everyone danced and cheered to the beat of the drums while I watched the action from on top of the horse. When I entered the hall, Ruchi’s mom greeted me and then my parents with sweets and hugs. The welcoming was a very emotional experience, and it was awesome to start our wedding doing something that was originally Ruchi’s culture, but that was now part of my own as well. I loved it, my family loved it, Ruchi’s mom loved it, and through the many discussions I had with her, Ruchi’s mom and I strengthened the foundations of our relationship to where we can tell each other how we really feel.
When I think about the planning leading up to the wedding, I appreciate that it was both Ruchi’s and mine. Through the process, we learned to make decisions with each other, while including our families. Because the truth is, I was never a groomzilla. I was just an equal partner.
The Info—Photography: Emily Takes Photos (APW Sponsor) / Venue: San Francisco Galleria / Day Of Coordinator: Lowe House Events (APW Sponsor) / Ruchi’s Wedding Sari: Roopkala in Mumbai, India / Ruchi’s Reception Lengha: Ushnakmal in Delhi, India / Ruchi’s Ring: Turtle Love Co. (APW Sponsor) / Dave’s Wedding Kurta: Mumbai, India (we can’t remember the store!) / Dave’s Sherwani: Benzer in Mumbai, India / Ketubah: KetubahKraft / Mehndi: Kamala at Henna World