Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How To Have A Perfectly Sane Brown Wedding - Part 1

I attended a lot of weddings this summer, mostly desi weddings. If you don't know how desi weddings work, here's a primer. Now, in the interests of preserving sane-ness amongst desis, I give you (for free) my 5 tips on How To Have A Perfectly Sane Brown Wedding.

*start*

Rule Number 1
If you invite 600 people, make sure the hall can, oh-I-don't-know, HOLD 600 people.

This is your wedding. If you can afford to invite 600 people, then PLEASE get a big hall. Don't think "half won't show up" and "we don't need air conditioning in Canada".

Here's a rule: 600 people = 600 chairs (minimum).

Rule Number 2
You know, you don't REALLY need to invite 600 people.

It's wedding, not a Facebook invite to a teenager's party. Brown people invite EVERY body, lest someone get offended. Sure, you may not have seen me for 10 years, but you will be offended if I don't invite you to an event where you will be ignored for the whole 3 hours because there's 599 other people who want to take a photo with me.

And here's some information for desi parents: "Mr & Mrs." is good enough. You don't NEED to add "and family" to John in the cubicle down the corridor whom you have never known but feel obliged to invite anyways.

Rule Number 3
Please Vet All Wedding Speakers, including the imam/priest.

So here's the situation. I attend this wedding where the food has NOT been served and there's a whole bunch of white people also in attendance (and being fussed over by the host) while the brown guys run riot and throw seating arrangement plans out the window (including PHYSICALLY lifting chairs and taking it to another table AND picking out the 'reserved' tag on some tables and chucking it) - when the long bearded imam stands up to speak.

"Greetings and peace be upon you," He starts. "So here is my tip to the newly wed couple. You have certain rights over each other."

And then he goes to entail how the wife should seek the permission of the husband before leaving his house and how she should always submit to him and the husband should break the news gently to his wife if he ever takes a second wife.

By the end of the speech I had learnt that homosexuals should be stoned to death and a couple can enjoy marital relations in any position (minus the exceptions) and how in this society every woman in a short skirt is a temptress and every man has to fend for himself.

All spoken with a very bad accent.

The food then arrived. I had lost my appetite.

Please pay close attention: VET ALL SPEAKERS. VET THEIR SPEECHES. If possible introduce tape delay.

And do NOT stone homsexuals to death.

Rule Number 4
Women Need To Pray Too.

This is more for Muslims but I have seen many weddings where the hosts go to great lengths to make prayer arrangements - for the men. The women? I guess you can pray in your chairs. I get it that some women may not want to pray given their state of ablution and the heavy make up but for those that wish to pray you SHOULD make the arrangements. If you can get a prayer space, the women can just pray BEHIND the women.

But that would make sense.

And while you are about it, can you get an imam who will NOT decide to read Surah Baqarah while leading that prayer? Seriously, Allah revealed short surahs for a reason.

Rule Number 5
Calling For Food By Table Numbers - a primer.

Please, please DON'T DO THIS. It makes sense when there's only 5-10 tables (see Rule number 2 and refer to white weddings as example). It makes NO SENSE when there's 60 tables. And it makes absolutely ZERO sense when you are reading table numbers in some random order of prime factorial and forget to continue after '39'.

Either have a buffet with at least 4 lines (2 tables with people on either side) so it moves fast, or have food brought to the table. If you want some priviledged people to eat first (i.e in-laws or white people at the office you want to impress), AGAIN, bring the food TO THEIR TABLE.

Otherwise, have a free-for-all buffet.

Again, see rule 1 and 2.

*end*

Extended in Part 2 ...

20 comments:

Azra S. said...

LOL! Great post. I once did a post on weddings and how much I LOVE them *puke*... being sarcastic there. In SA, alot of Desi weddings are jut as big. But it gets more complicated with the Malaysian/Mixed Races... basically it depends if you follow Hanafi or Shafi. Since almost all Desi's follow Hanafi, they have the type of wedding you just described. The Shafi (some of the Desi's and most Malay's and Mix Breeds) usualyl only have one ceremony - the reception that the brides family organises. The groom usually only has tea and cake after the nikkah in a hall / venue at the mosque. And it all happens on the same day.

When I get married, I just want immediate family (parents, siblings, immediate aunts, uncles and cousins) and my neighbours. I'm adamant about that. Most of my friends live overseas anyway.
The reason being I don't agree with spending ridiculous amounts of money to feed a bunch of greedy, ungrateful, critical, two-faced people - most of whom you don't even know because they babysat you when you were 2 or took you to school once when you were 11... while they sit there and gossip about the food, your dress, the family etc. etc.

If I ever do have a huge wedding, I'd have it at the poshest hotel in JHB and everyone is invited, EVERYONE... and everyone will be able to purchase their tickets at Ticketmaster or ebay starting at 350 each ;P

Lat said...

ROTFL!!! I could hardly contain myself reading this post.I had to cover my mouth lest people think I'm crazy!! :P

Really an imam can say all that?! Unbelievable! Someone should carry a tape along for such occasions,heh? :)

Loved this post! And thank you for making me laugh! hahaha!

era said...

As funny as your post is, I have heard desi wedding bash way too often & it gets old. I really love desi wedding and our culture. Maybe hosting it will be a headache but I love attending it. The chaos and mess gives it a character, unlike well planned western wedding which seems like one big stage show.

If I could afford it I would invite the whole town and say “join us for dua and free food for all” and host it in the park with a big bed sheet for everyone to sit on. No chairs, no table, no stage, no showing off, plenty of space, just join me in my day of celebration.

When you attend a desi wedding be ready to lend hand even without being told because we are all family even if we aren’t related & that’s the best part of it.

TManiac said...

HEHE great post mezba. oh and btw, for the first time this year I've been to a gender segragated Islamic wedding (the guy was Indian Muslim) and too bad we didn't see the bride =/

Organica said...

Or Better yet, don't attend any Brown weddings ;)

Sumera said...

lol, spot on Mezba!

Muslim Girl said...

This was HILARIOUS and aggravating at the same time.

That imam speech one though... seriously? I'm going to have to pre-screen mine :P

Anonymous said...

All brown weddings are similar no matter whether you are a desi or not, lol. Though this one I think gets the *trophy* :D
I haven't been to any desi weddings here, so can't really tell though have been to a desi wedding and the desis were from the same country as me and was really wonderful. Not many people and we had a wonderful time. sf

mezba said...

@Azra, here it's not that much of a religious demarkation as it is a brown thing. ALL brown weddings, muslim or not, tend to be this huge thing. Some differences are there of course depending on ethnicity. I have seen Bangladeshis and Indians have more music and are more fun, while Pakistani weddings tend to be more segregated and subdued (or maybe I am not invited to the REAL party lol).

Bengalis are famous for having LOTS of ceremonies (it boggles the mind). An Engagement (called Pan-chini in Bengali) function, a "Holud", the nihak (akht) ceremony, and then a reception (called "Bou-bhat"). And nowadays it seems there's 400 people at EACH of these ceremonies!!!

I like your idea of ebay auction! :-D

@Lat, oh yes this imam was unbelievable. And I was shocked given that I know the couple who are NOT nutcases, how the hell did they end up with this bigot of an imam.

@Era, I love desi weddings and our culture too, but there are somethings we should learn from other cultures in my opinion. In Islamic tradition, weddings are usually smallish and immediate community affairs - there were some weddings in Medina that the Prophet wasn't invited to - imagine!

While it would be nice if everyone attending the wedding gave a helping hand it doesn't happen. Most of the time I see people complaining about the food, passing snide remarks about the bride or her dress or clothes, or wasting the food. I would rather the big money spent on a wedding be saved so the couple can start off well.

@TManiac, ah, how was it? I personally don't like segregated weddings as it strikes me as something inherently wrong, but have been to a few, AND seen the bride hehe *wink*

@Organica, but then where would I get my fix of butter chicken? :-P *slurp*

@Sumera, :-)

@Muslim Girl, seriously ... I even found out which mosque this imam goes too later (which is even more shocking). While the immediate harm was his speech given in front of non-muslims who I am sure already has a favourable image of Islam to begin with *rolls eyes* the greater harm is that those are WRONG teachings that he is now propagating.

@sf, trophy... LOL! desi weddings are usually fun as long as they make proper arrangements for all the 600 people! :-)

mezba said...

@Azra, here it's not that much of a religious demarkation as it is a brown thing. ALL brown weddings, muslim or not, tend to be this huge thing. Some differences are there of course depending on ethnicity. I have seen Bangladeshis and Indians have more music and are more fun, while Pakistani weddings tend to be more segregated and subdued (or maybe I am not invited to the REAL party lol).

Bengalis are famous for having LOTS of ceremonies (it boggles the mind). An Engagement (called Pan-chini in Bengali) function, a "Holud", the nihak (akht) ceremony, and then a reception (called "Bou-bhat"). And nowadays it seems there's 400 people at EACH of these ceremonies!!!

I like your idea of ebay auction! :-D

@Lat, oh yes this imam was unbelievable. And I was shocked given that I know the couple who are NOT nutcases, how the hell did they end up with this bigot of an imam.

@Era, I love desi weddings and our culture too, but there are somethings we should learn from other cultures in my opinion. In Islamic tradition, weddings are usually smallish and immediate community affairs - there were some weddings in Medina that the Prophet wasn't invited to - imagine!

While it would be nice if everyone attending the wedding gave a helping hand it doesn't happen. Most of the time I see people complaining about the food, passing snide remarks about the bride or her dress or clothes, or wasting the food. I would rather the big money spent on a wedding be saved so the couple can start off well.

@TManiac, ah, how was it? I personally don't like segregated weddings as it strikes me as something inherently wrong, but have been to a few, AND seen the bride hehe *wink*

@Organica, but then where would I get my fix of butter chicken? :-P *slurp*

@Sumera, :-)

@Muslim Girl, seriously ... I even found out which mosque this imam goes too later (which is even more shocking). While the immediate harm was his speech given in front of non-muslims who I am sure already has a favourable image of Islam to begin with *rolls eyes* the greater harm is that those are WRONG teachings that he is now propagating.

@sf, trophy... LOL! desi weddings are usually fun as long as they make proper arrangements for all the 600 people! :-)

geekisiddiqui said...

haha oh man, sooooo many times have I thought they really needed to review the Imam's speech before hand. Sooo many times!

TManiac said...

so yea, Mezba....the gender segregated wedding i went to was the most modest wedding i've been to: no wedding performances, no music, no dancing, no professional photographers, no cameras, a hall with a barrier to separate both men and women, and most disappointing of all...we didn't get to see the bride.

Nadia said...

I can't believe the imam spoke about taking a second wife and homosexuality in a wedding! In the Pakistani weddings that I had attended, the Imam doesn't deliver a speech. He just arrives, performs the nikah, eats and leaves.

Brishti said...

haha i think if you invite 600 people, you should get a place that can hold MORE than 600 people because SOMETIMES for some reason everyone feels like they can bring in more friends and relatives who the bride and groom family don't even know.

Abu Pokemon said...

Who needs fiction when reality os full of such absurdities!

Muslim Girl said...

Would you mind telling which mosque he goes to? I don't know how the bride maintained her cool while having to hear about the possibility of a second wife on her WEDDING DAY. I would have been livid.

youngMuslimah said...

i cant believe the *imam's* speech! why not talk abt the rights and respnsibilities of the husband and wife, hadiths on treating each other well etc..? Im just speechless..what does homosexuality have to do with a wedding ceremony? I understand why you lost your apetite.

Tauqeer said...

Brilliant stuff.

mezba said...

Funny, once again I was sure I replied to all the comments on this post but I don't see it here!

@Geeki, isn't that a running concern? So many people plan everything, yet forget this very important thing! Perhaps you will vet one for a wedding, er next year? *wink*

@Taha, should have just invited you guys down to the local Popeyes with the groom then!

@Nadia, (Imam) just arrives, performs the nikah, eats and leaves and then the fun begins! hehe that's it for Bangladeshi weddings in Dhaka - the imam is fed early and does his stuff so we can start the songs and other stuff!

@Brishti, very, very true.

@Abu Pokemon, perhaps this is another idea that can be done in Lego! Although there's not enough brown people in Lego.

@Muslim Girl, if you email me I can tell you which imam of which mosque this was. Don't want to leave it here on a public domain.

@Young Muslimah, it was totally ridiculous - the imam should have been 'stoned' with some tandoori chicken.

@Tauqeer, :-|

mezba said...

This post has now been extended to a second part.

How To Have A Perfectly Sane Brown Wedding - Part 2