For many people, their wedding day is the most memorable day of their lives. Weddings are an important celebration as they mark the beginning of a new stage in life.
Some couples have lavish wedding ceremonies, while others choose to keep it low profile. Whichever the case, weddings are notorious for being stressful. If you’re planning your wedding, we have a few tips to help you make some crucial decisions.
- Figure out who is planning and paying for the wedding.There are as many different rules and systems for planning and hosting marriages in India as there are states and communities. In most parts of India, the bride’s side hosts the groom's side in the wedding itself. In some parts, parents of the bride and groom pay the wedding expenses. If that’s the case, it might be a good idea for you to sit down with your parents and plan the budget. Ask them to be transparent about how much money they can spend on your wedding. Fix a definite amount and stick to it. Often people feel they should spare no expense for a wedding – even if it lands the family in financial difficulty. But weddings don’t have to be expensive – they are just a celebration of love, and of two people and families coming together. What’s more, the young couple could do with the extra cash, if any is left over! However, many people see these as rather modern ideas, and feel the expectations of society are more important.
- Make a list of things you absolutely need to spend on.Then make a separate list of things that would be nice to have but aren’t strictly necessarily. Set your priorities and stick to them.
- Make to-do lists.A to-do list for shopping for the ceremony, for the caterers, for the guests, and so on.
- Divide tasks.Make sure you manage tasks within your close family and friends. Assign someone to organise the logistics for the dinner, and someone else to manage the rituals and religious ceremony, someone else to manage invitations, and so on.
- Maintain a balance between meeting your family’s expectations as well as your own.
- Indulge in stress-busting pleasures.With the amount of pressure around weddings, you can go crazy! So make sure you take a day off every week just relaxing with your future spouse or taking time for leisure.
Dowry is a payment given as money, property, jewellery or other gifts from the bride’s family to the groom. Practices around dowry vary depending on the region, caste and class. Under Indian law, demanding, giving and receiving dowry has been illegal since 1961, punishable by a jail sentence of between six months and two years. Nevertheless, dowry is still a prevalent practice. It’s given in the form of presents, gifts, endowments, or as a feel-good gesture.
In some cases the husband’s demands for dowry take the form of emotional threats and even physical violence towards the wife. In some cases, women who are unable to meet demands for dowry from the husband or in-laws are murdered or driven to suicide because of extreme harassment and torture. These deaths are called dowry deaths. Women’s rights groups put the number of dowry deaths in India at 7,000 a year.
Harassment for dowry
If your husband or your in-laws harass you for dowry you can file a case against them at the nearest police station, because dowry is prohibited under Indian law and is a punishable offence. If you can’t go to the police yourself, you can also get in touch with any of these women’s rights NGOs:
Indian Women Welfare Foundation (IWWF) http://www.womenwelfare.org/submitcomplaint.html
Stand up against violence http://standupagainstviolence.org/contact-us.html
Shakti Shalini http://shaktishalini.wordpress.com/about-us/
You could also contact a lawyer if you have access to one.
‘Cold feet’ is something many brides and grooms experience just before their wedding. You suddenly feel nervous about your future, and start worrying whether you’re really making the right decision.
A certain level of nervousness is perfectly normal before the big wedding day. After all, it’s a life-changing step that you’re about to take. We’ve got some tips for you on how to deal with cold feet.
- Work out what you’re really feeling – wedding stress or serious doubts?Planning a wedding together can be hectic and stressful. And it’s normal to feel a bit nervous about getting married. Think carefully about how you’re feeling and what exactly is making you feel that way. Imagine if all the planning problems were magically sorted out… would you still feel as worried?
- Take some time away from the hustle and bustle of wedding preparations.If you’re suffering from wedding stress, make sure the two of take a break for some quality time together.
- Don’t ignore serious doubts about your relationship. Probe what your fears are.
- Tell your partner what scares you about being married.Is it about losing your independence and freedom? Or more to do with your partner’s personality and character?
- Think about what the solution could be to the problems you see in your relationship. Does your partner see them as solutions too?
- Don’t get married because of the pressure around the wedding.Of course the whole world expects you to get married in the near future, but if you have serious doubts about it, it’s time to act – you owe it to yourself and your prospective spouse. Postpone the wedding and take things more slowly and calmly.
- Take a step back and review this marriage, rather than be stuck in something that’s on a wrong footing from day one.
- Get in touch with a counsellor if you need help to find some peace in the situation.
The wedding’s wrapped up. The reception party was a blast. The guests are long gone. And now, you’re going to have your first married night together. While some couples will have had sex with each other before their wedding night, for many it’s the first time together.
If you are a virgin or have never had sex with your spouse before, it’s natural if you’re nervous on your wedding night. But, we’re here to help you out! Here are some tips to overcome those wedding night worries.
- Explore Love Matters and find out as much about sex as you can.Check out all our information on making love and our ten tips for first time sex The more you know about sex, the less worried you’ll feel!
- Talk about it.There are a lot of reasons you might feel uncomfortable talking to their partner about sex. You don’t want to seem forward. You might not want to seem knowledgeable – even though knowing stuff about sex doesn’t mean you’ve been practising, it just means you’ve done your homework! However, the secret to great sex is communication. The more you dare to be open and honest to your partner about your wants and your worries, the more rewarding sex will be for both of you. For tips, read more on talking about sex.
- Ease the pressure off the first night.You don’t necessarily have to have sex on the night itself, unless you really want to. Many couples don’t have sex right after their wedding. You’ll probably be pretty exhausted, and that’s never a good start for spectacular sex. There’s no harm in cuddling up together, having a good night’s rest, and waking up in the morning full of energy and feeling frisky!
- Chat to feel relaxed.Talk about how the wedding went, about the food, how people were dressed, who enjoyed themselves most... just some fun stuff.
- If you feel nervous, be honest. Perhaps your partner feels the same way.
- Take it slow.Don’t rush into anything. Take time for lots and lots of foreplay. Kiss, touch and caress each other. Make it last. Make each other feel loved. Make sure it’s not rushed and traumatic, but sexy and memorable.
- Notice your partner’s body language.Respond to their feelings and moves. If you are confused or afraid or in pain, tell them gently. You can even ask them to stop till you get more comfortable with each other.
- Don’t make a big deal of erection trouble.Because of nerves and pressure to perform, men can have trouble getting an erection. Guys, go easy on yourself, it can happen to anyone. Girls, remember it’s not because he doesn’t think your sexy. Take the lead, and enjoy the challenge of turning him on. (But don’t take it personally if his penis doesn’t respond this time.)
- Don’t make a big deal of bleeding – or not bleeding. First time intercourse might make the woman bleed if the hymen tears. But bear in mind, if she doesn’t bleed, it doesn’t mean she isn’t a virgin! Do check out our myths and FAQs all about the hymen and virginity.
- Be gentle.Obviously – it’s a cliché. It’s possible that the woman might feel some pain the first time (though not necessarily). The way to minimise pain is for her to be as relaxed and aroused as possible, so her vagina is really wet and doesn’t tense up. So comfort her and love her with all your heart. And take plenty of time for foreplay to drive her wild with desire before you move on to intercourse! For tips, check out ways to make love to her.
- Make sure you use contraception.Unless you’re keen to have a baby right away (see starting a family). It’s no fun worrying about pregnancy the morning after. Better safe than sorry. To see what might suit you, read more about birth control methods. Contact FPA India for advice.
For more, check out our wedding night sex do’s and don’ts.
For many, the first few days of marriage feels like living in a dream! Even if you have been in a relationship with your spouse for many years, it might seem like a new beginning or a fresh chapter in your life.
A lot of couples choose to go on a honeymoon after their wedding. It’s a well-deserved vacation after all the stress, hustle and bustle of the wedding. You’ll finally get some time away from your family and friends and can just be together with each other. If you haven’t had sex before the wedding, then the honeymoon is a perfect time to get to know each other’s bodies as well.
But being married also brings a lot of changes to your life. Firstly, it can change your sense of who you are. You might start feeling like you have a shared identity with your partner – like people see you less as an individual and more as one half of a whole. This could make you unsure and uncomfortable. In a lot of spheres, you might also feel like you’re missing out on your independence and need to accommodate another person in your life forever.
This sudden wave of change might be challenging for a lot of newlyweds. This is true whether it’s a love marriage or an arranged marriage. Here’s a guide to help you with newlywed challenges.
- Share what you expect from your marriage.‘And they lived happily ever after...’ is a phrase we’ve all heard. But as well as happiness, marriages also bring a lot of challenges. To avoid clashes, sit down with your spouse and talk about your expectations of each other.
- If something annoys you, bring it out into the open.If you haven’t lived together before, be prepared for a bunch of surprises. Your spouse might have some habits you’re not keen on, and there might be some compatibility issues. You can overcome them by talking about what bothers you.
- Manage your house.It might sound strange, but don’t assume what each other’s roles are in your relationship. Draw out clearly what you expect from each other in the home department. You’re not just lovers, you’re also housemates.
- Consider your partner’s family’s needs if you’re expected to move into your husband’s house with your in-laws. This can bring a new set of challenges. Not only do you have to adjust to living with your husband, but you also have to maintain a balance between making yourself comfortable and fitting in with other people. Read our Top tips: living with your in-laws.
- Manage your finances well.Money is a major cause of marriage break-ups. So make clear decisions about money. Are you going to get a joint account? Or will you stay independent throughout? Will one of you depend on the other financially? Figure out what you’re signing up for.
- Keep the fights fair.It’s natural that you’ll have arguments and fights – what’s important is how you go about it, and how you make up afterwards. For tips see our Fighting: do’s and don’ts.
- Spice up your love and sex lives with surprises.Being married doesn’t mean the end of romance. Don’t let monotony set in. Make sure you’re not just living your marriage but enjoying it.
- Get to know each other closely. Marriage is a wonderful opportunity to know your partner at a very intimate level. Share your dreams with each other. In the process of being married, you might also notice something new in yourself.