Pakistani weddings are eventful for many reasons besides them being actual weddings. There are last minute arrangements that beg for attention at the minute after the last minute. There are pesky relatives and friends who are being wooed a few hours before the wedding so they will grace the occasion with their presence. There are food decisions that can create such major rifts between people that they swear lasting enmities over them. And then there are the people who hoped to be invited but didn’t get an invite until the hosts had a guest count based on the RSVP and invited them as an after thought. Those bitter people will be included in the actual wedding also sometimes. Yes! One thing that Pakistanis excel at is the art of making things look nice and festive when inside people are hating their guts. Don’t ever call us tactless, other people of the world!
But here’s a summary of all the heartache that awaits you if you’re organizing it or daring to get married.
1. No one wants to carpool. And why would they have to? There is unlimited parking in Karachi. There is practically zero traffic on the roads. There isn’t any calculation that goes into making sure that we get out three hours before the event in order to get to the venue. Also, be fair! How are people going to flaunt their brand new cars if they carpooled? Granted some of these are rentals but they still deserve showing off. Asking people to carpool is also not in favor of the general upkeep of the venue. You know how people are going to stuff twenty people in a Suzuki Bolan and plonk it right where the groom’s car was supposed to park. Now carpooling looks like a good idea for the environment but don’t worry about pollution. Humans had to become extinct because of one reason or the other. A little carpool at the 50,000 plus weddings that happen in Pakistan every year can’t save Mother Earth.
2. Someone is going to make the bride cry. Yes! Trust and believe that it’s going to happen. The bride will have a meltdown and no one will know how to appease her. It could be because her wedding clothes don’t fit and now she has to rush to the tailor in the tiny window between waking up the morning of her wedding and when she has to land at the salon. Or it could be because she developed a giant pimple overnight. Or it could be because an ex of her groom called her and showed her texts dating back to a few hours ago. Or it could be her mother or another well-wishing misogynist who will tell her how she is supposed to stay quiet and not look at anyone during the wedding. Any of this are enough to make anyone cry on any given day. Move on from her crying. This is the beginning of the blissful life that the Pakistani arranged marriage process promised her.
3. Someone will register their beef with the hosts. Oh yes! Don’t think that a wedding or a funeral will put any temporary damper on the wholesome crassness that humans can possess in exceedingly large amounts. A Pakistani wedding isn’t actually considered complete without the requisite airing of past and future potential grievances. Guests will reminisce about the time when their own event of one nature or another was sabotaged by the callousness of the current host. They’ll warn the host of various things that they could make happen which could put a dark cloud on this event. They’ll then be benevolent and satisfy themselves with quietly sulking in a corner and not participating in the event at all. This is their nicer version, people! Take this one or the raging one where they totally will rain on the hosts’ parade.
4. The groom’s party will be late. By many hours. And people will be starved for them. So naturally when they show up, you will feel no pleasure in their arrival and would want to stuff them in tiny boxes Marie Kondo style. Not only are they late but they’re so full of their own importance to their own selves that they demand for everyone to welcome them at the threshold of the venue. It’s silly, really! Because the entrance to the venue is always so overcrowded by popcorn and chips vendors and balloon sellers that there isn’t much room for invited people there anyway. Stay put! They don’t deserve such deference. Let them see that lateness isn’t something that they should be rewarded for.
5. But nothing gets criticism at a Pakistani wedding like the food that’s served. Food is the highlight of any wedding but particularly of a Pakistani wedding because let’s be honest! Out of the two thousand people invited only fifty are here to give their best, offer their blessings, weigh the amount of jewelry that the bride is wearing, estimating the cumulative dowry value in a currency amount, discussing the groom’s current employment status , commenting on all the secrets of the two families. The rest are here for the food only. And they don’t hide it. They wait for it shamelessly and ask repeatedly when it would be served, they sniff the air every now and then to detect any olfactory signals of dinner, and keep positioning themselves closer to the tables in an attempt to be the first in the (non) queue that would hopefully form. I’ll keep loading our plates, wasting most of the food, getting a food item in excess on a whim even though we have spent forty years of our lives hating that particular food item and then dumping it in a trash can unceremoniously, for another post.
That’s all for now, folks! But think about it! Weddings cost a ton. But the above is what happens. Why can’t they be simpler? Why can’t they happen in a small ceremony of fifty people? Why can’t we put the same money towards a nice honeymoon where the couple can get to know each other? Why can’t we put the money towards a charity? Why can’t we change a culture that doesn’t work for anyone?