Pengantin pelik punya persalinan (part keenam) aka What Makes a Good Wife – Criteria #2

News flash! News flash!

Well as you can gather, this isn’t a critical review of the marriage preparatory course we attended last week (of which the deadline I so have to extend to ‘within the month’ from ‘within the week’ because I have set my mind on dedicating this weekend to being productive, work-wise, personal space-wise).

So back to the news flash! Well it’s a turnaround from my low-cost, low-frills, stretch-my-dollars wedding budget motto: I’m going to have full-on bridal outfits from a proper bridal, the kind with a proper, retail shop!

Why the turnaround?

Because it’s a special request from my future mother-in-law (FMIL) who would like to sponsor the outfits we wear for their side’s family reception!

Now, if you think I sound weirdly overly excited, well I AM trying to psyche myself up for it. Reason being that this is definitely what I would consider ‘throwing a spanner into my plans’. (OK that analogy sounds weird and I can’t recall what the exact one is, so correct me, someone!)

And what were those plans?  Granted, the FMIL would have the last say for the ethnic outfit, as it is after all her heritage that is on display. I had earlier on relinquished all control over that and had mentally prepared myself to be content with whatever outfit she would choose for me to wear. Besides, she’s sponsoring it. Plus, I trust her taste, judging from what she had chosen for the mister’s brother and sister-in-law when they got married.

However, while the white wedding dress was her request, which I acceded to, it was supposed to be under my jurisdiction, so to speak. Ideally, the white wedding dress (with matching suit for the groom) would come from the bridal of my choice. However, knowing that ours is a special case – I’m petite, he’s plus sized – firstly,  not many bridals can cater to us; secondly, even  if we find some that can, they would do so at additional cost; and lastly I had reservations about spending so much on outfits worn over a few hours, and rented ones at that. Which is why I had gone all out to source for a cheap but nice white wedding dress, spending hours looking and comparing online, getting heartbroken when the original first choice got snapped up before I could buy it, settling for the next one, got it shipped in, tried it and loved it and started thinking of and looking online for hijab styles to go with it, showed it to the FMIL, and finally sent it to my tailor to get it drycleaned and altered lengthwise and have some beadwork done.

So you see, I had been looking forward to being the DIY white wedding dress bride, have people (hopefully) admire that dress and surprise them, should they ask, with firstly the fact that I sourced for it myself and secondly how cheap it is. I had also been looking forward to putting that dress up for rent or purchase, hoping that somewhere out there would be like-minded ladies who want to save some money, and perhaps I could make them as happy as I did when I found just what I was looking for.

But what’s to happen to my white wedding dress now?

The mister must have known how personally and emotionally involved I had been with this whole white wedding dress saga, although I started out thinking it’s not even a necessary outfit, seeing how it’s from a ‘foreign’ culture, and I was only wearing it for his mother’s sake. Which is why he approached me with much caution with his mother’s proposal (via Whatsapp, what else, because he’s a private man and he doesn’t have his own room at home so no private space equals no talking on the phone with me). Now, it would have been much easier for me to tell the story if I could just put in screenshots of our Whatsapp conversation, but as I said he’s a private man, and he got upset the last time I did that without even asking for his permission since it’s his inner thoughts I’m displaying for the world to see, hence that now privatised post.

So he approached me with caution, asking when my dress would be ready, before telling me that his mother would like to sponsor all our outfits for his family’s reception, including the white wedding dress, or ‘wedding gown’ as he calls it.

Of course my first reaction was:
What about my own white wedding dress now?

His actual words were “your wedding gown boleh put one side first”.

Now I’m not sure why I was pretty mellow about all this last night. Writing about it now, those words could actually rile me up, but they didn’t. Maybe I was too tired (I had been awake since 3 am the night before, rousing early to get some work done). Maybe since he had approached me nicely, so I was just adopting a wait-and-see approach.  Maybe because it is his mother whose request he’s conveying, so no point getting upset with the messenger. Maybe because it’s just all about his mother, my FMIL.

I was just curious if his mother didn’t like the dress I bought, so I asked him. He cleverly dodged the question by saying that it’s just that his mother would like to gift us, since she just got a windfall of some sort. (No she didn’t strike lottery, it’s haram ok, haha.) He even conveniently ignored me when I pointed out that I had sent the dress for drycleaning,  alteration and beadwork!

He added that I could stick with my already-booked bridal makeup artist and customised outfits (of which the materials he said his mother loved and praised – pandai mamat ni selit nak ambil hati) for my own family’s reception, but the ethnic outfit, wedding gown and bridal service for the day of his family’s reception would all be his mother’s (expensive) choice and of course also fully paid by her.

At the mention of bridal service,  I also had to point out to him that I had already booked my bridal makeup artist’s services for both days. He must have been sitting down with his mother right by his side, because his responses came fast and quick – he said his mother said I could be made up on both days by my  makeup artist if I wanted to, but the outfits would come from his mother’s choice of bridal. I had a quick mental image flash of how that would work out, and then I got reminded of the hijab, so I told him that would be makeup plus hijab styling by my bridal makeup artist because I’m also fussy about my hijab. He said no problem, that can be worked out.

Apparently, right after receiving the windfall, my FMIL had gone out with a relative and, in his words, “fallen in love” with what she saw at a bridal in JC. She had also told them that her son was like Chef Bob, size-wise, and they said they have sizes. So now besides tailoring, the mister also has the option of renting.

In my mind, I have no doubt about my FMIL’s good taste, as I mentioned earlier. It is also reassuring that this good taste coincides with mine, evident in the fact that when we went shopping for my engagement ring two plus years ago, it was her who spotted the ring while I was at the ladies’ and when I came back I agreed that it was the nicest among the ones on display. However, since it would be me wearing the wedding gown,  I was not about to take on the mister’s ‘leave everything to my (his) mother’ attitude and ‘lawa tak lawa pakai je senyum je‘ mentality. Hey, this is our big day and I’m not about to let myself be ‘immortalised’ in photographs looking like whatever! I know my FMIL probably saw the most beautiful, enchanting dress, but I just can’t relinquish 100% control to her so I asked to be there with her at the bridal to take a look at the options available and choose something we both like. The same way we chose the engagement ring.

My request was of course reasonable, so it was okay-ed. I only want to look elegant rather than overwhelmed by the dress (which, when you’re someone as short as me, is a very real possibility), so I just have to be sure that my FMIL’s idea of beautiful and enchanting does not cross the line into gaudy and overdone (overbeaded, overfrilled, overpuffed, etc). I also hope she had set her eyes on a few dresses rather than just one, so that at least there’s room for me to negotiate, rather than my having to be the bad (future) daughter-in-law who ‘breaks’ her heart.

My mister was relieved that I eventually agreed. He kept asking “boleh kan” or “u ok kan” as he fielded my questions and conveyed his mom’s request. He actually thanked me for not being stubborn! And he confessed that when his mother asked him to ask me, he was like stuck between a rock and a hard place (eh betul or not that idiom – I’m bad at English ones!) On one hand he initially told (or wanted to tell) his mother to forget about it, because he feared I would stubbornly refuse the offer, but on the other he feared his mother would get upset and merajuk with him. When his mother said she’d pay for everything, he decided to give it a try with me. (Ini mamat kalau pasal duit memang typical mama. Opportunist! Asal duit orang lain cover, he OK go. Sampai aku pun terikut-ikut. See how easy it was for him to convince me!)

Once he managed to settle everything, in his words, “memang susah coming in between two ladies.” Hahahah that’s only the start, baby. Consider yourself lucky that you got a chance to practise before we get married,  because I’m pretty sure that won’t be the last issue your mother and I have different views on, and that won’t be the last time you have to act as the middleman! Hahahah *evil laughter*

But hey, I’m not about to go all out to become the difficult daughter-in-law you know. I mean, which wife wouldn’t want to get along with her mother-in-law?  In fact, thus far my relationship with her, thanks to you my dear, has been smooth and cordial. I think I actually have a soft spot for her, since I know how much she means to you. And that’s the real reason I gave in and agreed.

It’s actually kind of touching when I think about it. Your mother has 3 sons and no daughter, so I guess this is like her attempt to doll up a daughter which she never got to do throughout her motherhood as, well obviously, her sons aren’t girls. If she’d like to doll up and show off to the world her, ahem, beautiful daughter-in-law, then I shall be that daughter-in-law to make her beam with pride. Altogether now, awwww… And that, boys and girls, is what makes a good wife criteria #2 – make his mother happy as much as you can, so that she’s happy with you and he loves you even more!🙂

On another note, I’m actually a bit surprised, albeit pleasantly, that the mister confessed his somewhat being intimidated by my strong will (or obstinate nature, if you will). I always thought that he has a way with me with most things,  such that I would actually harriedly do some things to avoid him getting upset or angry with me, but now I know I’ve got a way with him too *rubs palms gleefully*.😀

Although this whole bridal outfits issue has been settled, this still leaves us with the question:

What about my own white wedding dress now?

Well there are a few options.

A) If my tailor has not altered it and sent it for beadwork, I could tell her not to and just leave it the way it is. I could try to sell it off in its original condition at the price (including shipping) I paid for it.

B) If my tailor has altered it, but not sent it for beadwork, I could either tell her to leave it as it is, or to go ahead. Without beadwork, I could still sell it off at a pretty cheap price, but since it has already been altered, that would narrow down my market of potential buyers.

C) If I tell the tailor to go ahead with sending the dress for beadwork, or if she has already done so, I could still use it for a *secret* photoshoot with the mister at a *secret* location where I can wear it just like that and show *secret* parts of my body. All this after being certified ‘halal’ lah, of course. Eh, now my plans no longer *secret* right? Hahaha. But anyway if the dress has been modified and bead-ified, I probably wouldn’t bear to sell it off (unless it fetches a really good price and I can make some profit from its sale), so I could perhaps rent it out. Or keep it to be passed on as an heirloom. Romanticnya!

I guess you guys can guess which option most appeals to me, because that’s the one where I get to take off my hijab as soon as I get married, just the way an acquaintance on Facebook, in her comment to the link I shared, guessed that the writer of my post about bridal henna (and how it’s related to hijab) would do, without knowing that that said writer is me, and that she was actually commenting about me. Judgemental, much? Well obviously I would, who wouldn’t take off her hijab in front of her legally-wedded man?

Let’s leave my options til later when I can exercise them. For now, I shall end off with one funny fact about the bridal my FMIL chose. Its name is…

*drumrolls*

.. the name of that minah jambu whom I secretly admired in uni and publicly confessed about it here! Hahaha. (Hi minah jambu, you know who you are! *waves*) So here’s hoping the bridal would turn me into the jambu-est minah of all for my my FMIL’s our big day. Amin, insyaAllah.

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