What we quickly learn is that at least some of those 300 couples have been through hell to get down the aisle, thanks to the strictures of their family and culture.
Nadi is a Fijian-Indian who, at 34, has waited longer to get married than her family would’ve liked. The family are delighted that she’s finally getting around to it, but the course of true love never did run smooth, and there’s a fly in the nuptial ointment.
Nadi is Hindu, and her fiance is a rugged white Aussie bloke from the bush. Dan comes from a background where marrying a Hindu would once have seemed as likely as giving birth to a unicorn.
What’s more, he had envisaged a small, simple party to mark the marriage, while Nadi has determined that the wedding will be an elaborate traditional Hindu affair – three days long, with 300 guests. Dan holds on tight as his own wedding spins rapidly out of his control.
There’s even more on the line for the next couple – Catholic Rose and Muslim Hassan. Rose has dreamt of a church wedding, while Hassan, aware his family is already upset by his choice of partner, hopes to mollify them with an Islamic ceremony. Both are willing to defy their families’ wishes for the person they love, but both can’t help but struggle with the pressure placed on them. “You can’t just say no to your family,” as Hassan says.
It’s a great insight into how the other half lives.
Following in total six such couples, Marry Me, Marry My Family can frankly be difficult viewing at times. Conflict isn’t played up or sensationalised, which in a way makes the simmering tension even more awkward to watch. The subjects often seem at pains to conceal just how badly the dispute has affected them.
It’s a painful process: families are quite literally being torn apart by what, in theory, should be an occasion of the greatest joy for all involved. For anyone who has not grown up with such powerful expectations, it’s a great insight into how the other half lives and how individual freedom can collide unfortunately with familial attachments.
However, in the end, it’s a positive show, and if it can be saddening to see the way conflicting beliefs pull people apart, it is also uplifting to see how love brings them together.
Marry Me, Marry My Family (season 2) is on SBS, Tuesday, 8.30pm.