Airdate: Marry Me, Marry My Family

SBS doco series will look at cross-cultural marriages in Australia.

SBS documentary series Marry Me, Marry My Family will look at cross-cultural marriages in Australia, in early January.

This is a 3 part series produced by CJZ which will presumably offer an alternative view to that by Seven’s Bride & Prejudice (which is not returning).

Walk down the aisle with SBS this summer, as we explore the chaotic and colourful road to intercultural weddings. At the best of times, weddings are filled with tears, stress and anxiety, but when you throw two vastly different cultures into the mix, you get double the drama in an epic tale of love against the odds.

Over three weeks, follow six couples as they try to straddle the gulf between cultures and the gap between their parents’ expectations and their own dreams. The series seats us at the front table of diverse, multicultural weddings and provides intimate access to the couples and their families, through the tears and joy, as they get ready to tie the knot.

In the first episode, there’s nothing Armenian born Nancy wants more than for her family to accept her Indian Hindu fiancé, Ashu. The relationship caused an 18-month estrangement from her heartbroken mother, who doesn’t understand why her daughter can’t marry a “handsome Armenian man”. Their wedding is set to be an authentic Armenian affair, but first Nancy must try to glue back the pieces with her mother in time for the wedding. Meanwhile, in the suburbs of Adelaide, skip truck driver Mark is heading to Nairobi, Kenya, where he will negotiate a dowry for his other half, Wambui. Having met on the dancefloor of a casino, the two will be married in a traditional Kikuyu wedding ceremony which will see Mark barter for his bride with goats, and choose her out of a line-up of completely covered women.

Next up is a real life gypsy wedding where high school sweethearts Derian and Jye will tie the knot in an extravagant, three-day affair. Derian’s family are Muslim Gypsies from Macedonia. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine their daughter would marry Jye – an easy-going Maltese Australian, but an ‘outsider’ nonetheless. Their success as parents depends on one detail: whether Derian is a virgin until her wedding night. In an ancient tradition, her marital sheets will be inspected to confirm her virginity and her father’s success as a parent, otherwise she will be disowned. Sri Lankan Hindu Lalith has gone against his parents’ wishes for an arranged marriage and chosen Chinese Australian, Louise. His parents refuse to speak to her and they won’t be attending the wedding. Lalith has a tough job on his hands, trying to persuade his parents to acknowledge his bride-to-be before the big day.

When Travis swiped right on tinder to Pakistani Australian Rabia, little did he know he’d be saying yes to a new partner, a new family and a new religion. Married at a young age, but now divorced, Rabia has two teenage girls, and faced a lot of pressure when she started dating Travis. Even though Travis chose to convert to Islam and marry Rabia immediately, the couple still face an ongoing struggle within Rabia’s Pakistani community, particularly with her devout mother who thinks Travis has converted purely for the sake of marriage. Meanwhile, Indigenous Wiradjuri woman Jessa plunges into Maori culture. Her wedding to Areti, the grandson of a prominent Maori leader, will be heavy on protocol, with indigenous elders, politicians, and even royalty on the guest list. Aside from the mammoth task of finalising a hierarchy-based seating arrangement, Jessa’s greatest challenge will be performing an ancient Maori song at the wedding reception. She’s under pressure to get it right, or risk causing offence.

Marry Me, Marry My Family is the familiar story of multicultural Australians, as they are today – trying to embrace their Australian identity, whilst staying true to their culture, identity and family. It’s a heart-warming update on how multiculturalism is working in Australia and a colourful account of the country that we are evolving into.

Tuesday, 9 January at 8.40pm on SBS.

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