I’ve been married three times.

To the same man, that is. We have one more wedding we will have to put together, and that’s to come, but it’s been quite the couple of years.

Here’s the thing about weddings: it’s a huge money-sucking industry that compels you to try outdo everybody you know on Instagram with lavish everything, with doing the whole engagement party + wedding reception + honeymoon all at once.

While I’d like to tell you you can do whatever you like, I also know that that isn’t true. Weddings, I have realized, are kind of what office attire feels like to me — it’s adhering to the rules, and still trying to add pizzazz to it. Likewise, with weddings, you do what your family/ tradition/ religion tells you, and then add some of your own into it.

We had our niqah ceremony in Singapore in June 2014, then we had a ceremony in Feb 2015 Beverly Hills City Hall to get my green card process started and had the first of our to-be-two receptions in Sep 2015. We haven’t gone for our honeymoon, because let’s face it – moving across the world and being jobless while you wait for your green card, paying for immigration fees and lawyers and travelling back and forth 9,000 miles across the world takes a toll on your bank account.

We’re lucky to have parents, and family who understand the situation we’re in, and we’re not people who are adamant about trying to keep up with the Joneses — or maybe, the Kardashians.

I’ve known people who have splashed out on luxe weddings (including obnoxiously expensive wedding dresses that you wear for one day, threw in a lavish honeymoon for a month, and then bought an apartment in the same period of time, and well, let’s just say that I have new found respect for people who can do that and not survive solely on instant ramen for like, three years.

I wish I had answers to help you figure out how to be a newly wed for an extended period of time, but based on what John and I have done, here’s what you can do:

1. Figure out you & your partner’s priorities. Do you want to get a religious ceremony done or would you prefer to get it all done and dusted at one go? Can you afford to splash out on a reception and then go for a honeymoon or would you rather have a religious ceremony and have enough money to properly furnish your home?

2. Get your family on the same page. John and I have incredibly supportive, and giving parents who have guided us, and nudged us, and helped us to figure this wedding, and marriage business out. Some families are harder than others, and I totally get it, but if your parents are anything like ours, and as corny as it sounds, they’re all for your happiness and will be behind your decisions if they’re well thought out and sound.

3. Budget that shit out. Every little thing will account to something— think stamps for your invites (adds up!), transport to take your guests places for the days leading up to the wedding, etc.

4. Ask for help, but understand when you're asking for too much. Your friends and people you love will probably go above their call of duty to your rescue. In my case, my family and friends travelled across the world to be with me, something I could never expect, or demand people to and they did, and I was thankful. And to me it was enough.

There are a ton of resources available on the web for future brides and grooms, but for practicality's sake, I recommend A Practical Wedding. A screw conventions guide to doing your wedding your way - from creating bouquets from Trader Joe's flowers, to getting your bridesmaids to help you DIY a photobooth backdrop. 

Everybody tells you that marriage isn't easy, but truth is weddings aren't too. Just make sure you don't sell your soul and your kidney to make you wish you never did that all that to begin with.