What's the wedding night etiquette in an arranged marriage ?

Given the happy couple hardly know each other, it might be a bit awkward just jumping in the sack together, especially as cultures which practice arranged marriage appear to be quite puritan.

Even in arranged marriage cultures the couple would have had sometime to get to know each other before the marriage and inmost would have had the final say in taking the plunge,

According to my Grandma (who was not married into an arranged marriage but who was brought up by a Puritanical Methodist lay minister in rural Illinois in the 30’s), for many women of her generation the wedding night basically amounted to rape, as the woman had literally no idea of what was going on. Grandma herself was a little more … evolved … and her wedding night wasn’t much of a surprise for either her or Grandpa. :wink:

I have a close friend who went through a modern arranged marriage with their final say so. Nevertheless, they had only physically met a few times prior to marriage (he was in the US, she in India). I never asked, of course, but always wondered about it. He wasn’t the one night stand kind of guy, and she seemed pretty similar, so there had to be some awkwardness on the wedding night. I have to imagine even with modern arranged marriage there must be a getting to know you stage after the nuptials.

That’s why I asked. I have a colleague who got married recently, he only met his bride once, a week before the ceremony. He showed me her photo, she looked very demure and he’s very un-worldly. It made me wonder…

Thanks all.

I never so much as kissed Mrs. Raza until our wedding night. We had only met in person about four times before that.

It was second marriage for both of us, so that makes a bit of a difference.

It wasn’t arranged, but my ex and I only kissed twice before our wedding night. She was a widow and I had lots of experience. So things worked out fine.

Some traditional cultures which practiced arranged marriage had conventional routines for introducing sexuality into the couple’s new life together. For instance, the Sanskrit Kamasutra of Vatsyayana recommends a multi-day courtship sequence for newly married couples beginning with complete sexual abstinence and progressing through specified forms of romantic wooing to actual sexual activity.

On the other hand a colleague of mine is getting married soon in an arranged marriage, and he has known his fiancee since they were both teenagers. In fact, he has known that they were going to be married for seven years now. So it isn’t always a stranger.

Victorian Britain sent the young couple on a honeymoon to Italy.

Is the premise of the question that there is an established etiquette for the first night of non-arranged marriages? On the same lines - is there an established etiquette for two consenting adults spending the night together in a bed?

Any references for this assertion ? Every time I fly these days - there are ads in the Airlines magazines advertising “this accomplished individual” who has a knack for arranging meetings for rich prospective husbands and wives. Seen it on TV and mainstream magazines too - but it seems like these services are expensive and only available to the rich and accomplished. Are the rich in the US puritan ?

Any references to this assertion ? My parents had an arranged marriage back in India - and they knew each other pretty well before the marriage.

And - I always joke : A couple really gets to know each other when they get married. Its the same whether it is an arranged marriage or NOT.

Rural Illinois in the 1930’s, and you think she had no idea about sex? All the animals that they bred & raised on the farm, the coes & bull producing calves, the hens & roosters producing eggs, and she never noticed that?

I don’t think your grandma was really that naive. More likely just being protective of your tender sensibilities.

Not Grandma herself - Some girls of her age group. Grandma was a total floozy.

One of my coworkers had an arranged marriage (he and his fiancée had the final say). The guys from the department (who had a good-humored teasing with him) eventually did ask him what went on. One guy reported back to the gals, and according to the coworker, they didn’t immediately have sex on the first night. In fact, it took some time, while they got accustomed to each other (he was in the US, she was in India when the marriage was arranged).

I would be interested in reading more about this…how it worked out (it sounds good), what led to that, how the two of you felt, etc. Have you expounded on your situation before?

At least this isn’t “Need Answer Fast.”

It’s more of a matchmaking thing. There’s no obligation to get married at all. They aren’t “arranged marriages” in any sense, since there’s no “arrangement” and there’s not even necessarily a “marriage”. But certainly there’s bound to be people who are willing to get married to rich people, sight unseen.

And, yes, the rich in the US are generally more socially conservative than the rich in some other countries. We only hear about the ones who aren’t because they make for better press.

No, I think the premise is that couples in most societies which don’t practice arranged marriage are more likely to have picked up more “unscripted” sexual experience, so to speak. In modern sexually permissive cultures, physical relationships tend to develop in a more ad hoc way, so when the actual wedding night rolls around, most couples have a fairly clear idea what to do.

I think the OP is thinking of a traditional arranged marriage within a socially conservative culture, in which two people with little or no sexual experience (especially the woman) and possibly only a very slight acquaintance with each other suddenly find themselves in the same bed. It’s not unreasonable to wonder what guidelines such cultures might have developed to help couples through the awkwardness of that experience.

I don’t know about others, but Indian culture is only really puritanical from an outsider’s perspective. In some respects, it’s much more permissive than even modern Western culture (when’s the last time your grandmother wore something that showed her belly?), but in others, it’s the opposite (there was a de facto ban on public displays of affection until the last decade or two, and a de jure ban on kissing in film).

Indian families (at least, mothers and daughters) are also generally more comfortable talking about the mechanics of sex, IME, so everyone has a general idea of what goes where.