Marriage… then love! FYI’s Arranged presents viewers with the positive and negative aspects of arranged marriages, and how culture oftentimes dictates whether or not certain couples will thrive. One particular couple featured on the show — Mayur and Maneka — have grappled with these cultural boundaries in their relationship. Despite a rocky engagement, the two married on the Tuesday, May 31, episode of the series.
The Knot speaks exclusively with the newlyweds in a new interview, covering everything from their upbringings to their beautiful wedding, and how their arranged relationship has evolved into a full-fledged romance.
“I was concerned,” Maneka tells The Knot. “But now, I completely recommend an arranged marriage because you learn something new about your partner daily and really grow to love that person. If we dated for a while, it would have been so easy to break up or give up but when you get married so quickly you have no choice but to make things work.”
Mayur and Maneka were wed on December 12, 2015 at the Leoness Cellers in Temecula, CA. Prior to the nuptials, Maneka provided specific numbers to an Indian priest to determine her compatibility with her future husband. It would also help determine the proper date for their wedding, which is a common tradition.
“Since I never had my horoscope read with my previous relationships and they failed, my parents insisted on sending over our birthdays, place of birth and birth time to our priest in India to make sure we were a good match and our stars aligned,” Maneka tells The Knot. “A lot of times horoscopes are read before a couple decides to get married and if they don’t match, a marriage is called off. That was a fear of mine because I would have let Mayur go for sure if our horoscopes didn’t match up.”
But they were a match! Once they were announced as compatible, Maneka and Mayur’s priest gathered “auspicious wedding dates,” and the couple chose the only Saturday date listed. “Our favorite part was when the priest was explaining the symbolism of walking around the fire and the promises we both were making to each other,” the bride recalls to The Knot. “We also loved the sun setting behind us as we were getting married because it looked so beautiful!”
Though Mayur originally wanted a low-key American wedding — eloping in Las Vegas — he confessed to The Knot that he wouldn’t change their wedding date out of fear of losing, well, everything. “The prayer ceremonies, our vibrant colors and culture, and all of our friends and family that showed up. I learned so much more about my religion and culture and I wouldn’t have known any of this if I didn’t have a traditional Indian wedding,” he says to us. “It was also fun putting the wedding events together and if we eloped it would have been a quick and simple ceremony so I felt like this was more meaningful.”
About That Dance
On Episode 4 of Arranged, Mayur turned down Maneka’s first dance request, leaving her to dance by herself while he sat in a chair on the dance floor. This was a tough situation for Maneka who tells The Knot: “It was difficult for me to let it go because I always pictured slow dancing to a romantic Bollywood song with the man I love after we became Mr. & Mrs. But it was also important that Mayur was comfortable performing. I didn’t want to force him to do something he didn’t want to do.”
Admitting that he was not looking forward to the choreographed first dance from the get-go Mayur explained, “The minute Maneka brought up the idea of doing our first dance choreographed to an Indian song, I didn’t want to do it.” Though he practiced a few times, “after several discussions and her friends getting involved to try and convince me,” the more Westernized groom conceded, “about 10 minutes before we were supposed to go up to perform it at the first reception, I cancelled it.”
Despite the first dance drama which urged Maneka to have a “reality check” about her new husband, the couple have found many ways to combine their differing degrees of Indian traditionalism. From their culinary compromises to their workplace romance, it all started with their wedding date itself, which was determined for them by Maneka’s priest in India.
The pair, though arranged, thankfully discovered love after their Sangeet and wedding — and it’s in the form of everyday activities. “We carpool to work often, go to lunch together and whenever we have breaks, check to make sure we both are doing fine,” Maneka tells The Knot. “If I’m busy with my work, and a few hours pass by and we don’t talk to or see each other, I’ll receive a sweet text from Mayur saying he loves me and can’t wait to go home so we have ‘us’ time.”
Maneka expressed concern about working with strong-willed Mayur as her boss throughout Season 2 of Arranged, but Mayur, too, has found the joy in working together as newlyweds. “I love seeing Maneka around the office and it still puts a smile on my face every time,” he tells The Knot. “It’s just as it was before we got married but this time I get to take my ‘wife’ home and we get to be together.”
PDA hasn’t been a problem too. “When Mayur knows I’ve had a long day, he cooks a nice meal for me and it just makes me forget about the day I had,” she adorably reveals. She even recalls a moment when he sent her a beautiful bouquet of roses with a note that simply read, “I love you.”
“I was beyond touched,” she says, adding that she starts the day by giving her husband a massage each morning. “I will give him one before he gets out of bed,” Maneka reveals. “And I’ll make sure to cook him a hearty, healthy breakfast before we go to work. The key to Mayur’s heart is through his stomach for sure!”
Like other couples, they face disagreements — but they’re working through those too. “Mayur is really good about saying sorry whether he is at fault or not and gives me a hug and kiss that makes things so much calmer and we always end up making up,” Maneka tells The Knot. “He has already taught me so much about not sweating the small stuff. We don’t let an argument go on too long and fix things before going to bed.”
The two have internalized key advice from Maneka’s parents, who have been married nearly 40 years. “Patience and respect is key to a successful and long, happy marriage,” Maneka shares. “No one’s perfect and it’s so easy to give up, but someone has to say sorry first and let go of their egos. The real challenge is to stay in a long committed relationship, and we both are more than willing to make sure this relationship lasts forever.”
Reality After Ever
They have zero regrets about signing on for reality TV. “Our future children can watch our wedding and get an idea on what we were like when we were young,” Maneka tells The Knot. Though its still surreal for the newlyweds to watch themselves on TV knowing thousands more viewers are also tuning in, the couple feel they are “blessed to be a part of a show.”
“As part of our culture, Indians in general don’t really share too much personal information and I was brought up that way as well, so at times it was a little difficult to talk about everything I had gone through,” Maneka says, adding that it was difficult at times. However, she aims to use the show as a platform for more traditional brides who can relate.
“I was sharing my personal struggles more for those who had been through something similar to know they are not alone,” she explains. “Whether it’s having gone through a divorce or broken engagement.”
While Arranged provides but a glimpse into their personal lives, Maneka and Mayur are well on their way to a successful and loving arranged marriage. “Our love keeps getting stronger for each other as we experience things together,” Maneka concludes to The Knot, “and we definitely appreciate each other more.”
Tune in to Arranged on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on FYI.