Many couples living in America today opt to marry for love. But tradition trumps affection for some cultural and religious groups, resulting in arranged marriages. Season 2 of FYI’s Arranged premiered Tuesday, May 10. Viewers met three ready-to-wed duos who chose to forgo falling in love to uphold their families’ wishes and traditions. This season is sure to spark controversy among loyal Arranged fans.
David and Taylor: This Fort Worth, Texas couple is dealing with premarital drama. “On paper it’s perfect,” Taylor says of their relationship, “but the reality is, our families just hate each other.”
Taylor, 25, is forced to deal with a less-than-supportive future mother-in-law. She may be small, but this feisty Baptist bride-to-be has no trouble holding her own. “I’m 4’11”,” Taylor tells Arranged viewers, “but my attitude is ten feet tall.” David, 27, is her best friend’s older brother. He played their matchmaker.
The future bride calls her fiancee’s mom, “Melba-in-law,” but the nickname is not an endearment. Taylor tells viewers that, “the more we planned [the wedding], the uglier [Melba] became.” Not long ago, Melba’s husband, Ken, sent David an email telling his stepson that he would be “miserable” if he went through with the wedding. Despite the warning, David and Taylor are soon-to-be married, and Taylor’s mom, Trisha, has her daughter’s back. Taylor explains that it’s not her job to deal with David’s mother. She’s leaving that up to her mom.
“In the south, I can be nice to you, but you’re still on my hit list,” Trisha tells viewers. To uphold tradition, she’s inviting Melba to the bachelorette party in spite of the family drama.
David and his mom go to a rodeo together; she tells her son she’s excited about the wedding. But she goes on to tell viewers that she prefers her sons to have “loyal, supportive, smart, and lady-like young women. That’s not Taylor,” she admits. She doesn’t think her future daughter-in-law was “raised correctly,” but David wants his mom to move forward. She doesn’t hesitate to share that she’s “not gonna change” for anyone.
Taylor is nervous prior to her final dress fitting. The last time she tried her gown on it was “snug.” But it fits her beautifully when she tries it on.
At her bachelorette party, Taylor is counting on “no drama.” Unfortunately her plan goes south when Melba documents the night on her phone. She takes photos of a stripper on top of Taylor, and sends them to her son. David texts back, asking his mom to stop sending pictures, but the damage is already done.
On the night before their wedding, David asks Taylor to talk. He’s concerned about the stripper and doesn’t want to have visions of his future wife with another man at the altar. Taylor doesn’t understand why Melba is “purposely sabotaging her child’s wedding.” She tells her mom about the photos later, and Trisha is appalled. With just one more sleep until their wedding, it seems unlikely this couple will resolve their issues.
Ben and Vicki: This young couple grew up in Seattle and went to school together. Years later, they ran into each other in New York City where they both go to college. Ben, 23, is an Orthodox Jew. His family abides by “very strict rules.” Vicki, 21, grew up in a more secular Jewish family. The couple was matched by friends. When Ben ran into her at a charity event, he noticed Vicki was “dressed like someone who was Orthodox.” He is quick to admit that he was always interested in her. Both Ben and Vicki admit that it’s difficult not being permitted to touch one another. Both of them are virgins.
Members of the Orthodox Jewish community believe a woman’s head should be covered. They maintain that “women’s hair is supposed to be private between husband and wife.” It’s “not for everyone to see.” Vicki is conflicted, as she loves her long hair. She knows that covering her hair is only one rule; she worries about “living up to the Orthodox Jewish expectations.”
Vicki meets her friend, Rebecca, to go to a wig shop. The bride-to-be is worried that choosing not to cover her hair would result in the Jewish community judging her. She doesn’t want to feel like a “black sheep,” but the process is “overwhelming.” Vicki decides she needs more time after trying on a couple of wigs. “It’s gonna be a huge life adjustment for me,” she explains.
Later, Vicki takes Ben to the wig store, but she’s concerned about the cost. Ben admits that he would be “disappointed” if Vicki chose not to cover her hair once they’re married. When she tries on a wig that’s similar to her natural hair, Ben thinks she looks beautiful. In the end, she decides she will cover her hair after all. “I think I can do it,” she tells Ben. “Let’s do it.”
Mayur and Maneka: As a traditional Hindu Indian, Maneka is expected to enter an arranged marriage. Ten years ago, she married for love, but the marriage ended in a “disastrous divorce.” Maneka, 33, has decided to go with tradition the second time around. She met Mayur, 36, when he hired her as a realtor; he was smitten with her immediately and told her he wanted to marry her. After a couple of months, Maneka realized she respected Mayur, and she loved the way he dressed.
It is “mandatory” in the Hindu Indian tradition for a man to ask the woman’s father for permission to marry his daughter. Maneka’s dad is hesitant to give the marriage his blessing, as he trusted Maneka’s first husband to be good to her. Mayur is not taking no for an answer. He told Maneka’s father that he will never stop pursuing his daughter.
The men meet to discuss Maneka’s father’s permission. Her dad asks how much money Mayur makes. He’s impressed when his could-be son-in-law shares he makes a considerable amount as a company CEO. “I’m here in this world to take care of her,” Mayur says of Maneka. “That’s my only goal now in life. Manika’s father gives his blessing.
The couple kicks off their wedding events with a puja – a ceremony for Maneka’s family to give her away and to bless her on her journey. Later, their priest explains that Maneka will be Mayur’s property, but she whole-heartedly disagrees.
“In Hindu culture, when a girls goes through a divorce, it is like, ‘Oh, she’s used,’ Maneka explains to Arranged viewers. It’s difficult for her to announce to people that she’s getting married again.
Aside from being a realtor, Maneka owns a clothing store with her mother. The future bride is a fashion designer; she designed all of her dresses for her 6-7 wedding events. With her wedding in the near future, Maneka is stressed because the dresses are still in India. As she tries on back-up options in her store, she tells her mom she can’t go through another divorce. The love between mother and daughter is apparent in how the women interact with each other.
Sneak Peek: Next week on Arranged, David and Taylor’s mothers attempt to play nice (and fail). Ben and Vicki have a difference in opinion about marriage. Mayur has a poker night, and Maneka sees a new, non-alluring side of her future husband. Will these couples make it to the altar?