There is no denying that a Punjabi wedding is a delightful spectacle but there is more to it than meets the eye. This is because the marriage ceremony has a specific meaning when two people become each other’s life partner.
For those couples who have chosen to get married at a Gurdwara, which is a Sikh Temple, the ceremony, which is highly religious, is known as Anand Karaj. This is a beautiful union whereby the couple will come together and marry in front of the Guru Granth Sahib. Along with this, all other guests will be positioned around the couple and it is common for men and women to split up and positioned either side of the couple.
A Sikh wedding is an amazingly, spectacular occasion that brings two people together in equal partnership but the actual ceremony consists of a number of different stages. Therefore, the Bharat or the bridegroom party will leave their home and be greeted by the family of the bride at the Gurdwara. Therefore, if you have ever been to a Anand Karaj, you would have noticed that the sisters, as well as other female relatives or friends of the bride, will tease the groom and his family. They will ask him for money should he want to enter the venue and eventually marry the bride. Some female relatives are successful and others will have to succumb to refusal but all of this is harmless fun and part of the wedding. The groom and his party will eventually enter the building and will be met by the family of the bride with Milni & Tea.
The Sikh Priest or the Giani, will read the Ardas, which is a very prestigious prayer that is followed by a formal introduction of the respective parents of both the bride and groom as well as other family members such as siblings and aunts and uncles. As successful marriage events will have to follow a time schedule, the introductions are kept to a minimum so the ceremony and the event flows correctly. As we all know, after months of planning, you are going to need to make sure that everything stays on track. After all, with photographers in place providing their service, it is important that they too get the chance to capture the day in all its glory.
At Royal Bindi, we understand the importance of ensuring the entire Anand Karaj runs smoothly and it makes life a lot easier for us too! Your photographers are an integral part of the day and if you want to keep those memories alive forever, then they have to be able to work with the timings of the day.
The Wedding Venue and Food
We all know how keen wedding guests are to get to the wedding venue and enjoy the delicious food that will on offer. After all, after the wedding ceremony, it is one of the highlights of the day!
So, after the Milni, the groom, as well as his party, are served up with tea and breakfast. This will commonly consist of Samosa, Pakora and Mithai and all are served with hot tea and a range of refreshing beverages. However, there is no denying that the Sikh traditions come with a love of food and so, the breakfast menu is often filled with an impressive range of options such as aloo paratha or channa bhatoora, which is a light meal that can be easily enjoyed. Should guests be travelling a certain distance then the breakfast dishes are sure to satisfy their needs and will help to ease any nerves that the bride and groom might be experiencing prior to the wedding ceremony. For a long time, Punjabi families have recognised breakfast as the most important meal of the day and so, a hearty breakfast is always the ideal way to begin the day.
For those guests who are travelling from a large distance to get to the marriage ceremony event, then they are going to need something to satisfy their hunger and that’s where a breakfast will be welcomed.
Once the breakfast has been completed, the day will move to the Darbar, which is the main ceremony hall where the actual marriage ceremony will take place. The groom is then requested to take his seat with the other men before his sisters follow tradition and remove the grooms sehra or kalgi prior to sitting in front of the the Guru Granth Sahib. The bride then enters the room and positions herself on the left-hand side of the groom. Both sets of parents then stand up for another Arda before the wedding ceremony takes place.
Many would say that the father of the bride as a significant role during a wedding and in particular, during the Palla Rasam. This is a symbolic gesture that indicates him giving his daughter away. The father will then take the grooms head scarf at one end and place it in the hands of the bride. This is one of those moments during the ceremony where we love to capture this special moment. What’s more, it is common for many of the guests to experience tears of joy and again, this is the ideal opportunity to capture this special moment.
Next, the brothers of the bride will position themselves around the Guru Granth Sahib where the couple then begin their Lavan. This word means the next stage or to break away, which relates to how the bride is breaking away from her parents’ home and is become one with her life partner and her family.
Now the groom will lead the bride and the couple circumambulates around the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the holy scripture. This will be done four times and again, is a prominent moment that is captured by us in all its glory. They do this four times at set intervals and they bow before and after each stanza. The brothers take turns to take the bride around and this traditional act stems back to many years ago when the bride’s head and face would be covered to protect her from the evil eye. Therefore, the bride could not see through the veil and so, her brothers would help to guide her as her protectors.
While the Anand Karaj, every verse throughout the ceremony is a wedding vow that is created by the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das Ji. Each verse of marriage song will be sung by the Ragis while the bride and groom are joined by the palla and take a walk around the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
1st Stanza – Forming part of the nuptial round hymn, the first verse indicates that marriage is seen to be the best state of life for a Sikh.
2nd Stanza – This verse is the second verse of the nuptial round hymn and it touches on the way in which a bride feels love when she leaves her former life and begins her journey in a new life with her husband.
3rd Stanza – This is the third nuptial round hymn and it indicates the point at which the bride is removed from the outside world and influences that come with it before becoming more devoted to her husband.
4th Stanza – This is the fourth verse from the nuptial round hymn and it explores and explains the spiritual union of love and devotion. It also means that it is not possible to experience the feeling of separation while joy and contentment is also experiences. Once this round has been completed, the bride and groom are then considered to be man and wife.
Essentially, the Lavan means that both the husband and wife are completely devoted and committed to each other. Therefore, they are husband and wife where they sit together but they are two bodies with one single light.
The actual Sikh marriage ceremony lasts under an hour. However, with all of the traditions that take place before and after the sacred ceremony, it can take as much as four hours. Once the sacred ceremony is complete, an Ardas will be read out again while everyone will stand in front of the Guru Granth Sahib before being given Sarah prasad, which is a sweet that is made from flour and sugar.
In the same way as any wedding, a wedding lunch is served. However, some families will choose to have an afternoon reception and so, guests will then travel to the venue. However, if there is an evening reception then lunch will be served at the Gurdwara, which will consist of vegetarian dishes.
Sikh weddings are steeped in tradition and are very special ceremonies where special memories are created for all. Therefore, it is imperative that you use a reputable photography or videography service such as Royal Bindi to capture it all. There are so many amazing moments that can be captured ensuring you have the most amazing memories that last a lifetime.
The Importance of Professional Asian Wedding Photography
The truth is, your wedding day is all about you and the moments you share with loved ones. Therefore, you are going to want to make sure that you capture every moment. As a result, you are going to need a professional photographer such as Royal Bindi. We can capture every single second and we can also carry out a couple photoshoot after the religious ceremony which will require an experienced photographer and videographer.
To find out more about our service and how we can take care of your film & photography needs on your wedding ceremony, why not get in touch? We would love to discuss your options and requirements with you, so give us a call on 0208 090 2180.