What You Should Expect at an Asian Wedding

March 19, 2020

-by Royal Bindi

Sikh Wedding Photographer

Weddings are all unique, with each couple making it their own by making their personalities shine through. However, Asian weddings are in a league of their own when it comes to one-of-a-kind weddings! If you have ever attended or seen an Asian wedding, you would know how carefully curated and detailed these celebrations are.

Asian weddings are unique for their cultural and religious nuances that set them apart from traditional, Western weddings. These unions are not just focused on celebrating the union of a couple, but they also work to incorporate their cultural customs and religious beliefs into every aspect.

It goes without saying that Asia is known for having a rich myriad of cultures. Every part has its own unique history and belief system that manages to influence everything about their lives, even wedding celebrations!

If you are planning your own Asian wedding, or if you have been invited to one, you may be wondering about what to expect. Well, you do not need to worry any more! We’ve prepared this article as a primer to help introduce the most common Asian wedding ceremonies celebrated in the UK, and what you should expect with each.

Hindu Weddings

Hindu weddings are some of the most extravagant and lavish celebrations in Asia. That being said, you will probably experience a lot of firsts here that you will remember for a lifetime! Hindu weddings often last for three days, and that is actually just a minimum. It kicks off with a Hindu festival that is heavily influenced by their religion.

Here is one thing you should know about Hindu weddings: there is no such thing as over-the-top. Even guests will be donning colourful and extravagant wedding outfits, colour schemes, and jewellery! Women often even have Henna tattoos drawn on their hands. Throughout all 8 stages of the wedding celebration, you will be greeted by the sounds of beautiful drums as they serve as the perfect backdrop to Garba and dandiya raas.

We will not give too many spoilers but be prepared for a lot of fun. There will be a lot of dancing and singing involved, with even more food in between. If you are attending a Hindu wedding for the first time, don’t be shy to smile at the Asian wedding photographers! You will surely want to treasure the experience for the rest of your life.

As for gifts, most Hindi weddings request that there be no boxed gifts at the venue. This is unlike Western practices of having a table solely dedicated to gifts. The way you can give your support to the newlyweds is by having the gift shipped to their house prior to the event, or by handing an envelope with money.

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Sikh Weddings

A Sikh wedding ceremony, which is usually held in a Sikh place of worship called Gurdwara, takes roughly less than an hour. This is a stark difference to the Hindi wedding ceremony which is spread out over multiple days; For Sikh weddings, they mostly put emphasis on the religious aspect of it. Thus, the highlight of the wedding ceremony is when the bride and groom bow in front of holy scripture which is called the Guru Granth. While this is going on, the members of the wedding party are invited to sing in order to ask for God’s blessings.

While the heart of the Sikh wedding generally takes less than an hour, that does not factor in the traditions prior and after that important part of the ceremony. If you take all of these into consideration, you will have a wedding that will take around 3-4 hours. 

Once you have been acquainted with a Sikh wedding, get ready to be introduced to delicious food as well! As tradition goes, a wedding lunch is served. These will most likely feature some of the most delectable flavours and aromas of North Indian cuisine, fit for royalty. If we can assure you of one thing, it is that you won’t come out hungry for delicious food nor culture once you leave the celebration.

The common theme among Asian weddings is extravagance and energy. Sikh weddings are definitely no different as you will be immersed in a big, exuberant celebration that will feature a lot of twists and turns, and even more food! The most important thing when you attend a Sikh wedding, or any Asian wedding for that matter, is that you are ready to go with the flow. If you are open to new experiences, then there is no doubt that you will have a great time.

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Muslim Weddings

A Muslim wedding is an exquisite and highly traditional event that marks the union of a couple as well as their dedication to their faith. This celebration is definitely the perfect example of cultural diversity that has the commonalities of beautiful garments, sumptuous food, and big families coming together to celebrate the union of the couple. 

What these tend to be different is that they are more on the modest side, as they feature simpler and minimalist design which is called as nikah. Muslim weddings are also different in the regard that the brides tend to prefer the traditional, white wedding frock in contrast to the bright and colourful ones of Hindu and Sikh weddings. Another popular option is being adorned by an eye-catching red and gold outfit with intricate Henna. 

After the traditional rites of the wedding, the family and friends of the couple then proceed to a giant feast called the Walima. The Walima is marked by up to a hundred guests or even more, dancing, overflowing food, and sometimes even a celebratory firing of guns!

Muslim weddings are characterised by eloquent poetry, emotional speeches, singing, dancing, and a lot of family involvement. One thing that you need to know beforehand is that a lot of the activities in Muslim weddings are gender-segregated, so you may need to be more cautious of this than usual. 

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Contemporary Asian Weddings

As we dive into the modern world, younger couples often take their own spin on the traditional and religious aspects of an Asian wedding. The most notable feature of these contemporary Asian weddings is that they are the perfect fusion of retaining the essentials of a traditional Asian wedding, while incorporating a more relaxed or contemporary feel to the whole celebration.

Asian weddings continue to innovate and are a refreshing experience to be a part of. This is because many people find the need to incorporate their religious and cultural identities into their wedding celebrations, you will surely be in for a unique experience when you attend a contemporary Asian wedding.

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