A Sikh wedding is a beautiful occasion to photograph. There are many rituals that take place before and during the wedding ceremony, which can be quite interesting to capture in a photojournalistic style.
There is also a lot of fun involved. A Sikh wedding photographer loves capturing moments like the groom riding horseback to meet his new bride, the father of the bride passing the scarf to his daughter or the couple walking around the Guru Granth Sahib as they complete their journey to marriage.
1. The Ghari Puja
The Ghari Puja is a religious ceremony performed the night before the wedding in each couple’s home. It is a ritual wherein various spices and offerings are offered to the Gods.
In addition, a stone grinder is installed at both the bride’s and groom’s homes to act as an idol. The priest performs a pooja with various items to appease all cosmic and mythical deities, thus removing any obstacles in the way of their holy bitsandboxes.
After the pooja, seven married women from each family apply a turmeric paste on the bride’s head and pour oil over it. She then washes it off in a cleansing bath.
2. The Fire Ceremony
A sacrosanct fire is kindled at the centre of the mandap and the couple feed offerings of ghee to it. The Agni Pradakshina is then performed where the wedded couple walk around the fire seven times, while pronouncing vows to each other.
During the ceremony, the bride is gifted her Chura (set red bangles) by her maternal uncle. These bangles symbolise prosperity and lifeline hospital.
The groom is also given a Haldi ceremony, where the elders of the family apply turmeric on him and his face to ensure he looks beautiful during the wedding.
After the Haldi and Kanyadaan, the couple is then taken to a Gurudwara to perform the Anand Karaj ceremony. This is a blissful union of the bride and groom in front of Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
3. The Anand Karaj
The Anand Karaj is one of the most important Sikh wedding rituals and it marks the beginning of a new life for the couple. During this ceremony the bride and groom are married in front of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) with their families present.
This is a beautiful and spiritual moment that is well worth capturing on film. A photographer has to be very careful not to interrupt this ceremony and capture it in a way that tells the story of the day, but also allows for emotion to be present at all times.
I have been a full-time Asian and Indian Wedding Photographer in London for over 10 years, providing couples with the best wedding pictures to cherish for years to come. I specialise in a photojournalistic approach to Asian weddings covering all aspects of the day in a natural, unobtrusive and creative manner.
4. The Milni Ceremony
The Milni Ceremony is a traditional pre-wedding ritual that takes place before the wedding ceremony. This ceremony is a chance for the groom and his family to greet and welcome the bride.
Once the baraat has arrived, a group of people from the bride’s family will walk up to it, singing and chanting hymns. They will then give the bride and groom a garland.
The bride and groom then meet for the first time and this ceremony is a big part of Sikh weddings. It is a chance for the two families to celebrate their mutual support and friendship.
5. The Reception
Sikh weddings are full of fun and plenty of rituals to follow. They are a great wedding to capture if you are a Sikh wedding photographer as there is so much to shoot!
One of my favourite Sikh Wedding Photography London moments is the Anand Karaj. It is such a special moment and the ceremony really does have an emotional impact.
This Sikh ceremony is performed at a Gurudwara (a Hindu temple) and both the groom’s and bride’s families enter the premises to participate in this sacred ceremony.
The Bride and Groom then walk around the holy fire, reading verses from the Guru Granth Sahib. They then take their vows to love, protect and cherish each other throughout their lives celebritylifecycle.