Although there may be a few variations across regions when it comes to Sikh wedding rituals, the basic meanings and events tend to follow to same path.
Before the wedding
When the parents of the bride and groom have agreed that this union can go ahead then the groom will visit the bride’s family with his close relatives. The groom’s mother will present her new daughter-in-law to-be with gifts and the bride’s parents will offer the same to their new son-in-in-law to-be — this ritual is known as Roka or Thaka ceremony.
Once this ceremony has taken place then the formal engagement can begin. The groom’s family will arrive at the bride’s house with clothes, jewelry, toiletries and more. There will then be a ceremony with prayers with the Guru Granth Sahib. The couple will then exchange rings and promise their lives to each other, this is known as Mangni, Kudmai or Saga. Prior to the wedding celebrations, the bride and groom are not allowed to step foot outside their house for a few days, this is called Maiya.
There will then be a sangeet, full of fun, music and dancing in anticipation for the wedding ceremony. Followed by a far more low key and intimate Mehndi ceremony where the bride has mehndi smeared on her hands and she will leave an impression of her palms of the wall of her home, this is then washed off and the wedding mehndi is applied.
The couple will then have the Gana ceremony where a red thread is tied around the right wrist of the groom and the left wrist of the bride.
The Wedding Day
On the day of the wedding ceremony the bride’s family will formally receive the baraat and the father of the bride will garland the groom and the groom will give a garland back in return.
The ceremony itself is called Anand Karaj and will take place in early morning. The bride will be escorted by her father and sisters to the wedding venue and a respected member of the community will conduct the ceremony. During the ceremony the bride’s father will tie a knot between the bride’s wedding veil and the grooms stole to symbolize their togetherness. The groom will then lead the bride around the Guru Granth Sahib four times. At the end of the ceremony karah parshaad is distributed and the couple are given garlands.
After the wedding
In a part of the wedding called Doli, the bride will change into clothes are jewelry that were given to her by her new family. The bride feeds the main members of her family with rice before getting ready to leave and move in with her new family. The father of the bride escorts her to car that will take the bride to her new home. There will then be a doli dinner with close family and friends.
The groom’s family will then host the wedding reception to introduce the new couples to family and friends.
The wedding comes to an end with the phere pauna ritual where the bride visits her maternal home for the first time since the wedding ceremony.
For more ideas when planning your wedding, read our planning articles.