My Big Fat Punjabi-Sikh Wedding Story: Abbey & Money
Updated: Mar 18
In this series I will share with you stories of other's, who like myself, have married into the Punjabi Culture and celebrated their own Big Fat Punjabi-Sikh Wedding. Though firstly there is some confusion around the difference between a Sikh and Punjabi Wedding merely because many weddings happen to predominately be Punjabi-Sikh Weddings.
Therefore to clarify, Punjab is a state of India in which many different faiths exist not only that of Sikhism. Which means not every Punjabi Wedding will necessarily be of the Sikh Faith, celebrating the same wedding traditions. Sikhism is a religion that originated in the state of Punjab. So whilst majority of Punjabi's are Sikh's, not every Punjabi will be. Hence why many weddings will be Punjabi-Sikh Weddings given they both are of the Sikh Faith and were born a Punjabi. Though even a Punjabi-Sikh Wedding can be referred to as either just a Sikh Wedding or Punjabi Wedding.
Even so, the rituals and traditions of a Punjabi-Sikh Wedding can vary greatly between regions and family. Therefore even the most common traditions can differ in how they are celebrated and is usually a personal preference as to which traditions are participated in. Though for the most part many are quite similar.
My Big Fat Punjabi Sikh Wedding Story:
Abbey & Money
My name is Abbey, and I'm originally from Glasgow in Scotland, and my husband from Ludhiana, Punjab. It was fate that brought us together when both our families chose to move to Auckland, New Zealand when we were both young. We subsequently met at work not long after and before long we started dating. At the time I was only 18 and money 20. After our first date we both knew we were the perfect match, then two years later Money proposed to me in my hometown in Scotland. Fast forward after two years of engagement we finally married.
What Was Involved In Planning Your Wedding?
To avoid any conflict we decided to celebrate two weddings, both a western style wedding and a traditional big fat Punjabi Wedding. For the Punjabi Wedding, my husbands side of the family planned so much of it, especially my mother-in-law who was just so excited to help. Thankfully, I have the best mother-in-law and her taste in clothing is exactly what I love, so there were absolutely no clashes, as she always heard what I wanted and followed that.
We had around 200 guests attend our Jaago Ceremony, and reception which was held in Auckland, New Zealand. Most of my husbands family already reside here, so we only ended up flying over those who were not here yet. The biggest challenge for me was the language barrier when attending meetings with the venue or other vendors. But thankfully I always had my husband with me to translate. Also, it was so hard to choose clothes because there are too many beautiful options!!
What Traditional Pre-wedding Ceremonies Did You Celebrate?
We celebrated all of the pre-wedding ceremonies, as my husbands family are very passionate about their culture. I enjoyed every minute of them all! First of all we celebrated The Vatna Ceremony, which was so much fun. My mother-in-law told everyone to go easy on me with applying the tumeric paste. Which was amazing for me, though my husband ended up looking like a yellow blob! All in all it was such a beautiful and joyous celebration, with so much love, dancing, food, and amazing people. For The Vatna Ceremony there were around 120 people in attendance.
Though for The Mehndi Ceremony I celebrated with only 3 other people as it takes so long to do all the henna. I invited my sister, sister-in-law, and my husband's cousin. It was amazing to watch the Mehndi Artists at work, as they are so fast, and the result is amazing! That same night we celebrated Jaago with around 200 people. This was probably one of the highlights of the wedding for me! There was so much excitement and love throughout the entire event. Not to mention a whole lot of dancing! For anyone who will be celebrating Jaago for your wedding, get ready for the time of your life!
Describe Your Wedding Day
For the big day, I chose to wear a traditional red Lehngha, and had traditional Punjabi hair and makeup! Everything was so glamorous and momentous, it was amazing. I had on so much makeup, and even more jewellery, that everything was so over the top. But I loved every minute of it! The only negative from that day was having to wake up at 4am to prepare and get ready.
In the morning his Grandmother put yogurt and more turmeric paste on us, then the day began! We did the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with my sister and cousins. Then we held Anand Karaj in a local Sikh temple, followed by a small Dholi Ceremony outside of the temple. My mum lived too far for us to go after the ceremony. Indian Brides are usually upset and crying saying goodbye to their families, whilst me and my family were laughing and smiling, which was so funny. The Punjabi side of the family were confused by this, which was very funny, but for my family I know it's not goodbye.
After this we played all of the traditional games at my husbands house. To give us time to get ready we had our wedding reception the following day. For our wedding reception I wore a pink Abaya Style Salwar Kameez and my husband wore an all white Sherwani. Both men and women were allowed to drink, although I think only the western women did, being only my family. Everything went perfectly and we had such an amazing time. My husband and I preformed a Bhangra dance which was so much fun, and then we enjoyed good food and lots more dancing!
Any Advice For Those In A Bicultural Relationship Who Are Planning Their Own Big Fat Punjabi-Sikh Wedding?
Just try to be patient and compromising, I can assure you that the end result will be worth it. And it may feel like the wedding goes on forever, but enjoy every minute of it, because it goes by quicker than you think, and then it's gone!
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