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
Amy & Indy
My Name is Amy, I’m from New Zealand and my Husband Indy is from Punjab. Indy and I met 6 years ago at a Bollywood party and I believe it was love at first sight. For us our relationship has been very straight forward with both our families and haven't encountered any issues from our cultures colliding like some other cross cultural couples. After approximately five months into our relationship Indy proposed to me and naturally I said yes. Before asking the question, Indy had sought permission from both our parents.
After our engagement we both agreed that we would wait a little while until we got married. During this time I was able to meet Indy’s mum and dad. Never have I been so nervous to be coming home from work and meeting them both. To my surprise Indy and his Dad had gone out, so it was just me and Indy’s mum alone to meet for the FIRST time. Thankfully we got on very well and there were lots of hugs and smiles. I was also able to travel to Punjab before we had our wedding and found a new love for my second home. I eagerly wait to visit Punjab every year from the moment we arrive I am right at home nothing compares to the beautiful sunsets at night. The hardest part is leaving and I often dream of staying forever in Punjab.
For Indy and I a big part of having a cross cultural marriage is to always combine both cultures so we don’t forget our own heritage. No matter if we are here in New Zealand or Punjab. We are able to ensure we do this by the life we have made together.
As a small girl I had dreams of a wedding with all things pretty in pink and always dreamed of meeting my prince. By the time my wedding came, it wasn't possible given I was marrying into a Punjabi family - the more colour the better! However thankfully I love colour and this was an easy decision. My Husband and I we were very involved with the planning of both weddings.
Amy & Indy's Wedding Photoshoot
Did your ideas clash with any ideas from family and friends involved in planning your wedding?
None of my ideas clashed as everyone was on the same page.
What was your biggest challenge planning your wedding?
For us everything was like a dream on a big fluffy cloud everyone was involved and very excited for our wedding.
How many guests were invited to attend your wedding reception?
In New Zealand we had 85 guests as I have a small family therefore this consisted of only family and our closest friends. In Punjab that changes somewhat and we had 400 guests which was really huge. It would be hard to find a wedding that large in New Zealand.
Did you host your wedding in your home country or your spouse's?
As mentioned above we had two weddings our theme for our New Zealand wedding was kiwi/Punjabi. We were able to mix our cultures together. Then in Punjab our wedding was traditional Punjabi.
What did you wear to the pre-wedding ceremonies you celebrated?
For us combining our two cultures has always been a must. Therefore for our pre-wedding photo shoot in New Zealand we decided to wear traditional Punjabi clothing so that we combine the beautiful New Zealand views and the vibrant Punjabi colours.
Amy & Indy
What did you wear as a bride on your wedding day?
I was wearing an anarkali suit which I had made from a boutique; I had selected it from a few designs that the boutique sent me. I had my chura and got beautiful mehndi on my hands and feet. Because I wanted a more elegant and simple look I decided to wear light jewellery, so that my dress could bring a modern look and stand out. After all I had spent ages picking out my dress and didn’t want it to be lost with heavy jewellery.
The Bride & Groom - Amy & Indy
Did you also wear traditional Punjabi hair and makeup on your wedding day?
My makeup was natural and hair was in a bun to support my chunni and was a traditional look with a touch of modern.
Did you incorporate any western traditions on the day of your wedding?
As we had already had our western wedding we didn’t feel the need to we did however cut a wedding cake.
Traditional Punjabi Dancers
Describe your wedding day.
For our wedding here in New Zealand after lots of planning the day was finally here. I was staying with my parents and Indy was at home getting ready. We couldn’t wait to see each other and I still remember walking down the aisle looking at my future Husband and thinking how I couldn’t wait to marry him. We got married at 3pm in a shot ceremony after this we had our reception and danced the night away.
For our Punjabi wedding my sister in law and I got up really early and headed to the beauty parlor to get ready. After a few hours we were ready to go to Gurudwara for Anand Karaj. We then joined everyone at our reception.
Dancing The Night Away
How long did your wedding celebrations go for in total?
It was one day in New Zealand and two days in Punjab.
Any advice for those in a bicultural relationship who are planning their own Big Fat Punjabi-Sikh Wedding?
To listen and remember that both of your cultures are important and find a way to make it work.
How can others get in touch or reach out to you?
You can find me on Instagram under @amysingh15 or via Facebook as Amy Singh.
To share your story then be sure to click here.
*Images are courtesy of Amy Singh and are original copyrighted content and cannot be used without the express written consent of Amy Singh.