For Indians or any other desi’s living abroad, the phrase Indian Wedding timelines is very generic. There are so many cultures and traditions that there is no one way to define a generic Indian Wedding Timeline. There are different cultures in India. Here you will find timelines for various cultures starting with Punjabi/Sikh Indian Wedding Timelines in Alberta, Canada. Punjabi/Sikh Indian Wedding Timelines in Canada are not the same as in India. In this article, you will see timelines based on the events for a Punjabi/ Sikh Wedding instead of a generic Wedding Day timeline. If the event is not part of your culture you can ignore it. These times are based on our Wedding Photography experience and they may differ from other wedding vendors.
Getting Ready for Punjabi/Sikh Indian Wedding: 2-4 HOURS
Usually, you will need 2-4 hours for both of you. Ask your photographers about how much time they want. Sometimes Wedding planners, coordinators, family & friends will suggest the time to allocate for the photos. Each Photographer is different. They will appreciate that you asked. There are a few rituals that happen during the getting ready for Punjabi/Sikh Indian Wedding Timelines. Allocate the times accordingly.
Groom Getting ready – 2 hours
It is a little different from the traditional getting-ready photos. For the grooms who follow the traditional Sikh/Punjabi attire, there are a few rituals after they get ready. Allocate time for all these rituals. Some examples are Turban tying (Sehra Bandi ), Palla ceremony, Soorma or Kalgi ceremony.
Turban Tying (Sehra Bandi ceremony): 45 mins
On the wedding day, the turban is tied around the groom’s head by his father or an elder in the family. Modern families hire professional Turban tying companies instead of buying a pre-made turban. Remember, Turban tying is a process and it takes around 20-30 mins. The groom is then given a sword that he has to carry during all the wedding ceremonies. The sister of the groom then ties a Sehra around the turban, covering the groom’s face. Sehra is a curtain of golden ribbons or flowers or even strings of pearls.
Soorma and Kalgi – 15-20 mins
The groom’s sister-in-law applies a black dot of kohl or Surma on the side of his forehead to ward off any negative energy. The sister of the groom then ties a piece of jewelry to his turban and in exchange demands gifts. The groom has to present her with a gift before he can leave for the wedding venue.
Getting Ready Photos + Groomsmen Photographs – 30-45 mins
Once all the rituals are complete, allow some time for formal getting-ready photos. These will be Photos of the groom with his siblings, parents, cousins, friends and all the important people in the family who he wants photographs with.
Bride getting ready – 2-3 hours
The Bride’s attire at any Indian wedding is breathtaking & colourful. The elaborate jewellery that includes bangles, earrings, necklaces, rings etc adds a layer of sophistication to her attire. So getting ready takes time. Your bridal hair & make-up will take around 3-4 hours. After the full hair & make-up is complete, allow at least 45 mins to change into your wedding attire.
Getting ready + Bridesmaids photographs – 1 hour
The best part of a Punjabi/Sikh Indian wedding is the attire. Plan for your parents, siblings and bridesmaids to be ready at the same time as you. This will help your wedding photographer to get beautiful photographs of not just the bride but siblings, parents, cousins and bridesmaids if any.
The Baraat – 15 mins
Once both families get ready, they head to the Gurudwara. The groom enters the gurdwara in a grand procession called Barrat, along with his family, cousins and friends playing music, singing and dancing. The Bride’s family, siblings and friends receive the procession. The bride will not be present for this.
Milni ceremony – 30 mins
During Milni, the Bride’s family welcomes the groom’s family. It involves the coming together of two families. It happens before the Wedding ceremony. They exchange garlands with each other. According to the traditions, the oldest men greet the groom before the youngest. In addition to honouring the groom, Milni Ceremony is an opportunity for guests to familiarize themselves with each other and to know how they are related to the couple. It highlights the strong bond between the two families.
Wedding Ceremony or Anand Karaj – 1-1.5 hours
The Punjabi or Sikh wedding ceremony is called Anand Karaj which means Blissful Union. The ceremony takes place at the Sikh Temple ( Gurudwara), around the Holy Book. The groom will enter along with his siblings and immediate family holding a rumalla (rectangular silk cloth for the holy book) as an offering. He will pay his respects and will sit facing the holly book. His sisters will then remove the sehra & kalgi.
Similarly, the bride will also enter holding a rumalla as an offering. Once she pays her respect, the bride and groom will sit side by side facing the Guru-Granth-Sahib. The priest then asks the bride and groom and their parents to stand for an ardas. After the ardas, the father of the bride will perform the palla rasam where he would take one end of the palla (scarf/dupatta) of the groom and either tie or give it to his daughter’s hand to hold. This symbolizes the father giving away his daughter.
The Priest conducting the marriage performs the four Lavan or stanzas from the Guru-Granth-Sahib ( Holy book for the Sikhs ). Upon completing the reading of the first stanza, the couple will walk slowly around the holy book in a clockwise direction, with the groom leading the bride.
This process of circumambulation is repeated three more times after each Lavan. The raagis sing the lavans in the background while the couple performs the Pheras (sacred vows). The raagis sing hymns of Anand Sahib. An ardaas (prayer) is offered as an indication that the wedding ceremony is complete.
Shagun -10-15 mins
After the ceremony, the bride and groom will remain seated. Their parents bless them and will give them money as a blessing. Lastly, this will be followed by the guests as well. To end this, the priest will distribute a Karah Prasad ( dessert) to all the guests.
Langar – 45 mins
Langar is a community kitchen, it’s open to all regardless of their background. After the wedding ceremony, everyone goes to the Langar hall to enjoy a vegetarian meal.
Doli – 45 mins
The Doli is the ceremony where the bride’s family sends the bride off with the groom. Both the bride and groom will sit together in the living room surrounded by family and friends. The bride’s family will give gifts to the couple usually a watch, bangles, rings etc and feed them, Indian sweets. Now the groom is allowed to take the bride with him.
When the couple is walking out, a bowl of rice is held in front of the bride and she takes a handful and throws it over her head, in each corner of the house. This marks the bride’s declaration that she is leaving her paternal home and taking nothing with her.
As they are walking to the car, relatives take turns to bid farewell and wish her luck with the new chapter of her life. The father of the groom throws money (usually small change) ahead of the car while the car starts to move. At this point, the brothers of the bride will push the car for a little distance.
Paani Varna – 20 mins
As the newlywed couple arrives at the groom’s house, the groom’s mother welcomes the couple by holding a garvi ( bowl) filled with half water and half milk. She moves the garvi clockwise and attempts to take a sip after every turn while the groom playfully tries to stop her. After the seventh turn, he lets her drink it. This is a way of blessing the newlyweds. The groom’s mother welcomes the couple inside after pouring a bit of oil on either side of the doorstep.
There are a few more rituals at the groom’s home where they sing, dance and play games like finding the ring in a bowl of milk etc.
Wedding day Portraits – 1-1.5 hours
Once all the rituals are completed, it’s time for your wedding photographs. We can begin the session with photographs of your bridal party if you have one or immediate family portraits. Once the photos are done, we will recommend everyone leaves except for the couple. It will help you focus, be present and not feel shy. If you want a helper, have one of your bridesmaids with you.
Change of clothes for Reception – 1 hour
If you planning to change clothes, hair and make-up, leave enough time so you can freshen up as well.
Wedding Reception -4-6 hours
The grand celebration involves delicious food, speeches, singing, dancing, games and a full night of fun with friends and family.
Here is an example of the Punjabi/Sikh Indian Wedding Timelines if you are doing it all on a single day.
6.00 – 8.30 AM – Partner A getting ready
6.00 – 8.30 AM- Partner B getting ready
9.00 – 9.30 AM – Baraat
9.30 – 10.00 AM – Milni
10.30 – 12.00 PM – Anand Karaj
12.30 – 12.45 PM – Langar
12.45 – 1.30 PM – Doli
1.30 – 2.00 PM – Paani Varna
2.00 – 4.00 PM – Wedding Photographs
4.00 – 5.30 PM – Alone time for the couple + change of attire for reception +Photographers get photos of the reception set-up
6.00 PM – Reception starts + grand entrance
6.15 – 7.15 PM – Dinner
7.15 – 8.15 PM – Group Photos
8.15 – 8.30 PM -Speeches
8.30 – 8.45 PM – Cake Cutting
8.45 – 9.15 PM – First Dance + Other dances
9.15 PM – Party Begins
10.30 PM – Photographers Leave
For all the Bangladeshis, Pakistanis and Srilankan who get lost in the word Indian Wedding. We hear you too! We will soon have a wedding timeline specific to your wedding.
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