Indian Wedding Celebrations
Last month we were asked by Arun Sharma if we could cover some Indian wedding celebrations for his brother, Nitin, the Groom who lives in Bridgwater but who was getting married up in Birmingham. Specifically we covered three very different events of the Indian Wedding all at Nitin’s parents home in Bridgwater; A party on the Friday night called the Ladies Sangeet and two religious ceremonies primarily conducted in Sanskrit and Punjabi – the Sainth Ceremony on Saturday afternoon and the Sehra Bandi (Sehrabandi) Ceremony on the Sunday morning of the wedding. We managed to fit all that was required of us into an already full and very busy weekend of meetings and shoots in the studio. [If I have gotten anything wrong regarding information or spellings I apologise, we’re still learning lots of it so please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to correct the mistakes.]
Being involved in Indian wedding celebrations (and any other religions for that matter) is a great honour and of real interest to us! Personally, we both love love learning about new cultures but also from a business point of view as it helps our portfolio and helps us grow in experience. It goes hand in hand with our love of travelling and experiencing new cultures. Emily has been to India many years ago and has wanted to take me there for years – I REALLY want to go there now!
Ladies Sangeet is a vital part of traditional Indian Wedding celebrations in Indian and Pakistani culture that happen before the main wedding. We didn’t quite know what to expect but it was so amazing to be a part of! Traditionally songs are sung to stir the emotions (joy, sadness and laughter) of the participating families and friends. Nowadays it’s common for the grooms family as well as the brides family to enjoy these evenings and as seen in the video and photos it is also now common for men and boys to be at the Sangeet, although the singing is still generally left to the ladies and girls! You can read more about Punjabi Wedding Traditions by clicking through here.
The Sainth Ceremony
The Sainth Ceremony is a Hindu prayer ceremony for the grooms, usually held the day or evening before the wedding. It is sometimes held in a temple but for Nitin it was held at his parents home on Saturday afternoon. In the ceremony the priest uses a number of natural objects in his devotions, such as flower petals, spices and milk. The family also take it in turns to pray for the Groom.
Nitin’s Sehra Bandi Ceremony took place about 6:30AM on Sunday morning after he had dressed in his wedding attire and had a couple of coffees to wake up and calm his nerves.
A prayer ritual called a Puja (from the Sanskrit meaning reverence, honour, homage, adoration, and worship) is performed by Hindus to host, honour and worship one or more deities, or to spiritually celebrate an event. Afterwards Nitin’s Sehra (Hindi: सेहरा) is fitted. The Sehra is the headdress worn by the groom during Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi weddings and is tied to the groom’s turban. The Sehra’s are ornately decorated and Nitin’s was no exception, with pearl garlands hanging down covering his face. The key family members all sat in a semi-circle in front of the priest and all participate in the ceremony and blessings with candles, oil and fire. When the Sehrabandi ceremony was complete all those who witnessed the function gave gifts and cash to Nitin and his family as tokens of good luck.
After the ceremony everyone moved outside to leave for the main part fo the day up in Birmingham. The family had booked a stretch Ford Excursion limousine for Nitin, Arun (Bestman), Hannah (Arun’s fiancée) and some of their close friends to ride in style up to Birmingham and a 52 seater bus for all the other family and guests from Nitin’s family.
All of the work was a really enjoyable experience and it was fantastic to learn about a different culture’s wedding traditions.
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