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Sikh Indian bride and groom during their wedding ceremony

Sikh Indian Wedding at Gurudwara

Anna & Sundeep – Sikh wedding at Gurudwara Singh Saba

Anna and Sundeep were married on June 18 at the Gurudwara Singh Saba in Renton.  I have never been to the Gurudwara before, but I have photographed a few smaller Sikh weddings so I knew a little of what to expect for the ceremony.

It was a rather dark and cloudy day, though by the time I arrived at 10AM it had not yet started raining.  The day began with a breakfast for the wedding party and guests, though in this case Anna (the bride) did not appear at the breakfast.  One of the rules of the Gurudwara is that everyone must cover their head.  Fortunately there were a large number of headscarves available for those who did not have their own, which seemed to be the great majority of the guests.  I do not mean this to be at all disrespectful, but I did find it quite amusing to watch all of the men (myself included) struggle to tie the scarves.  And the result looked like what I would image a group of well-dressed pirates would look like, in their suits with the headscarves.  You’ll see for yourself as you look at the photos below.  Too bad there were no turbans available for all of the men, that would have made for some great photos!

After the breakfast, at ~11AM the ceremony began.  Sundeep had told me that Sikh rules said that the wedding must be completed before noon, and because it is a lengthy ceremony it was important that things got underway in time.  Anna and her parents shortly before at 11, so things were able to start on schedule.

There are no chairs in the Gurudwara, so all of the guests, as well as Anna and Sundeep, sat on the floor throughout the ceremony with a couple of notable exceptions.  It was a rather low-key ceremony, with guests free to take photos of the proceedings, and occasionally various people would move about the room to find a good angle for a photo.  I always have a bit of a chuckle about this, as almost all of the time they are shooting photos with a phone or pad instead of a camera, and I know what kind of quality photo they are going to get, especially in a low-light situation such as this wedding.

Sundeep wore a western style suit, with the addition of a turban and special sash.  He also carried a sword, a traditional element of the Sikh wedding.  Anna was in a beautiful Indian dress, and also had some incredible jewelry; bracelets, necklace and earrings.  Sundeep had told me when we first talked that he had been growing his beard for several months, which is another required element of the Sikh wedding.  He also joked about how much he was looking forward to getting rid of it as soon as the ceremony was finished!

The ceremony went smoothly, and shortly before noon Anna and Sundeep were officially married.  We got a few quick photos of the couple with family, which was quite important because the couple planned to change out of their wedding attire before the reception, so this was our only opportunity to get posed photos in the Indian clothing.

Then it was off to Redhook Brewery in Woodinville for the reception.  Originally the reception was planned to be outdoors, but the weather was so cool and wet that it was moved indoors, to a “party room” at Redhook where I have photographed several other receptions.  The guests all made their way to Redhook (about a 20-25 minute drive from the Gurdwara) and then we waited for Anna and Sundeep.

When they arrived I almost did not recognize them!  I am pretty sure I would have recognized Anna, she had changed out of the beautiful red Indian garment into a more conventional white dress, something I imagine was considerably more comfortable while still looking gorgeous.  But I almost certainly would not have recognized Sundeep unless I was looking for him.  He had not only changed his clothes and discarded the turban, sash and sword, he was now clean shaven and looked like a completely different person, as well as maybe 10 years younger than in his “bearded version”!

Once Anna and Sundeep arrived the party go underway in earnest.  Cake was cut, toasts were offered and drank, and lots of great food was eaten!  Everyone obviously was having a great time, and it was a shame that the party finally had to come to an end and everyone had to go home.

Following are a selection of photos from the day, I hope that you like them and will leave some comments.  Click on any photo to see a larger version.

Exterior photo of Sikh temple in Renton WA Guests wait in line for breakfast before the Indian Sikh wedding at Renton Gurudwara Sikh groom greets guests at the pre-ceremony breakfast at Gurudwara Sikh groom confers with one of the Sikh elders who will perform his wedding ceremony Several women in traditional Indian attire before the wedding at Gurudwara One of the guests at Indian Sikh wedding is helped to put on a required headscarf Several Sikh gentlemen talking during the pre-wedding ceremony breakfast The center of the Gurudwara, where the wedding ceremony will be held Three turbaned Sikh men, who will provide music during the wedding ceremony Guests leaving gifts for the bride and groom at the beginning of the Sikh Indian wedding ceremony at Gurudwara Guests leaving gifts for the bride and groom at the beginning of the Sikh Indian wedding ceremony at Gurudwara Close up shot of the altar area in the Gurudwara just before the wedding ceremony The women, in traditional Indian clothing, sit together at the beginning of the Sikh wedding ceremony Sikh groom with sword and turban, accompanied by his parents as he enters the room for the wedding ceremony Sikh groom, with turban and sword, sits in the front of the altar at Gurudwara as the wedding ceremony begins Nahal-016 Nahal-017 Sikh groom with the male family and guests sit as the wedding ceremony proceeds Bride and her parents and a few friends before she enters the room for her Sikh Indian wedding ceremony Bride and her parents and a few friends before she enters the room for her Sikh Indian wedding ceremony Bride, accompanied by her parents and siblings, approaches the groom at the beginning of the Indian Sikh wedding ceremony Close up of Sikh bride and groom sitting on the floor at the beginning of their Indian wedding ceremony Nahal-023 Nahal-024 Nahal-025 Nahal-026 Nahal-027 Nahal-028 Nahal-029 Nahal-030 Nahal-031 Nahal-032 Nahal-033 Nahal-034 Nahal-035 Nahal-036 Nahal-037 Nahal-038 Nahal-039 Nahal-040 Nahal-041 Nahal-042 Nahal-043 Nahal-044 Nahal-045 Nahal-046 Nahal-047 Nahal-048 Nahal-049 Nahal-050 Nahal-051 Nahal-052 Nahal-053 Nahal-054Ann

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