After two days of ceremony and celebrations in preparation for David and Rukmanie’s Sikh wedding, their special day had arrived! The Sikh wedding ceremony is known as Anand Karaj, which literally translates as “blissful union” – I think this is enchanting.
I was accompanied by Anna of Somma Productions, who is a good friend and talented cinematographer based in Jersey, and the lovely Kelli who assisted me and is also a photographer so was able to second shoot. We made an early start and full of anticipation and a few nerves (not such a bad thing!) headed to Rukmanie’s parents home where her bridal preparation had begun in the early hours of the morning! The ceremony was at 12 noon and Rukmanie’s make up and hair styling was truly a work of art so an early start was called for. Rukmanie’s bridal wear was exquisite and bejewelled – these were accompanied by the choodha and kalirey (the ornaments that hang from her bangles) her maternal uncles had presented to her in one of the pre-wedding ceremonies. Rukmanie was also adorned with beautiful jewellery which had been gifted to her at the Mehndi Celebration. After the finishing touches, it was time to make tracks to the the Gurdwara in the Medway Towns to meet with David and capture their guests arriving where they were invited to have a a simple breakfast in the Langar Hall. Langar means “free kitchen” and is based on the Sikh principle of the inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind.
As guests started to enter the hall, ragis (devotional singers) perform kirtan (hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book). Upon entering, guests paid their respects to the Guru Granth Sahib by bowing down to their knees and making a small monetary offering. They then took their places, with men on one side and women on the other. David paid his respects to the Guru Granth Sahib((the Sikh Holy Book) and made an offering before taking his place amongst the congregation. Rukmanie entered the hall, accompanied by her parents, brothers and male cousins and paid her respects to the Guru Granth Sahib. Rukmanie looked stunningly beautiful – quite breathtaking!
The ceremony officially begins when the Gyani-ji asked Rukmanie and David and their parents to stand for Ardas (a Sikh prayer which is said before undertaking any significant task). Rukmanie’s father then placed David’s palla (scarf) in Rukmanie’s hands to signify that she was starting a new life with David. The Laavan was then read which is four verses which describe the progression of love between husband and wife to attain happiness and fulfilment. After the recitation of each verse David lead Rukmanie around the Guru Granth Sahib while the ragis sung out the verse that has just been read by the Gyani-ji. Rukmanie’s brothers and male cousins accompanied her as she walked to signify their support for her. After Rukmanie and David have circled the Guru Granth Sahib they sit and listen to the next verse before repeating the process. They walk around the Guru Granth Sahib four times in total, once for each verse.
The ceremony was formally concluded by the whole congregation standing for Ardas and then parshad (a congregational offering of sweet pudding) was distributed to the whole congregation.
We then all made our way to the marquee reception which was heald in Marden, Kent. We re-fuelled on our way for the next instalment of the celebrations with some home made goodies! As guests arrived, fresh fruit and canapés were served with celebration drinks! We whisked Rukamnine and David off for their portrait shots to a near by orchard and corn field whist we still had good quality light and before the speeches began. They were both wonderfully relaxed and apart from being accompanied by Anna, Kelli and myself it was good opportunity for them to have a bit of time together for everything to soak in.
After some very entertaining and emotional heart felt speeches, it was time for the first dance and then the party! Oh goodness – the dancing was off the scale!!! Fantastic to capture.
Here are a few of my favourite images of the day, more than I would normally post but it was such an involved day and there was big story to tell!
Wow! The most incredible three days! Many congratulations David and Rukmanie! x