A Punjabi Hindu wedding. Anusha’s mum had just outlined her daughter’s upcoming wedding day in Melaka as we sat in the local Starbucks enjoying a coffee. I have been the photographer for many Hindu weddings in the past and I have shot quite a number of Sikh weddings as well, so the fusion of the Punjabi culture and Hindu religion promised a very colourful couple of days with lots of fun.
The wedding day started with the Saainth ceremony (performed with oil) at the brides house, followed by the bangle ceremony. I was at the brides to cover these events while the team headed over to the grooms and awaited the priest who would perform the reciprocal saainth ceremony at his home. After the groom performed these rituals his family performed the Sehra bandi ceremony. This is a meaningful time whereby he gets dressed and puts on the traditional head dress and veil (known as the Sehra).
The wedding ceremony was held at the Melaka International Trade Centre (MITC). Both Punjabi and Hindu wedding traditions were observed when the groom Karun arrived at the wedding venue. Traditionally the groom arrives on a horse, typically a mare, along with his “best man” (who is called the sarvala). The families met and greeted each other with bhangra drums, dancing and Milni (exchange of garlands between our fathers, our brothers and our uncles).
The Punjabi Hindu wedding ceremony is quite different from the south Indian traditions. Immediately on meeting the bride and groom garland one another (Jaimala). Rumour has it that the bride and groom should be careful not to bow as it is a marriage of equals. As you will see in the photos the parents are integral in the ceremony itself. Once the wedding ceremony is over the groom is finally permitted to remove his veil. To everyone’s relief it was Karun underneath!
Later in the evening we all retired to the brides house where the bride and groom were welcomed. Karun had to bargain his way into the house and the bridesmaids/cousins and sisters all made good on his lavish donations. A tearful goodbye was expected as Anusha left her home. It is quite a dramatic event for any woman.
Two nights later the final wedding banquet was held at the Equatorial Hotel Melaka. It was a very colourful event, with many family members flying in from overseas. The bride and grooms first dance turned out to have a flash mob made up of cousins and friends.