Just like any marriage, a Sikh marriage is a wonderful and joyous occasion for both the groom, the bride, their respected families and invited guests.
The actual marriage ceremony itself only lasts about 20 minutes and as this is the time required to recite the four stanzas of Lavan, the marriage hymn composed by Guru Ram Das Ji. The Lavan tells the couple how they can help each other make the marriage a success. For each stanza of the Lavan, the groom and bride walk around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, re-affirming that the Guru is the centre of their lives and that the sangat is there to witness the ceremory. However, there are some activities that surround the ceremony can make it last much longer.
In Sikhism, everyone is equal and at the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara we show this equality by everyone sitting down together on the carpeted floor in the Diwan hall. When coming to the Gurdwara, please bear this in mind when deciding on what to wear. Additionally, everyone is required to take off their shoes before entering the Gurdwara and to keep their heads covered at all times whilst in the Gurdwara. We’ve listed these rules along with more information about the Gurdwara.
Before the ceremony
The groom accompanied by members of his family and invited guests arrives at the Gurdwara.
Both the groom’s and bride’s families gather together for the milni ceremony. The milni ceremony introduces both families together because a Sikh marriage is regarded as the joining of two families who will support the couple in their new life. Ardaas is said by the Granthi. Followed by the two families exchanging gifts.
Tea, pakora and other refreshments will be available in the Langar Hall.
The groom, both sets of family members and invited guests enter the Diwan Hall and pay respect to the Guru Granth Sahib Ji by bowing in front of it before sitting down as part of the sangat (congregation).
The wedding ceremony
The Granthi will address the sangat and ask for the groom to sit directly in front of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji where he remains for the duration of the ceremony. A short time later, the bride often accompanied by a female relative takes her place to the groom’s left.
“Keetaa loree-ai kam” shabad is recited by the ragis. This shabad states that any task should begin with Ardaas. For this Ardaas only the groom, bride and their parents stand. Bole So Nihal, Sat Siri Akal is said. The Granthi reads a Hukam from the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
The pulla is a shawl which links the groom and bride throughout the ceremony. The ragis sing “Puley tendai laagee” shabad as the bride’s father takes the groom’s pulla and places one end in the groom’s hands and the other end in the bride’s right hand. This signifies the father giving his daughter away.
The Granthi reads the first Lavan stanza of the marriage hymn composed by Guru Ram Das Ji. Both the groom and bride then stand and walk around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in a clockwise direction with the groom leading as the ragis again sing the first Lavan stanza. The couple should complete walking the circle around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji at the same time as the ending of the stanza. Usually, close family members of both the groom and bride stand behind the Guru as a show of support and love for the couple as they circle the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
This is then repeated for the remaining three stanzas of the Lavan. After the couple have circled the Guru Granth Sahib Ji for the fourth time, the couple are married according to the Sikh religion.
After the ceremony and the Reception Party
After the ceremony, it’s customary to shower the groom and bride with gifts and garlands. This usually lasts longer than the Lavan ceremony itself.
The reception party can be a simple langar in the Gurdwara, or a party in a hall with bhangra music.