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A Traditional Sikh Wedding

  • Ira Lippke Studios
    Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, India
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Kristin & Jaidev in New Delhi, India
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The day before the wedding, Kristin had a traditional mehendi, or henna, party at a friend’s farmhouse on the outskirts of Delhi. Some of Jaidev’s boarding school friends threw the bash, where Kristin had bridal henna tattoos applied to her hands. Strings of marigolds, a traditional Indian wedding decoration, adorned the party space.
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At the mehendi party, guests dined on traditional Indian “street food,” including panipuris (fried dough filled with spices, chili, masala, potato, onion, and chickpeas) and chaat, a savory fried dough snack.
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Strings of marigolds hung from a large tree at the mehendi party. The flowers often serve as decoration for Indian weddings.
Vasant Vihar Gurdwara and Imperial Hotel
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Originally a folk dance used by Punjabi farmers to celebrate the start of the harvest season, the bhangra dance is now a staple at most Sikh weddings.
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Kristin had an image of a man and a woman (symbolizing husband and wife) drawn onto her hand. Jaidev’s name was hidden in the pattern -- tradition says that if the husband cannot find his name, he has to pay his new wife money. Fortunately for Jaidev, he found his name almost immediately.
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The steps leading to the gurdwara, or Sikh temple, were decorated with strings of marigolds.
Vasant Vihar Gurdwara and Imperial Hotel
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Guests at the mehendi party were served fresh cucumber drinks, watermelon juice, and Coca Cola.
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As female guests arrived, they were given bangles that matched their outfits.
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Kristin’s attendants all wore the traditional salwar kameez dress for the ceremony.
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Two hotel employees had to assist Jaidev in tying on his wedding turban. Pink and red are popular wedding colors in New Delhi.
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As part of the wedding ceremony, Jaidev wore a sehra, or veil, until the Granthi, or religious officiant, told him he could take it off. He also carried a sword, one of the five religious symbols, and wore a kara, or steel bracelet, another of the symbols. The kesh, or uncut beard and hair, is also a symbol.
Raz Keren, New York, NY
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Kristin wore a light green silk salwar kameez for the ceremony. Her mother-in-law bought the dress without even getting Kristin’s measurements -- miraculously it fit perfectly! Underneath the dupatta, Kristin wore a pink phulkari, the Punjabi wedding veil, embellished with traditional Punjabi embroidery and her mother-in-law’s gold wedding jewelry.
Rita Kumar, India
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Inside the temple, guests sat in front of the Granthi, who read from the Guru Granth Sahib, or Sikh’s holy book. Before entering the gurdwara, everyone is required to remove their shoes and cover their head.
Vasant Vihar Gurdwara, New Delhi
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The hotel provided the couple with a 1952 Jaguar for the wedding. Tradition dictates that the car must be pushed (not driven) out of the gurdwara in celebration of the marriage.
Imperial Hotel, New Delhi
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Kristin & Jaidev in New Delhi, India

After meeting as partners in a yoga breathing class (she fell for his expressive eyes -- and the fact that he kissed her at the end!), both Kristin and Jaidev knew they needed to extend their partnership outside of class. After getting engaged on a romantic trip to Croatia, the couple knew they wanted to wed at the Vasant Vihar gurdwara in New Delhi. The Bride Kristin Vukovic, 30, freelance writer The Groom Jaidev Shergill, 38, founder and CEO of Bundle.com The Date December 27 Because many of Jaidev’s relatives live in India, they were instrumental in making the wedding as authentic to Sikh tradition as possible. The couple incorporated a customary mehendi, or henna, party for the bride before the ceremony and covered their reception area with strings of marigolds, a traditional Indian wedding flower.
- Justine Lorelle Blanchard
Their Ingredients
  • Ira Lippke Studios
  • Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, India
  • Vasant Vihar Gurdwara and Imperial Hotel
  • Raz Keren, New York, NY
  • Rita Kumar, India
  • Vasant Vihar Gurdwara, New Delhi
  • Imperial Hotel, New Delhi

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