Asian Weddings are a rich tapestry of culture and religion. Asian people who are getting married in Britain want to follow their traditions and customs, but increasingly want to adopt some of the western traditions.
Sikh weddings typically have many events spread over several weeks before the actual wedding ceremony (The Anand Karaj). One of these is the civil ceremony, where the wedding is recognised as a legal marriage. Over recent years it has become common to have a reception on similar lines to a western wedding.
The groom’s family host this and receive the brides family. The Anand Karaj itself is a deeply religious ceremony conducted entirely in Punjabi.
There are traditionally eight stages in the overall wedding process. This starts with the engagement or Vagadaan. Couples are normally engaged for 3-12 months.
A few days prior to the wedding ceremony family and friends are invited to a celebration of song and dance (Garba and dandia raas). The wedding ceremony itself or Mandaparopan is conducted under a Mandap.
The wedding itself is a simple process involving negotiating the Mehar and a brief ceremony known as Nikah. Shortly after the Nikah a feast is held for family, neighbours and friends (Walima).
All Asian weddings have to be legalised by a civil ceremony in England. Some temples and venues may be able to do this on their grounds.