Sikh wedding photographer: Niki & Joe

After photographing Niki & Joe’s stunning Syon Park wedding on the Saturday, I was happily back with the newlyweds for their Sikh wedding ceremony on the Monday. About this time, Niki was waiting nervously to see her groom. I love that Joe and his family all embrace Niki’s family’s culture and religion, plus two weddings = bonus!

When I’m asked about photographing weddings of other faiths it is always important to couples to see your experience. I always say that central to any marriage (in my mind) are the ideals of love, respect and commitment. So, despite not having photographed a marriage ceremony in a Gurdwara before, I was delighted that Niki & Joe picked me as their Sikh wedding photographer.

In that I’ve talked a bit about Niki & Joe after their pre-wedding shoot and their Syon Park wedding already, I thought it might be interesting to tell you a little bit about the Anand Karaj ceremony (in case it’s new to you)!

Initially the bride’s family receives the groom and his party in what’s called a milni. The male relatives meet & greet each other and exchange garlands. Then everyone eats breakfast.

During the ceremony the Four Laava are read which are marriage hymns. They talk of the four stages of love between spouses and also the human soul with the Supreme Soul. I love the explanation that “marriage is a spiritual journey of one soul in two bodies”. After each Laava the groom leads his bride clockwise around the Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the sacred book, kept under a golden pavilion).

The ceremony ends with bride and groom, then guests, receiving Karaah Parshaad which is a sacred sweet pudding and everyone goes to eat, again!

After all the formal proceedings Niki & Joe left the Gurdwara (with the ‘brothers’ pushing the car to send them on their way!). Niki said to me that usually this is all emotional as the mother says goodbye to her daughter. Niki also said that as they were meeting later that afternoon she knew she’d be fine. Famous last words! All I will say is that it was very touching watching the two of them wipe away each others tears and bidding an emotional farewell to one another.

It was such a lovely ceremony to witness and I’m so pleased I got to be part of it. A huge thanks to Niki’s family for making me feel so welcome; fed twice and a goodie bag of traditional sweets to take home. I genuinely have never been so spoilt.

Sikh wedding photographer