Being a Sikh wedding guest – dos and don’ts

When it comes to weddings, there are different rituals and customs in each culture. However, most of the times, the wedding signifies the same thing – the bonding between two loving persons. In the Sikh culture for instance, the groom and the bride are said to be “one soul in two bodies”. Most rituals existing in this culture are to be performed by the grooms and their closest relatives (i.e. their parents). But this doesn’t mean that if you go to a Sikh wedding as a guest there aren’t things you have to consider. Here are the dos and don’ts when attending a Sikh wedding.

 

Outfits dos and don’ts

In case ethnic clothes are not allowed, men can wear western suits usually in darker colors, such as brown, blue, or grey, but they can also opt for lighter colors, such as beige and lime. Otherwise, the traditional Punjabi or some other ethnic clothes are the right choice for this type of event.

Women on the other hand wear the traditional Punjabi dress and should opt for bright colors, such as orange, blue, pink, green or multi-colors dresses. Don’t choose dresses with bare shoulders, short skirts or plunging necklines when attending the religious venue. You can wear them at the reception instead, if it doesn’t take place in the Gurdwara.

Sikh weddings are known for their colorful outfits, because it’s a tradition to wear joyous and vibrant colors to this type of occasions. This is the reason why it is recommended to avoid wearing pure white or black outfits, not because it’s forbidden, but because it may make you feel like out of the place.

Dos and don’ts in the Gurdwara

Women must carry a long scarf with them when attending a Sikh wedding, because they will have to cover their heads when inside the Gurdwara. The same goes for men – they will have to cover their heads. Thus, they can either choose to wear the head covering that can be found at the temple or opt to carry a large colored or white handkerchief in order to place it over their heads.

It is also essential to take off your shoes when entering the temple and place them in the space specifically designed for this. Depending on the place and temple’s policy, you will be required to walk in barefooted or wearing socks.

Other useful tips to consider

  • Don’t forget to bring the grooms a gift if you are a very close relative to them. Otherwise, if you are not that close to them, it’s not a common practice to bring gifts.
  • Do give the wedded couple money. During the ceremony called “Sagaan”, which usually takes place after the religious ceremony, all guests, or at least most of them, will give money as a gift to the newly couple. The sum is around $10.
  • A modern practice is to put the money in a congratulation card and to offer it to the groom or the mother of the bride, depending on which party invited you to the special occasion.