Sikhism is one of the main religions in India. Many Sikhs live in northern India on the border of Pakistan in the Punjab region. Take a look at additional details of Sikh wedding celebrations.

The groom and his family wait outside the Gurdwara.

In Sikh weddings, the bride’s and groom’s families approach the Gurdwara from opposite sides and greet each other before entering the ceremony. Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Westwood

Throughout the celebrations, guests bring cash to the bride and groom as gifts, shoving the money into their pockets or dropping it into their laps.

Pre-Wedding Rituals

As the bride gets ready, her female relations rub turmeric powder with oil on her body for luck. 


The bride wears a bindi (a drop) as a forehead decoration and bangles on her wrists. The father often puts some of the bangles on the bride. The bride wears a veil covered in ornamentation and a wedding dress in the traditional color—red.


The groom traditionally wears a long beard. He dons a decorated turban that sets him apart from the other guests, who all wear other head coverings required to be worn when entering the Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship. He also often carries a sword as a symbol of the religious persecution that the Sikhs have suffered.


At the wedding, the families arrive in a large processional with a strong drumbeat and dancing as they walk toward the outer gate of the Gurdwara. The mothers of the couple share an embrace, as do the fathers, the eldest uncles, and so forth. 


Before the groom can enter the Gurdwara, the sisters of the bride “steal” something from the groom, such as a shoe. He must bribe them to give it back and let him into the wedding. The sisters and the groom jokingly bargain until they reach an agreement so the groom can enter the Gurdwara. 

This Sikh couple awaits their wedding ceremony.

This Sikh couple sit amidst friends and family dressed in traditional Sikh attire while waiting for their wedding ceremony to begin in the Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship. Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Westwood



As the bride and groom and guests enter the Gurdwara, they hear the singing of Ragis, musicians who sing Kirtan, devotional songs from the Sikh scriptures. The men and women sit in separate groups on opposite sides of the room during the ceremony. 

Marinda Quist