Sumisha & Aman's Gorgeous Sikh Mumbai Wedding

2014 Jan 20 - by Preeti
I always get excited when we get to feature a wedding from my Indian hometown of Mumbai.

Today we have Sumisha and Aman's Sikh wedding and reception as well as their amazingly fun mehndi!

They were married at the Dhan Pothar Gurudwara in Santacruz and had their reception at Worli.

Sumisha summarized her wedding in a way, I can only quote:

My wedding was special not because it was extravagant or stylish but because I felt very very loved. Blessed with a husband who tried to fulfill every wish of mine, a set of parents who gave me the freedom to make my choices without questioning me, family who beautifully balanced my wishes with the traditional customs, a sister who secretly looked into every little detail of my outfits, and friends who supported me in both my indulgent bride phase and bridezilla phase, it was my totally my scrapbook wedding in real time.

So well said. Let's get on with the interview, shall we?!

Tell us about the wedding!

Our wedding was as much about having fun and spending a lot of time with friends and family as it was about traditions. We added a little twist to the traditional mehendi functions by introducing masks and moustaches as props as people danced away to glory. 10th evening we did a formal reception with a traditional wedding cake cutting ceremony followed by a live band.

However the engagement was my favourite. We exchanged rings, in a dream-like setting and danced our hearts out. On the this day, we also had the "chunni" rasam, where the bride's mother-in-law makes the bride wear a chunni. She gives the bride clothes, jewellery and all things a girl would need to dress up from head to toe. Traditionally, meethe chawal or sweet rice are fed to the bride and this custom basically states that the girl is now 'ours.'

The mehendi function is all fun and dance, while the wedding ceremony or as we call 'Anand Karaz' is the most significant. The groom's sisters make him wear a sera (the beaded thing worn in front of his face) and feed the ghodi (horse) when he arrives to the gurudwara. They dance their way to the venue which in our case was a gurudwara sahib in Santacruz.

There the groom is seated in front of the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs and the bride is brought in for the pherras. In Anand Karaz there are four pheras where the groom leads the bride. The bride's father hands her the 'palla' which is referred to as Kanyadaan, the 'giving away of one's daughter.'

Kirtan, holy songs, play in the background as the bride and groom take the four pheras. After the pheras, there is the ardas where the bride and groom are announced as husband and wife and are blessed to live a healthy life of respect and love. The ceremony is gorgeous and it feels heavenly. I never felt this connected to God before!

It is short, non fussy, and it is stunning how the kirtan binds all the people sitting there witnessing the marriage. No court marriage in my opinion can replace this feeling of being married in the lap of guru granth sahib.

After the anand karaz and the lunch, the bride is sent away in the custom called bidhai. A very interesting custom I came across in Aman's family was the "khichdi" rasam. When the new bride reaches home after the doli, she is fed khichdi (a dal and rice preparation). Feeding khichdi is a symbol of having the bride mix with the family just like the dal and rice are mixed. But before that, she has to give a test. A bowl of ghee is kept with the khichdi and she is asked to put as much ghee as she pleases in the khichdi. It indicates how she as a daughter in law will balance the health and wealth in the family. More the ghee she puts, the more spendthrift she is supposed to be. Don't ask me how much ghee I put :P

At the reception, we decided to turn the tables a bit and went to each table and spent some time with the guests in batches (instead of standing on the stage). We had live singing, and a wee bit if dancing and the views of the Mumbai skyline! I could not have asked for a better venue for the celebration.

Tell us about the wedding saris and jewelry. What drew you to it?

I am very very particular about my outfits and my obsession with having everything perfect must have driven all my designers up the wall. But eventually I got what I wanted, and each dress was just as I had visualized it to be. I wanted to stay in the same family of colours for all my outfits. So I picked pink because it comes in a multitude of hues. For the engagement, I went for a combination of the English pink with dull gold, a not-so-common combination and a perfect mix of western and Indian shades. Most brides wear gowns on their engagements so I wanted to do something different. I opted for a gown saree where the lower part of the outfit had the fall and grace of a gown while the upper part had a pallu over a saree blouse. Delicate dull gold work that was more like an extravagant broach was placed perfectly on the shoulder with the pallu hanging behind like a trail. It gave me the freedom to dance all evening too!

For the mehendi, I opted for a traditional bridal mehendi colour outfit in combination with rani pink. I chose a lehenga saree for this occasion with a brocade choli which was a twist on the traditional lehenga, along with a bit of gota work. I paired it with a matching parandi which my mother in law bought from Patiala in Punjab and hit the dance floor with a vow to dance all night!

The wedding function was a traditional gurudwara wedding. Since the bride needs to cover her head, I opted for a two colour long anarkali outfit with a gorgeous dupatta that lent the outfit its grace and heaviness without actually being that heavy. From the front, the dupatta appears to be plain with only a thick border, but from behind, it has a spread of work lending the bridal feel. Pink, maroon and gold, this outfit was my dream come true. Since the outfit was so heavy, I opted for delicate shoes that also flaunted my mehendi on the feet. Tip, if you are wearing a churidhar, the brides feet come in the focus a lot.

For the reception, I choose a peach embroidered saree with a silver and crystal border. With my hair tied in a messy bun, this dress was elegant and attractive without screaming "I am the bride - look at me!"

What was your favorite part of the wedding?

Each and every moment of the wedding was memorable. Especially the engagement proposal dance where the groom's close family surprised me with dancing to "Marry Me" by Bruno Mars. This was the song Aman had proposed to me with originally. So it was special. Besides seeing your entire family dance to it and then he getting on to his knees and proposing in front of everyone else, was so dreamlike, or should I say... magical!

Also memorable was a small dance performance we both did to surprise our families. Aman never dances publically, so this was a big deal. His parents had their jaw dropped to the floor!

What advice would you give to brides planning a wedding?

Like many working brides, work, wedding planning, life and trials, can overtake, and overwhelm you. To best use my time, I took off alternate weeks for two months for my wedding preparations instead of taking an entire month. This way, regular work was staggered but not neglected, my trials (matchings and jewellery shopping) could be done 'aramse' (all in good time). So this is my biggest advice to working brides: stagger your leave to balance work, wedding planning,

and wedding shopping. Especially the latter, you will need to do several fittings and accessory shopping, which if staggered, gives you times to think about what you want.

Other things I learned:

  • Enjoy yourself. Enjoy yourself and Enjoy yourself! This day is not coming back.
  • Plan well in advance so you don't have things pending in the end. Take advice. Ask for help. Delegate. Trust them to do a good job.
  • Keep different make up artists for different functions. Each person is best at one look. By hiring different make up artists you get the best of all of them and you can also achieve different looks.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Dont experiment with new facials or treatments. Just do what you normally do.
  • Let your happiness show! Thats the best look!

Thank you so much for sharing your wedding! We wish you both the very best.

{Wedding Suppliers}

Photographer: Raj Shingnari

Venue: Dhan Pothar Gurudwara in Santacruz, Mumbai, India