Parbhat and Parveen celebrated their incredible Indian wedding….in both Manchester and Wolverhampton!
My day began very early in the morning in Manchester, photographing Parbhat as his family members decorated him in traditional Indian finery - including a ‘sehra’ to cover his face - before taking part in his ‘Baraat’.
Once dressed, Parbhat was given his Kirpan (sword), to symbolise that he will protect his wife during their future life together.
The ‘Baraat’ is a custom whereby the groom is brought to the venue on a ceremonial horse - although as the ceremony was to take place in the Midlands, and we were in Manchester, in this case it was more symbolic.
But with the beating Dhol drums, and lots of singing and dancing, as well as a regal-looking white horse and a groom looking like royalty, it really was quite the treat for me to photograph.
Then it was in to my car to jump on the M6 and head down to the bride ahead of the Anand Karaj (Sikh ceremony).
Arriving at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara (Sikh Temple), we were greeted by the bride Parveen’s family and a quick ceremony, called a Milni, was performed to introduce and unite the two families.
After a quick breakfast inside, it was on to the Sikh wedding ceremony, which itself was fascinating, with so many different customs and traditions, and lots of emotion in the Gurdwara.
At the front of the ceremony room was the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh sacred scripture), and as part of the service the couple walked around it several times whilst the Laavan (wedding prayer) was recited, as a symbol of centering the holy text in their lives.
The ceremony lasted around an hour, and then we all headed to Five Rivers A La Carte for a slap-up lunch.
With bellies full, the wedding cake was brought out, and members of both families took turns to either feed it to the newly weds, or in turn be fed themselves, all the while lavishing gifts on the happy couple.
Family is obviously at the centre of Sikh lives, and it was lovely to see all the different ways they are included throughout the day.
After the meal, Parbhat headed to Parveen’s home, where he was symbolically 'locked out’ of the house until he had agreed to pay Parveen’s sisters a certain amount of money (during which, he is inevitably teased for not giving enough), before eventually cutting a length of string and stepping over the threshold.
More traditions ensued, culminating in Parveen being led out of the house whilst throwing grains of rice over her shoulder, to show that she is leaving with nothing.
And then it was back on to the M6 to come back to Manchester, where the day culminated with more traditions at Parbhat’s home.
All in all, it was an incredible experience and a genuine privilege to photograph.
Another huge, huge congrats to Parbhat and Parveen.
And here for your viewing pleasure is but a selection of my pics from their big day: