Sat Sri Akaal, Gurjunt and Simran!

Sat sri akaal is a greeting in Punjabi language used mostly by Sikhs. Sat means "Truth", Sri is an honorific word, and Akaal meaning "The timeless being, God." For Punjabis, this is how they greet each other. For me, it's my way of connecting to them and that's also how I get to feel their warm response. :)

It was FOUR CRAZY AWESOME DAYS of back-to-back wedding events for Janti and Sim's East Indian wedding and to witness and experience beautiful traditions unfold before my very eyes is a truly humbling and amazing experience. 

DAY 1: Started with Janti's folks Mehndi and I knew right then and there that it's going to be one absolutely and overwhelmingly beautiful wedding.
 

Manjot, Mom Kuldip, Janti, and Dad Gurdeep.

Manjot, Mom Kuldip, Janti, and Dad Gurdeep.

Day 1: The Sangeet ceremony is all about dance and music. During the olden times, the Sangeet is exclusively for women and organized and observed only by the bride's family. But times have changed. Sangeet is now also observed by the groom's family! Oh what an evening of colors and movement!

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The evening is capped with Jaago, which literally mean, wake up! Wedding fetivities has begun!

DAY 2: It's a day so windy, not much of the guests were able to use to the tents at the front and back of the Sim's house. Talk about cold! This day has multi-events as well. It's when Sim does her Mehndi, Maiya, and Choora. This is also the day when Janti's family observe Maiyan! It's gonna be really interesting. Lol

In the meantime, at Janti's place, the wind just won't stop. The ceremony was halted briefly, but then again who's to stop a tradition from happening?

Even Janti and his cousin had to hold on to this support pole otherwise, their huge tent would be ransacked by the howling winds outside.

Even Janti and his cousin had to hold on to this support pole otherwise, their huge tent would be ransacked by the howling winds outside.

Janti's uncle arrives to proceed with the Vatna ceremony.

Janti's uncle arrives to proceed with the Vatna ceremony.

"Oh, I think we have something to observe today! Is Janti ready?"

"Oh, I think we have something to observe today! Is Janti ready?"

Thought bubble: "Oh no, this will get really messy."

Thought bubble: "Oh no, this will get really messy."

Those colorful designs are what they usually call a rangoli. The design could be as intricate or as simple. There is no hard and fast rule to how it should look like. The groom now sits in front of it as he prepares for the Vatna to be applied. Family and friends then begin rubbing the yellow subtance on the boy or girl. This is concentrated on the face, arms, hands and feet. This ceremony is totally playful. Relatives may apply the vatna on every available body part while the ladies sing at the background.

"Knew it."

"Knew it."

After the Vatna, Janti cleans up.

And the merriment continues!

And the merriment continues!

Back at Sim's house, they proceed with the Maiya ceremony as well

After the ceremony, Mom collects the colored rice and makes sure her wet hands got some stickings.

After the ceremony, Mom collects the colored rice and makes sure her wet hands got some stickings.

And proceeds to smear the wall with the rice. This gives protection and goodluck to the family. After this, Sim will now continue with her wedding traditions and she finishes this day with the Choora ceremony. Traditionally, Choora ceremonies are held on the morning of the wedding or the day before. The bride's maternal uncle and aunt give her a set of Choora (21 bangles in red and white ivory). The bride should ideally wear the Choora for at least a year. It is now normal for the bride to wear her Choora for a month and a quarter (40 days). And no, you can't mix the bangles up as they are worn in order.

And proceeds to smear the wall with the rice. This gives protection and goodluck to the family.

After this, Sim will now continue with her wedding traditions and she finishes this day with the Choora ceremony. Traditionally, Choora ceremonies are held on the morning of the wedding or the day before. The bride's maternal uncle and aunt give her a set of Choora (21 bangles in red and white ivory). The bride should ideally wear the Choora for at least a year. It is now normal for the bride to wear her Choora for a month and a quarter (40 days). And no, you can't mix the bangles up as they are worn in order.

With Dad Balvinder, Mom Ravinder, Guvinder and Soni.

With Dad Balvinder, Mom Ravinder, Guvinder and Soni.

DAY 3: Wedding Day. Woke up at 5am to get to Sim's house at exactly 6 to capture her preparations for the wedding.

Sim arrives at the Gurdwara first.

Sim arrives at the Gurdwara first.

The groom and the bride's family doing the Milni traditions, Milni means Introduction! They give out heavily made garlands as a manner of saying, we accept you in the family.

The groom and the bride's family doing the Milni traditions, Milni means Introduction! They give out heavily made garlands as a manner of saying, we accept you in the family.

Janti and Sim in a sea of colors.

Janti and Sim in a sea of colors.

Now time for Sim and Janti to do the Laavaan, in which the bride and groom walks around the altar with long scarf in tow. 

Now time for Sim and Janti to do the Laavaan, in which the bride and groom walks around the altar with long scarf in tow. 

It is to symbolize that the altar, or the officiant, or the Guru, is at the center of the marriage.

It is to symbolize that the altar, or the officiant, or the Guru, is at the center of the marriage.

Janti and Sim after a thousand "1, 2, 3! Once more! 1, 2, 3! And another one!..." Sorry kids! :)

Janti and Sim after a thousand "1, 2, 3! Once more! 1, 2, 3! And another one!..." Sorry kids! :)

The whole brdial party just chilling at the Party bus, en route to the photoshoot location!

The whole brdial party just chilling at the Party bus, en route to the photoshoot location!

And so Janti's shoes are missing here. It's another wedding tradition called Joota Chupai. Literally meaning "to hide the shoes", the bride's bridal party / sisters steal the groom's shoes. Holding the pair of shoes as a hostage, the sisters/ bridal party charges the groom a fee for the return of the missing shoes.

And so Janti's shoes are missing here. It's another wedding tradition called Joota Chupai. Literally meaning "to hide the shoes", the bride's bridal party / sisters steal the groom's shoes. Holding the pair of shoes as a hostage, the sisters/ bridal party charges the groom a fee for the return of the missing shoes.

Did he just kiss me???

Did he just kiss me???

The lovely bridesmaids and the debonair groomsmen with the stunning bride and groom.

The lovely bridesmaids and the debonair groomsmen with the stunning bride and groom.

After the shoot, Janti and the bride separates. The groom and the groomsmen are left outside, and they can't enter the house without the payment for the pair of shoes.

After the shoot, Janti and the bride separates. The groom and the groomsmen are left outside, and they can't enter the house without the payment for the pair of shoes.

This is when things started becoming sticky and messy. Forcefully making their way and not wanting to pay for anything, the groomsmen steps things up a bit.

This is when things started becoming sticky and messy. Forcefully making their way and not wanting to pay for anything, the groomsmen steps things up a bit.

But they're just not having it. Money or no entry.

But they're just not having it. Money or no entry.

After hearing a couple of thousands thrown out, finally they're let in.

After hearing a couple of thousands thrown out, finally they're let in.

Now for the Dholi. This marks the departure of the bride from her parent's house. The ritual bids her well and gives good wishes for her parents. This part is happy and somewhat sad as the bride says goodbye to her family.

Now for the Dholi. This marks the departure of the bride from her parent's house. The ritual bids her well and gives good wishes for her parents. This part is happy and somewhat sad as the bride says goodbye to her family.

The bride throws phulian or puffed rice over her head. It means good wishes for her parents.

The bride throws phulian or puffed rice over her head. It means good wishes for her parents.

The mother of the groom now greets the arrival of her son and new wife. 

The mother of the groom now greets the arrival of her son and new wife. 

Holding a glass of a glass of water in her hand, which she circles 3 times around her bahu and then offers it to her to drink, as a symbol of her acceptance and blessing as her newest daughter.

Holding a glass of a glass of water in her hand, which she circles 3 times around her bahu and then offers it to her to drink, as a symbol of her acceptance and blessing as her newest daughter.

But things ain't over yet, the groom still needs to make sure they pay an amount for their entrance in the household.

But things ain't over yet, the groom still needs to make sure they pay an amount for their entrance in the household.

The groom's brother, hearing that they paid ransom for his shoes back at the bride's household, demands payment as well from the bride. The rest of the evening is now spent chatting and drinking and eating. 

The groom's brother, hearing that they paid ransom for his shoes back at the bride's household, demands payment as well from the bride. The rest of the evening is now spent chatting and drinking and eating. 

Loooong day! But it's all worth it! Up next: The Reception

DAY 4: Had a photoshoot with the newlyweds at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald before they head out to their wonderful reception!

If this can't be called killer high heels, I don't know what can be.

If this can't be called killer high heels, I don't know what can be.

The stage for the reception. Donned with exquisite lighting setup and amazing tones and fixture.

The stage for the reception. Donned with exquisite lighting setup and amazing tones and fixture.

Janti and Sim makes their entrance like bollywood celebrities!

Janti and Sim makes their entrance like bollywood celebrities!

Sim and Janti giving their speeches and acknowledgments.

Sim and Janti giving their speeches and acknowledgments.

And of course, everyone had to join them for dancing after their first dance as newlyweds.

And of course, everyone had to join them for dancing after their first dance as newlyweds.

And the partying continues.

And the partying continues.

Working with these guys has been such a breathtaking experience!

Acknowledgment to Leroy Schulz Photography. The last image would make a stunning album cover! 
Congratulations, Janti and Sim! Sat Sri Akaal!