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About The Sikh Ceremony

This is only an outline of a Sikh marriage ceremony.

The Sikh holy book (Sri Guru Granth Sahib) is placed on a table or altar at the head of the room. In keeping with custom guests sit on the carpeted floor. Guests’ heads are covered with a turban, handkerchief, scarf, bandana as a sign of respect. Shoes are removed in order to keep the floor clean to sit on. Scarves are supplied for those who do not bring their own head covering.

On entering the room men sit to the right and women to the left leaving an aisle in the center (in practice, guests may sit anywhere).

Music is an integral part of the ceremony. Throughout the ceremony, musicians (Ragis) play their instruments and sing the appropriate hymns.

The Entrance

For Sikhs there is a ritual upon entering a room where the holy book is installed. They acknowledge the book by bowing before it. This is not really necessary for non-Sikhs; these guests, if they wish, can simply nod their heads head in acknowledgement on entering.

On entering guests sit down on the floor facing the altar. (chairs are usually provided for those unable to sit on the floor).

Anand Karaj or Ceremony of Bliss

Once all is ready the wedding begins. The bride and groom sit together in front of the holy book. The person leading the ceremony (holy man or officiant) sits behind the holy book and reads from it.

The Ardas

The wedding ceremony starts with the officiant leading a short prayer (Ardas) seeking the blessing for the marriage. For this Ardas, at the beginning, the bride and groom and their parents stand. Traditionally, at this point, the parents indicate their approval of the match.

The officiant then performs the Hukum Nama. He opens the holy book at a random page and reads the "message of the day". It is believed that this message is God's advice for the occasion.

The Pulla

In preparation for the main part of the ceremony the bride’s father presents a garland to the holy book. He takes a long sash (Pulla), and gives one end of it to the groom and the other to the bride. He then garlands the bride and groom.

The Laavaa

The bride and groom stand and begin the main part of the ceremony (Laavaa). They walk once around the holy book for each of the four stanzas of Laavaa. Each stanza is read from the holy book by the officiant and then sung by the Ragis as the bride and groom walk around. After the fourth Laav the bride and groom are considered wed in the Sikh tradition although not legally wed at this point.

The Civil Ceremony

The bride and groom stand and position themselves so their backs are not towards the holy book. The officiant comes forward and performs the civil ceremony which is usually much shorter than the traditional ceremony. It may consist of just the vows and exchange of rings followed immediately by the signing of the certificates of marriage.


The Ragis will a hymn (Anand Sahib) followed by a closing prayer (Ardaas) during which everyone stands.

Another random page is sought from the holy book for the "Message of the Day for All". While this is being read, sweets (Parshaad) are given to everyone.

My goal is to help all couples, regardless of their religious affiliation or non-affiliation. I respect all cultures and creeds and deliver a ceremony with dignity and respect, regardless of whether or not I share the same beliefs. Click here for a brief explanation of my beliefs.