A Traditional Sikh Wedding With a Twist at the Bride’s Home in the Finger Lakes

A longtime admirer of Pakistani style, Ravneet knew she wanted to work with a designer from the country for her ceremony look. “Traditionally, Indian brides wear red with lots of gold jewelry,” she says. “I knew I wanted something different. I wanted my outfit to be simple yet elegant.” The design house Elan helped bring her vision to life.

The bride also strayed from what’s typical when it comes to accessories, too–choosing not to wear heavy jewelry or choora, the traditional bangles that represent a newly married woman and are commonly worn by Indian brides. Instead, she opted for diamond studs, a headpiece from Maria Elena Bridal, and her mother’s gold bangle from her wedding.

Because her dress was very heavy and she knew she was going to be on her feet for most of the day, Ravneet chose to wear flats in the form of traditional Punjabi juttis (embroidered flats) from Needledust instead of heels for comfort. The bride’s hair and makeup, meanwhile, were done by her cousin Nav. “Similar to my outfit, I wanted my makeup to complement the simplicity of my outfit,” Ravneet says.

For Armish’s look, the couple worked with MNR Design Studio, where designer Mohsin Naveed Ranjha turned their ideas into a reality that exceeded their expectations. “We wanted his outfit to incorporate the two distinctive Sikh spirits together: warrior and royalty. We were inspired by Sikh warriors and generals from the Sikh empire such as Hari Singh Nalwa and Jassa Singh Ahluwalia,” Ravneet explains. “Mohsin Naveed Ranjha is talented, thoughtful, and seriously creative—he can turn a vague idea into an incredible piece of art.” 

The couple married at the end of August in a traditional Sikh ceremony called Anand Karaj, which means a blissful union of the two souls. “This union is completed with four laavan, where the bride and groom go around the Guru Granth Sahib, our holy scripture,” Ravneet says. “Each phera, where we encircle the Guru Granth Sahib, has a verse associated with it which describes the various stages of marital love and the importance of a wedding. In Sikhism, the ideal life of a person is neither abstinence nor renunciation, but rather a balanced life. It is a celebration of love, life, and joy. During the ceremony, we felt an unusual sense of calm. We both knew the importance of the ceremony to each other as well as to our families. We were finally taking our first step in committing ourselves to following the same path in life.”

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