Taking snapshots of an Asian wedding— specifically a Sikh one—requires a different skillset. For starters, a professional wedding photographer must know the do’s and don’ts in Sikhism.
When your country used to have an empire that covered a quarter of the world, the influx of cultures to and from the home country stays for good. From a small community in the U.K. before World War II, Indians have swelled to a population of more than 400,000, 97 percent of which are concentrated in England. Today, they’re just as British as any natural Briton.
Regardless, the Sikh culture stayed intact. A Sikh wedding, for instance, is far from a typical Western one. Asians, in general, are known to take wedding traditions seriously. If you aren’t careful as a guest, you just might end up being escorted out of the ceremony. For this reason, it is important for guests to understand the traditions and religious implications of the ceremonies to ensure the sanctity of the occasion.
Wedding planning expert Raana Chaudhry explains some do’s and don’ts in a Sikh wedding in a Huffington Post interview. Many of these refer to the proper attire.
“Before you enter the main hall of the Gurdwara (a Sikh place of worship), take off your shoes.”
Everyone is barefoot during the ceremony. Not only does taking off your shoes show respect for the living spirit, it makes sitting cross-legged easier. The typical Gurdwara doesn’t provide chairs since everyone sits on the floor. You can bet the Asian wedding photographer in London will not be an exception.
Head Scarf or Headband
“When you’re at the wedding ceremony, cover your head with a head scarf if you’re a woman, or a bandana if you’re a man. The Gurdwara or the couples’ family will provide you with head coverings.”
Head scarves for women and headbands for men aren’t only limited to the couple, and guests and the wedding crew are expected to comply with the tradition.
Guests in a Sikh wedding can come in Western formal clothing, especially the men, but it will be more appreciated if they can come in Indian attire. Ladies should avoid wearing all-black clothing as this represents the colour of mourning. Bright colours should be worn, but not too bright as to outshine the bride or groom.
Wedding photographers like those from Pixcellence Photography should deem it important to learn Sikh wedding traditions if they are to capture images from the occasion. After all, the best photographers not only take pictures, but comprehensively tell each event’s unique story through beautiful photography.
(Source: 11 Things You Need To Know Before You Attend A Sikh Wedding, Huffington Post, April 9, 2014)