Your wedding was modern yet traditional.
When you were together/engaged, how did you think your wedding would be as Rich is a christian and Sandeep is a sikh?
Rich: I think since we had been dating for so long, we had discussed our future wedding plans in quite a bit of detail. I’m not as religious as Sandeep, but it was important for both of us that we have both a Sikh ceremony and a Christian ceremony. It was also the right decision to make to make sure both of our families were happy, because as they say, you don’t marry a person, you marry a family.
Sandeep: As Rich has so eloquently put it already…we had discussed it many times while we were dating so we knew we would have two ceremonies. I’d say for me it was a dream as a young girl to wear a white wedding gown and have a Sikh ceremony. I was fortunate enough to get the wedding of my dreams.
Rich: By the way, the white wedding gown, that’s the reason she targeted me. Well that and my dashing good looks.
How did you come to the conclusion of having two ceremonies?
Sandeep: It was important to both of us and our families to respect each others religion. My parents are deeply devout Sikhs and have raised me to love my religion, I would not have considered it an actual marriage without the Sikh ceremony.
What problems did you have to overcome with having the two?
Rich: Growing my beard! I’m just kidding.
Sandeep: Fortunately we didn’t have any issues, trying to organize it all was probably the biggest challenge.
What were the highlights of having both ceremonies?
Sandeep: For me it was having the traditional Indian wedding that every Sikh girl grows up dreaming of along with the fairy tale white gown Christian wedding.
The Phere were truly the most beautiful and serene part of our wedding for me. I’m not sure why, maybe it was because I was in Guru’s presence but I felt strangely calm as I waited for the Baraat to arrive. I remember waiting in a small yet cozy room while family members and guests drifted in and out. I anxiously watched through a window once they arrived, in hopes of getting a glimpse of Rich as a Sardar on the horse. I was very excited to see what he looked like as he’s usually clean shaven. I had no doubts that he looked like a maharaja. Once everyone was settled, I walked out with my sisters in front of me and my brothers behind me. Even though everyone’s eyes were on me, I didn’t feel nervous or anxious, just peaceful and excited to finally marry the love of my life in front of God.
Then came the bride all dressed in white…I loved wearing my wedding gown and walking down the aisle with my dad by my side. Seeing Rich at the front of the aisle smiling at me, looking so handsome in his tux, took my breath away. We exchanged vows, rings and promises. It felt like a fairy tale wedding…I not only got everything I had ever dreamed of but I got to marry my soul mate twice in one weekend.
I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
Rich: To be honest, on the 26th, at the Gurdwara, my heart was pounding and probably racing at unhealthy levels. I was nervous, I was excited, I would even say I probably felt a little jittery. But the moment Sandeep stepped into the Darbar hall, it was like something else just took over, it was such a surreal experience, everything slowed down, she looked absolutely gorgeous and I was captivated in that moment until the ceremony was over.
Lucky me, I can’t say I was as nervous on the 27th for the Christian ceremony. Nor did I expect similar effects on me when she walked in. However I was quite wrong, because as soon as those two french doors opened up and I laid eyes on her, I was once again mesmerized and captivated. I guess the highlights for me was seeing my bride dressed to the nines twice.
If you had to change anything about your wedding, what would you change?
Rich: Probably would be to change the timing/location of the Christian ceremony. It would have been amazing to have done it outside, in a beautiful garden. But given the time of year, November isn’t the ideal time to spend an hour in a garden.
Sandeep: The location of the Sangeet party - the hall was too small for all the party animals!
What advice would you give for other couples in the same situation?
Rich: Sit down and talk to the families! Sometimes there’s misconceptions or misunderstandings of religions, this can lead to problems.
Sandeep: I agree with Rich, every detail needs to be discussed beforehand amongst the families so there are no miscommunications. Respect each other and one another’s families. What one person may find strange, another may find it to be a long standing tradition.
Rich: Our parents and families got together on several occasions before we started planning actual events so we could discuss in depth what both families expected of each other and how we would go about doing things. Certain ceremonies were uncompromisable while others were done in a way that appeased both families.
Photography by Park Ave www.parkavestudio.com