Although I find bridezillas completely insupportable, I generally quite enjoy attending weddings. It's just as well, cos I've reached the age where I'm being invited to more and more of them. I thought I'd been to all kinds of weddings, ranging from the good (at one I sang Al Green's Let's Stay Together - if the name doesn't ring a bell you may know it as track 3 from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack - and at my friend Gumby's wedding her dancer sister performed an awesome interpretive dance to the string arrangement of Bjork's Hyperballad), the not-so-good (I can't forget that misogynistic Bible reading that made a row of us squirm with discomfort a few years ago) and the near-disastrous (Aunty J's wedding was flooded, the marquee literally washed away, but after cancelling the whole thing the rain stopped we were able to reconvene/reschedule for later in the day and it was beautiful)... but a few weeks ago I went to my first ever Sikh wedding!
The groom in question was my good friend and work colleague T who looked very dashing, and his bride J was extremely gorgeous and radiant. The ceremony took place at the gurdwara (Sikh temple) on the Hume Highway in Craigieburn - a huge fantastical building with a large central dome and four smaller cupolas in each corner (currently undergoing renovations). A big group of us from work attended, and we were careful to obey Sikh temple etiquette so we all wore head scarves (girls as well as boys, the latter group looking like extras from an amateur production of Pirates of Penzance) and left our shoes at the door.
The wedding ceremony, surrounding rituals and music were all extremely interesting to an outside observer like myself. You can read about what the ceremony entails here.
At the end of the ceremony, the priests handed out Parshad, a sweet flour-based dough which is regarded as food blessed by the Guru. The Parshad was prepared and distributed by the priests into our cupped hands from the silver bowls in the above photo. It was served warm, was very oily because of the ghee content (a recipe can be found here) and was not really to my taste, but I'm glad I decided to eat it rather than just wrap it up in a napkin and stash it in my purse.
When the ceremony was over we all sat down on the floor in the outer hall and had a delicious vegetarian lunch. The chickpea and mixed veggie curries were accompanied by saffron rice and an unusually spongy bread - sort of a cross between naan and injera. For dessert, we each got a laddu, a flour-based ball dipped in sugar syrup and fried in ghee (a recipe is here). sinful but soooo good! :)