A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – wedding day (part 3)

So the religious ceremony is complete. Many couples also have their registry marriage at the temple or on the same day as the Chunni. In this part of a Guide to Punjabi weddings, it’s time to eat!


Traditionally, the bride’s family will provide the groom’s family with the wedding dinner. This is because the wedding was performed in the hometown or village of the bride, thus the groom’s family are, in effect, the guests.

Historically, dinner would be served in the gurdwara, where no alcohol or meat is permitted. Or the bride’s family would erect a tent near their home to feed the congregation.

white backdropBut in the modern world, parties are the rage. The bigger, bolder and grander; the better – or so is the perception of many families. Some wedding couples opt for unique features to their reception, such as dance groups or musicians, children’s entertainment (such as jumping castles, caricature artists, clowns).

Soul Sounds DJsContact us to find out other ways to ensure your wedding creates lasting impressions, such as with this elegant backdrops.

The venue and catering is often considered the responsibility of the bride’s family. The DJ and any other entertainment is usually for the groom’s family to arrange. However, sharing cost and arrangement of wedding receptions is fast becoming a trend now.

For those families who stick to a traditional wedding, where the lunch is served at the temple; sagan (blessing) is given to the newlywed couple straight after the Anand Karaj. Otherwise, it is given at the reception venue. This involves guests taking it in turns to bless the couple by giving money.

Brides and grooms – remember to stay equipped with a handkerchief-sized fabric (ideally red, which is considered auspicious) for you to collect your money during the sagan ceremony!

Roti sagan

As mentioned earlier, the bride’s family provide food to the wedding congregation. As a sign of respect, this is brought to the groom’s father first and then fed to the newlyweds.

Ladies milni

Some families opt to do the ladies milni during the wedding reception because all the relatives are already gathered. Otherwise, they leave it until the following day.

Don’t forget the haar (garlands) and thoothiyan (semi-coconuts filled with dry fruit), which both sides exchange.

Wedding favours

The parents will give a wedding favour in the form of something sweet, such as Indian sweets or chocolates, to the guests. Traditionally, ladoo were given but overtime people tend to exchange chocolates or biscuits instead.


After the reception, close relatives and friends from both families will gather at the bride’s paternal home for the dholi, which is when the bride departs to her new home. The groom’s mother doesn’t go.

The bride and groom are sat together in a larger room in the house. The bride’s parents usually give a gift to both of them, such as watches. Then they stand and rice is held in a bowl in front of the bride. She scoops handfuls of it and throws it behind her and in each corner of the room.

This symbolises her declaration that she is leaving her paternal home and taking nothing with her. The couple are then walked to the car and each relative takes it in turns to bid farewell.

As the groom’s car departs, the bride’s brothers will push it for dholia little distance. Traditionally, the bride would be carried in a palanquin, which her brothers would carry to the groom’s house.

As the wedding car departs, the groom’s father throws money (usually small change) ahead of the car. In India, this money is picked up by poor children who are excited and happy at the prospect of getting money. Their happiness is considered to bring good luck and well wishes on the newlyweds.

Paani vaar

dholiWhen they arrive to the groom’s house, the groom’s mother is waiting to greet her daughter-in-law and son. She stands in the doorway with a garvi (small pot or glass) full of half water, half milk. She blesses the couple before they enter by holding the garvi around their heads and trying to drink it. The groom will playfully try to stop his mother from drinking it. On the seventh attempt, he lets her drink it. The mother pours a little oil on either side of the door.

This mischievousness symbolises the happiness in the wedding house at the arrival of a new family member. The paani vaar is also a means of blessing the couple and removing any evil eye before they enter the home together.

They are then sat together in the house and told to share a glass of milk. This is because sharing food or drink is considered to enhance love in a relationship!

The groom’s mother will welcome her daughter-in-law with a gift, which is often jewellery that is passed down in the family. Then, many families will celebrate further by partying into the early hours of the night!


  • Book DJ
  • Arrange wedding cake
  • Knife to cut cake
  • Book venue
  • Venue decoration
  • Book catering
  • Book waiting staff
  • Consider entertainment – dancers? Singers? Musicians?
  • Wedding favours
  • Haar (garlands) for ladies milni
  • Thoothiyan for ladies milni
  • Handkerchief-sized fabric for bride and groom during sagan ceremony
  • Rice for doli ceremony
  • Gifts for newlyweds from bride’s family
  • Garvi
  • Oil

So that was a Guide to Punjabi Weddings. We hope you found it informative and interesting. Don’t forget to go through the checklists to make sure you’re prepared for each day. If you need help in planning, booking or renting anything for your wedding, don’t hesitate to contact Epic Events!

About Raj Kaur Bilkhu-Sohal

Raj Kaur Bilkhu-Sohal is a journalist from Birmingham, who now lives in London.
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3 Responses to A Guide to Punjabi Weddings – wedding day (part 3)

  1. Pingback: A Guide to Punjabi Weddings | Epic Events

  2. Catrina says:

    Hello, thank you very helpful.

    When do the wedding bands get exchanged if the engagement bands is placed on the ladies finger at the chunni?

    After visiting other weddings this is carried out at the temple. Is this right?

    • Raj Bilkhu says:

      Yes the wedding bands are exchanged at the civil marriage – this could be at the temple. The engagement ring (which is not a Punjabi tradition) is often given to the bride at the chunni ceremony.

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