Outdoor wedding ceremonies are beautiful - there's no doubt about it. In addition to the considerations that go into planning an outdoor wedding, there are additional unique criteria for an outdoor Sikh wedding, or Anand Karaj.
Here are 5 things you should have for your outdoor Sikh wedding ceremony.
1. Outdoor Palki Sahib/Stage
The Anand Karaj is a religious marriage ceremony involving the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, a holy book of scripture in Sikhism.
The Guru Ji must always be kept at an elevation from the sangat, or congregation. Also, hung overhead is a fabric called the Chandoa Sahib which marks the holy space.
This set up is an absolute must for a Sikh ceremony.
Some venues have structures, such as gazebos, which can be converted into a Palki sahib providing a designated sacred space.
However, if your Sikh ceremony will be in a backyard or another open space, you will require a temporary structure to create a palki sahib. There are many options you can choose from and your decor company can help design one for you!
2. Guest seating for an outdoor Sikh Wedding Ceremony
During the Anand Karaj, all attendees are seated on the floor for a duration of at least 40 minutes. In a traditional Sikh ceremony at a Gurdwara, the flooring is carpeted to make comfortable seating.
In an outdoor Anand Karaj, the floor space may be grass or concrete - not very comfortable to sit on!
Consider installing carpet under-padding and/or carpets to help create a comfortable seating area for guests. The padding can be covered with sheets to look cohesive with the ceremony space. For additional comfort, you can place pillows for guests to sit on.
Talk to your decor company to see what options are available.
3. Sun protection for an outdoor wedding
One advantage of an outdoor Sikh wedding is the natural sunlight. However, sunlight requires sun protection! In addition, the midday sun can be quite bright and quite hot.
Some things that can help make the ceremony more comfortable include setting up a tent or some overhead coverage, and providing parasols or paper fans.
4. A place to put your shoes
When a guest attends an outdoor Sikh ceremony, one question they must contend with is "Where do I put my shoes?"
It is mandatory for guests at a Sikh wedding ceremony to remove their shoes, even if the ceremony is outdoors.
Consider setting up a designated area, perhaps a shelf, where guests can remove their shoes before entering the ceremony area.
Most outdoor wedding venues in the GTA are not inherently designed to accommodate a Sikh wedding ceremony. The layout of the venue may be confusing for guests to know where they are meant to go.
A signpost is a great way to add a bit of fun decor and also provide a helpful guide for your guests to navigate your wedding.
Bonus: A hand wash station
In a Gurdwara, individuals will wash their hands to cleanse before entering the sacred space. An unexpected and thoughtful gesture for your guests is to have a portable hand wash station available as guests are removing their shoes and entering the ceremony area.