In Sikhism, many marriages are arranged according to tradition for the prospective bride and groom by a Vichola, or a go between, who represents the families. Even in modern times bride and groom may meet for the first time on their wedding day. In the Sikh tradition, a groom's family and wedding party known as Barat meets with the bride's family at the gurdwara in a custom known as milni. Gifts may be exchanged and tea, non-alcoholic beverages, with tasty sweets and salty snacks, or a light breakfast, offered in the gurdwara reception area, or langar hall.
Devout Gursikh families prepare for the coming nuptials by inviting sangat and family to help conduct a complete reading of Guru Granth Sahib paath and for devotional singing of day time kirtan, or all night rain sabaee kirtan, either prior to the wedding, or immediately following the wedding.
In Western countries such as America, where Sikhism is relatively new, guests of the bridal couple may wonder what to wear to a Sikh wedding.
Attending a Sikh Wedding by Pavan Deep Kaur:
"Below is a brief guide to what to expect and what to wear at a Sikh wedding.
1. Milni: Milni (means "formal meeting of the families"). The Ardaas (standing prayer) will be performed by the Granthi (priest) followed by formal introductions of the main players in the families.
2. Tea: Tea, with breakfast, and sweets will be served and are normally taken sitting on the floor or standing.
3. Proper Attire and Behavior for the gurdwara: [Attire] People of all religious backgrounds are welcomed into a Sikh gurdwara. All visitors must remove their shoes and cover their head with a headscarf before entering the gurdwara. Headscarves will be provided at the gurdwara; however, guests are encouraged to bring their own scarf or handkerchief (one that is big enough to cover your entire head).
Please dress appropriately so that you can sit, both comfortably and with decency, on the carpeted floor. It is recommended that you wear loose fitting clothing which covers your legs and is not excessively revealing. Visitors are also forbidden to go into the gurdwara while they are intoxicated or in possession of alcohol, tobacco or meat products. Men and women sit on different sides of the hall, separated in the middle by a pathway that leads to the Guru Granth Sahib."
"Q: I've never been to a Sikh wedding, what should I wear? Are there any particular colors to avoid wearing?"
"A: Most guests will be dressed in traditional Indian attire usually consisting of bright, festive colors. Women should avoid wearing all white or all black outfits. The reason being is that these colors are traditionally worn by women during times of mourning. Most women will wear a salwaar kameez while men will wear either a kurtah pajama or a traditional western style suit. However, this is strictly optional and a matter of individual choice. You may dress as you please, however, please note that dress code itself is conservative. Shorts, mini-skirts, tight or see-through attire are strongly discouraged. You should dress so you can sit comfortably and with decency on the carpeted floor. Loose fitting clothing that covers your legs is strongly recommended." - Pavan Deep Kaur
Here you see the younger male members of the bridal party attired in white bana with turquoise turbans as they enter the gurdwara in queue to bow before Guru Granth Sahib.