Buddhaful Britt

C'mon Inner Peace… I Don't Have All Damn Day

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Show Time



Janak Puri, New Delhi

The high pitched, non-stop, honking of scooter horns is enough to jolt tourists out of bed due to the early morning New Delhi traffic, it can also lull you into a sense of peace once you get used to the chaos.

Much like the familiar sounds of New York City, the busy Indian street noise gives me comfort.


It was the morning of our wedding, and I was laying on the typical rock-hard bed of our Air BnB condo listening to New Delhi greet the new day; Indians are not early risers but being a city of 16.1 million… this is rightful winner of the title “the city which never sleeps.”

It was a beautiful spring morning; the morning after my Sangeet/ Henna Party, and less than 48 hours after the tedious journey from the States.

My excitement was more in thoughts of returning home that evening with my husband and son, rather than the enormity of what the day would entail.

I had been told by other western women who have gone through this process to just “sit back and enjoy the ride;” a wedding in India “is not about the bride or groom, it’s about the family.”

The elevator door opened and my sister-in-law walked into my room with a warm smile; she hurriedly helped me gather my things.

Completely at her disposal, my only involvement in this process was to simply show-up… so my son and I obliged.

At this point, my mind went into some sort of alternate reality; autopilot, if you will.

As the three of us scurried to the beauty salon on the back of her scooter; time seemed to slow down. A combination of excitement, terror and culture shock sent my brain into overload; like a deer in headlights I tuned out the surrounding world, and turned inward as the streets of New Delhi zipped by.


“I’m in India,” is enough of a mind-fuck to grasp onto, but “I am in India getting married,” shutdown of all my senses.

My sister-in-law scheduled a fancy beauty salon to airbrush my make-up and help me get dressed.

Relatives would walk in and out of the salon, sometimes with cookies and tea to feed us while we were being pampered for the big day.

Quite opposite from the States where we lay in the sun for hours to obtain maximum “golden goddess” status, India tends to lean towards glorifying a pale complexion.

The make-up artist sprayed my face white, to the point where I looked like a porcelain doll.

The extended eyelashes, the smokey eyeliner and multiple layers of eyeshadow gave me the feeling of a Bollywood star. My sister-in-law spared no expense, and my heart was quickly growing attached to the kindness of my new family.


Time was ticking, and phone calls were going back and forth. There was yelling and some tension. Issues arose, but I couldn’t tell you what was happening exactly,… we were spared this information.

Sometimes not speaking the language turns out to be a wonderful mishap.

My focus was spending some quality time with my son before the chaos.

I held his hands and reassured him that not only my dream, but his dream of having complete family was happening. We would all need to get to know each other’s idiosyncrasies, but ultimately love and respect conquers all.

The women in my new family helped me get dressed, and we were ready to go to the Sikh temple around the corner.

Apparently Manny’s family hired a car service to shuttle us around all day, but this part was nothing more than a blur.

My only recollection was walking into a small room on the second floor of the bright and welcoming Sikh temple.  All of the attendees were separated by gender; men on one side and women on the other.

As I scanned the room full of strange faces, I got my first glimpse of Manny looking just like a prince in his Sherwani; my fairytale was unfolding.

I halfway smiled at him with a look of terror.  My eyes screamed out for him. I needed my best friend.

I had never felt so alone in my life.

Manny appeared to blush as he lowered his head and would not look my way.


I felt heartbroken; he wouldn’t even acknowledge me. Fear overcame my soul, as I sat in the corner with a bunch of aunties who kept lovingly smacking my face with glorious smiles.

Was he having second thoughts? He wanted to back out didn’t he?

The look on his face was nothing like I envisioned when my husband got the first glimpse of his bride on our wedding day.

From my perspective, I was invisible; a stark contrast to American weddings where brides dream of the attention they receive on their wedding day.

Instead, I was witness to my own wedding as a foreigner… alone, in the midst of a hundred souls; scared as hell.

None of my fear was about marrying Manny.  It was the unknown; nothing was familiar.

The wedding of my dreams would have no more than ten people at sunset in a small cottage on the beach. Any deviation from that comfort zone was a recipe for panic; stage fright being my worst enemy.


An angel walked through the glass doors; my dear friend Crystal who lives in New Delhi appeared as if she wore a glowing halo. Her soothing voice and calm words helped me through my anxiety.

Having at least one person on my side, one person who went through this process… one American who understood, was worth her weight in gold.

Crystal explained Indian weddings, and reminded me of how powerful Indian superstitions can be.

It never even occurred to me that Manny and I were not supposed to see each other until we were downstairs in front of the Granthi (Sikh priest).

Instead we were all stuck in this room together for an hour beforehand, and I was starting to understand what the tension had been about earlier.

Manny was trying not to jinx our marriage, so he wouldn’t even flirtatiously look my way. I was familiar with a similar superstition in the States; misunderstandings are bound to occur. Inter-cultural marriages such as ours will have millions of these confusing moments, and I look forward to learning as much as I can.

My sister-in-law came to walk us downstairs; it was finally time to marry my best friend.

The Anandkaraj, also known as “ceremony of bliss” starts with traditional Sikh hymns. The bride is escorted downstairs after the groom sits in front of the holy book called “Guru Granth Sahib.” The Granthi surprised our guests by speaking English as he explained the details of the Sikh philosophy and traditions of marriage.


The Laavan is the main ceremony where “four prayers” seal the marriage officially. The couple walk clockwise around the holy book four times; each trip around the altar symbolizes something different.

The first verse is about duty to family and community. The second verse is acknowledges the love between the bride and groom. The third verse symbolizes togetherness in the midst of hectic life. The fourth, and final verse, is the stage of harmony; marital love translates into a love for God.


The expression “tie the knot” comes from eastern cultures (as well as Celtic and Roman), one end of a scarf is placed on the groom’s shoulder and the other end is knotted and held by the bride as they complete the walk around the holy book.

Once the ceremony is complete, the bride and groom are officially considered married in the eyes of God and the family, but this is not a legal wedding for foreigners in the eyes of India.

So Manny and I were married twice, the second time at a far less romantic, yet highly interesting, courthouse. A story I hope to write down someday, because… well, INDIA.


Somehow, our wedding guests snuck away to the reception hall ahead of us, and were seated when we arrived.

From this point forward, I was lost in traditions… such as a ribbon cutting ceremony as we walked into the reception hall, and we were fed some yummy cake upon arrival. These rituals were new and exciting for me; I was just enjoying the ride as I was told.


Manny and I sat on two gold thrones fit for a king and queen… for what felt like hours. Periodically, relatives would click photographs with us, until the dancing began to pick up.

My Sikh family are the happiest bunch of Punjabi’s I’ve ever seen, but no doubt, my sister-in-law wins the prize for most beautiful soul. Dressed in a stunning blue velvet lehenga, the girl DID NOT STOP dancing for one minute.  But me? I was far too overwhelmed.

A few aunties pulled me onto the dancefloor attempting to make me dance Bhangra, but it was futile. This Jersey Girl is adept in Salsa dancing, maybe even a touch of Merengue, but Bhangra?

No can do.

My son, Cai, had a blast showing off his American-style dance moves, and even had a dance-off with his new cousins at the reception.

Many people say that Indians frown upon marrying someone who has children from a previous relationship… but in our case, I truly believe my son was one of the selling points for which we were accepted so easily.

The family continued to dance until it was time to leave. We were invited to another get-together at Manny’s uncle’s house, where more rituals and blessings were given to us.

Finally, late that evening, we were allowed to return to our condo and be alone as a complete family.

For a few hours…

Because bright an early the next day, my mother in law came to visit… she opened my closet and “helped me” pick out an outfit for the day.

We were expected to make the rounds. Sofa to sofa… cookies, and tea… visiting, yet another home for what seemed like days.

Finally, Manny and I took my son and his little brother and escaped to Rishikesh for our honeymoon.


Now that a few months have passed, I can sit back and reflect on my wedding day with contentment.

At the time, the “unknown” of culture and traditions was quite intense; admittedly much of that day is remembered only in photographs.

What does stick in my memory though is my new family.

Their smiles, generosity and genuine love have changed something deep within me. I went to India expecting to marry Manny and bring him home to the States, instead I left an entire family, and with that.. part of my soul.

For more stories in the Jersey Girl and the Sikh category, click—> HERE

Check out some of our wedding pics below:




The 5 K’s of Sikism:

five Ks: Kesh, uncut hair which is kept covered, usually by a turban; an iron or steel bracelet (kara); a kirpan (a sword tucked into a gatra strap or a kamal kasar belt); kachehra, a cotton undergarment, and kanga, a small wooden comb. Initiated male and female Sikhs must cover their hair with a turban.


Follow our story in the links below:

Read about when I met “My Indian Boyfriend “—>HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Prelude —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Showtime —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Indian Astrology —> HERE

My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: The Dress —> HERE

Surviving Long Distance Love—> HERE

Open Letter to my Husband—> HERE

Our Story, Retold —> HERE

Culture Shock: What to Expect?-–> HERE

Culture Shock: Six Months in America —> HERE

Culture Shock: Manny’s First Christmas —> HERE

Our Honeymoon: Rishikesh India—> HERE

K1 Fiance Visa: The Process—> HERE

K1 Fiance Visa: The Inteview —> HERE

Cr1 Spousal Visa: The Timeline —> HERE

Cr1 Spousal Visa: Interview Questions —>HERE

A Journey to:  New Delhi—> HERE 

A Journey to:  Jaipur India —> HERE

A Journey to: Dubai UAE —> HERE

Our First Diwali—> HERE

Giving Thanks, Shukryia  —> HERE

Being Sikh in America—> HERE

The Indian Grocery: Natural Products—> HERE

A Path to Happiness—> HERE 

Buddhaful Britt: Most Interesting Travel Blogger —> HERE

Buddhaful Advise: As We Think, So We Become —> HERE

Buddhaful Advise: Inner Peace —> HERE

Buddhaful Advise: Everyday Stress —> HERE

14 comments on “My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Show Time

  1. Tammi Kale
    July 15, 2016



  2. thegreyeye
    July 26, 2016

    Lisha, you look beautiful in Indian attire and surely you have got an exceptional family. Still now in India, it is not so common to marry someone with children.


    • Britt
      July 26, 2016

      I know so many western women who have issues with their Indian Family accepting them, but I have to admit… I lucked out with the SWEETEST, most kind and loving family on the planet. THANK YOU for taking the time to read my posts. It means a lot.


  3. Pingback: Surviving Long Distance Love | Buddhaful Britt

  4. Pingback: Nomadic Nirvana: Dubai Layover | Buddhaful Britt

  5. Pingback: “Buddhaful Britt, Most Interesting Travel Blogger” | Buddhaful Britt

  6. Pingback: My Big Fat Sikh Wedding: Indian Astrology | Buddhaful Britt

  7. Pingback: Today, I Call You My Husband | Buddhaful Britt

  8. Pingback: Your Boyfriend is From India? | Buddhaful Britt

  9. thewhitepunjabibride
    August 18, 2017

    Love reading the wedding stories of others who have married into the Punjabi Culture. You actually look amazing in traditional Punjabi make up. I opted to pass on the full traditional look as I just looked like a chubby panda with full eyeliner and white foundation. It is surprising just how much the culture varies between regions of India. I married in Punjab and it was taboo for any woman to show skin in a lehanga choli as I see in your photos. I wish my husband wore the traditional attire for a groom as it is very sleek. He opted to go for a western suit with a turban along with the head piece they wear during anand karaj.

    If only I met you and Crystal when I was married in Feb 2016 in Punjab.

    Tanya – The White Punjabi Bride


  10. Carolyn Page
    October 7, 2017

    A beautiful tale, wonderfully told. 🙂


    • Britt
      October 8, 2017

      Thank you so much for reading our story!


  11. Judie Sigdel
    October 9, 2017

    Congratulations on your marriage! Thank you so much for sharing your wedding day so beautifully in words and in pictures. You are a gorgeous family! ❤


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Contact / Advertising Info:



Be Buddhaful on Twitter

Trendy Topics

Navigating Blindness

navigating blindness, together

Pretty Little Liars

It`s immortality my darlings - Alison DiLaurentis

Synchronisitic Social Media: Management and Digital Marketing

The Simultaneous Occurrence of Casually Unrelated Events

Our Masala Life

A Little Blog About Life and Love in an Intercultural Relationship

Not Enough Poetry

I am the sum of my languages.

Fabulous Fusions

Life Abroad in Mixed Marriage / Interracial family

John Davis Frain

Crime Fiction

Made By Dyslexia

Spelling It Out

Snippets of a Traveling Mind

Finding New Energy To Experience Life More Fully

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East & Balkans

10 Tips | Travel India

10 Tips on India, Travel and Lifestyle

Himadri Negi

A girl in the city with her heart in the mountains

TravelToDrive Blog

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and enjoy the journey!

The Indian Escape

Musings of the trials and tribulations of an Indian Bride.

Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Exactly? I don't know.

taking life one hot chocolate at a time ...


Beach Soul Wanderlust Blog


Blog about my travels and adventures around the world

%d bloggers like this: