A Birmingham temple ceremony onto a packed dancefloor

Couple dancing on their wedding day during their first dance.
Why have one wedding day, when you can have two? Twice the amount of time with your family and friends, twice the fun, and most importantly… TWICE THE WEDDING CAKE! Wooo!

Simi and Matt originally book us for their late winter ceremony at the Mill Barns. Not too long after booking Sim got in touch to see if we were still available the day before their booking, as they'd decided they'd also like us to photograph their temple ceremony too.

When you think back and remember an important day or event in your life, lots of individual things will come to mind. Some will be quite random: little details, colours, sounds, or that weird fascinator your auntie was wearing - what on earth WAS that?

But you’ll also remember quite vividly an overall flavour or feeling for the day: excitement, nerves, happiness, or some unique combination of feelings that we just don’t have a word for.

Simi and Matt’s Temple wedding back in February had all of the things I’ve just mentioned, but the overriding emotion I noticed going around during the day was one of welcome.

Matt’s side of the family are not from a Sikh background, and you could see in his face that he really appreciated the significance of what he was doing, and how much it meant to him that he was doing this with his bride Simi. Lots of his family had never set foot in a Gurdwara before, but from the moment they arrived, everyone was made to feel so very welcome. Simi’s family and the temple officials explained what would be happening, and what everything meant. We removed our shoes and socks, and covered our heads, to show our respect. The feeling of bonding and welcome between cultures really was something special to watch, and to record with our cameras.

The ceremony itself was fascinating, and again pervaded by a feeling of welcome and integration. With sunshine streaming brightly through the windows Simi and Matt pledged themselves to each other, both looking absolutely stunning with their intricate traditional dress. In fact, the whole room was a feast of bright colours, particularly from the ladies in their saris. Matt was carrying an actual sword for the ceremony. I often mention about swords during wedding ceremonies - it’s supposed to be one of the reasons why traditionally a bride stands on the left, and the groom on the right. In less civilised times, it meant that a right-handed man’s sword arm would be free, and he could draw his sword if attacked, without impaling his bride! I had the chance to examine Matt’s afterwards - that sword was heavy and quite fearsome-looking! I’m glad nobody attacked him.

The warm welcome was extended to me and Phil too. We’re careful about accepting food and drink while we’re working: we’re professionals and are being paid to be there to do an important job. There was a traditional meal after the ceremony, and it became very clear that no was not going to be taken for an answer! We sat down with everyone else, and were treated to some absolutely wonderful food. The samosas were so good I nearly cried. Honest. They were that good.

The evening celebrations were held in a banqueting suite in central Birmingham. These places know how to organise a party! Simi and Matt were led into the room by a drummer - now that’s how you make an entrance! There were speeches with even more words of welcome, a cake cutting, and then a dance-off! Simi may have grown up knowing all the Bollywood dance moves, but Matt must have been doing some speed-learning, because he was a perfect match! The dance floor was immediately full, with loads of energy and fun. There was also an unusual dance-floor ceremony where the ladies of the family entered the room and paraded with big lit-up pots in their heads! I have no idea what this signified, but it was great fun to watch and photograph, as these pots were passed around with their twinkling bulbs.

Both Phil and I really loved being a part of this special day for Simi and Matt, and we’ll both never forget that feeling of welcome. Here’s some pictures to enjoy:

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