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One of my best friends Poonam is getting married this week which means I get to attend my first Punjabi wedding!!

Besides being beyond excited to party for four days straight, I gotta admit I’m a little stressed. What exactly do I wear? What do I buy the couple for a gift? Exactly how long does this wedding celebration last for?

So, I reached out to the bride’s sister Kiran Kooner for all the answers! Catch all the tips below!

How long is the traditional Punjabi wedding?


“A wedding is typically a seven day affair but some weddings can start a month prior with a religious ceremony where the families will host a blessing for the bride or groom and that trickles down to ten events ten days apart which could start with an engagement ceremony, Sangeet ceremony, and then lead into the wedding ceremonies. But more and more families are trying to do the seven day range of events, because think about it, it’s commitment from everyone else to be there as well.”

The typical punjabi wedding has at least half a dozen pre-wedding rituals – including a Maiyan and Sangeet. What exactly are these all about?


“A Maiyan is a cultural ceremony centered around the bride. It’s about cleansing the bride. They rub a clay mask on the bride to give her a golden glow, the sisters will decorate a rangoli  which is decorated rice or a flower and they’ll make a pattern out of it. At the end of the ceremony the mom will then collect all of it which is kind of perceived as luck and rub the luck on the outside of the door for almost a good-luck welcoming symbol.”

Maiyan Ceremony


“Sangeet means music in our culture, and that’s what it is. The ladies will sing folk songs and there will be music. There’s also a component called jaago which is typically where the ladies walk in with these pots on their heads with lights on them and it’s meant to brighten the home. When they walk in, it’s meant to create a bit of a ruckus, draw attention to the home to let people know there’s a celebration happening there.”

Sangeet Fun!

There’s no denying punjabi weddings are large affairs. Poonam is having more than 500 people at hers! Where does one find 500 people to invite?

If you take into account friends and family, we have a very large immediate family, my mom’s sisters and her two brothers, my dad also has a sister and brother and their kids, and now we all have kids, so you can see how the count can increase fast. It’s not that we’re trying to invite everyone including our dentist. It’s about inviting people that represent a part of our life.”

Should I bring a gift the day of the ceremony? If so, what type of gift?


“There’s an unwritten rule and written rule kind of thing. Most brides and grooms when they get married either they’re going to live with their parents where they don’t need anything, some people do move out and may choose to have a registry so it really depends. Back in the day, money was the way people provided blessings. The money was used to help them start their foundation. But typically I would say at an Indian wedding money or a donation will go a long way over a gift.”

Listen for the full recap of Vanessa’s first Maiyan and Sangeet tomorrow (Friday) on the Midday Workday 10am – 2pm on 107.7 Pulse FM!

Also,  listen to the full interview with Kiran below!

Sat sri akaal!