Real Calgary Weddings: Jasneet and Prabhvir Dhillon’s Modern-Traditional Sikh Wedding

This couple blended contemporary ideas such as an outdoor ceremony with longstanding cultural traditions.

Photo by Akaljot Photography.

Romantic comedies often portray falling in love as an all-encompassing and easily recognized emotion. But, in reality, sometimes love creeps up on you slowly. That was the case for Prabhvir Dhillon when he met his future wife, Jasneet Chalal (now Jasneet Dhillon).

The two met when Prabhvir was working at Best Buy and a mutual friend suggested Jasneet buy a cellphone from him. They hit it off immediately, even more so once they learned they both were doing graduate studies at the University of Calgary. Their friendship blossomed as they began taking the bus to university together, though in those first few months it was just that: friendship.

“I always thought he would be a great husband for whomever he marries, but I never thought he would marry me, and it was never in my mind to marry him,” Jasneet says.

All that changed when Jasneet’s parents, who still live in India, reached out with a potential marriage match. In Indian culture, Prabhvir explains, it’s typical that the parents will select potential matches for their daughters to meet and hopefully marry. However, when Prabhvir learned about the match, it was like a switch flipped in his heart.

“At that moment, I realized I wouldn’t be happy if she married someone else. So, that’s when I told her, ‘Let’s us get married.’” The proposal took Jasneet by surprise, but it sparked the same feelings in her, especially when she understood how serious Prabhvir was. “I realized after he asked me that I had feelings for him,” she says.

Coincidentally, Jasneet’s mother was coming to visit, giving the new couple a chance to discuss their intentions. After getting her blessing, they went to India to get the same blessings from Prabhvir’s family. After that, the wedding preparations could officially begin.

Photo by Akaljot Photography.

Sikh weddings typically take place at a gurdwara, a place of assembly and worship for members of the faith, but Prabhvir and Jasneet wanted an outdoor wedding. They eventually found a granthi (Sikh priest), who agreed to perform the ceremony outdoors, allowing them to move forward with selecting a venue. Ultimately, they decided on the Wingfield Golf Club.

In the days leading up to the wedding on June 2, 2023, the couple participated in a number of traditions, starting with the ring ceremony. This is when a couple formally exchanges rings and declares their commitment to each other in the presence of their families. “I’d always wanted to put a ring on her finger, and now was the moment,” Prabhvir recalls. “I got down on my knee and made my proposal in front of everyone, and then we finally exchanged rings.”

There was also a mehndi party, where Jasneet had henna applied to her palms and the back of her hands. The red-orange pigment lasts one-to-three weeks and signifies good wishes and good fortune for the bride. After that was the jaggo. Loosely translated as “wake up” the jaggo is a historic celebration with food, drinks and dancing that took place in the village the night before the wedding. Prabhvir and Jasneet added a modern spin by hosting their jaggo at the Wingfield Golf Club.

The next day, Prabhvir and Jasneet were married outdoors at the golf club. Following the ceremony, there was a vegetarian lunch, then an evening reception at Magnolia Banquet Hall for more dancing, dining and celebration of their union.

After meeting, falling in love and getting married, Jasneet is most excited for her next chapter of life alongside Prabhvir. She recalls during the ceremony, a moment when the granthi opened a page in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (the Holy Book of the Faith) and read a phrase that represented a meaningful sign of what their life together will look like.

“That was my favourite part,” says Jasneet. “When the priest read how our life would be and it turned out so amazing.”

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This article appears in the January 2024 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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