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The Indonesian Wedding

I think if you’re living abroad you should always try and go to a wedding. Jourdan, a friend from Wesleyan, mentioned that his cousin, Harries, was getting married and that it would be a classic West Sumatran wedding with Padang food. I am so grateful that Jourdan thought of including us and letting us see an Indonesian wedding.

The wedding was extremely colorful and bright — it made Western black tie affair weddings seem dull and drab. The bride and groom and their families entered the reception procession style with gorgeous umbrellas held above them. The religious ceremony and the couple’s actual first night together were the night before because, as it soon became clear, the reception is for everyone else and the couple gets exhausted after hours of hand shaking.

Following the procession, there were two beautiful dances. The video clip is of men dancing with plates on their hands (the plates are not glued or taped down) and the clinking noises are from the rings on their fingers. Must take hours to perfect this and not drop a plate.

The other dance was with both men and women and involved parasols. The couple was able to sit and relax a little while the dances were happening.

And then it was hand shaking and eating time. There must have been over 500 people at the wedding. This is possible because people don’t sit down to eat. Everyone wanders from food station to station, everything from pasta to Indonesian food. It was amazing to see how fast 500+ people can eat everything. Meanwhile, the bride and groom were greeting everyone at the reception for hours.

At the end of the night the bride had to be carried off stage and her head dress with the fake hair that was holding it up were cut off. She must have been so incredibly exhausted standing for four hours with a giant head dress and smiling and being so polite. So, it now makes complete sense to me why the first night together is the day before. The set the couple was standing under is typical of West Sumatran architecture:

This is a photo of greetings people send in congratulations. They are sent for weddings and also when businesses open. It is a common sight in Jakarta to see open back trucks driving around with these stacked in the trunk.

So I can happily say I checked another Indonesian wish-list item off.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Kirstin #

    This is beautiful!!! So incredibly extravagant, but somehow it doesn’t seem tacky at all!

    October 23, 2011

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