Sunday, January 3, 2010

Exotic Muslim Indonesian wedding in Jakarta makes truly lavish statement on love

By Nancy T. Lu
Rites and rituals during wedding celebrations in any culture tend to be packed with emotions. A bride must leave father and mother to start a new life with her groom. Ceremonial drama which precedes her departure from her home begins days before her big wedding.

This was the case when Bea, the eldest daughter of Ferry Yahya and Early Yahya, tied the marital knot with Dhanes, son of Cameron and Sri Delati, in Jakarta, Indonesia, last month.

On December 11, bride and groom went through traditional rites in their respective homes. Good wishes marked the sendoff. From time to time, the guests watching the proceedings choked with emotions. They were not able to hold back their tears.

The morning began for Bea, all dolled up for a traditional Indonesian wedding, in the richly decorated home of her parents. The bride was dressed in white lace. The guests, consisting of relatives and very close family friends, also turned up in white. The imam came to bless the bride and share gems of wisdom.

The time finally came for Bea to air her thoughts and reflections during this turning point in her life. She tearfully expressed her heartfelt gratitude to her parents for raising and educating her. Her father and her mother were also very emotional as they went about delivering words of affection and reminding her that she would always be welcomed home with open arms.

Bea, whose family hails from Palembang, Sumatra, shortly changed into a gold and red traditional dress. Palembang is an area in Indonesia where weaving of brocade from gold-wrapped silk thread continues to thrive. Covering Bea’s bodice was an intricate mesh of fragrant and fresh jasmine flowers.

The radiant bride found her seat under a rainbow-colored canopy. Her parents stepped forward one by one to pour water perfumed with different fresh flowers over her all the way down to her feet. Relatives also took turns in bathing her. Water was scooped out of a jar with a dipper made of coconut shell.

Her mother and only brother at one point started tossing plant sprigs in the direction of the guests with unwed daughters to wish them marital luck, too.

The bride retired for another change of dress. She then sat down to wear gold accessories in her hair with help from her doting mother. Her mother and father were next called upon to feed her with bare hands. Their little girl had grown up, they were reminded. Over 10 different traditional food delights colorfully laid out in front of her were randomly served the bride by the invited guests, who used spoons though.

The Muslim celebration which began in the morning continued till afternoon. Guests went home with souvenir gifts consisting of prayer rug and set of hand mirror and hair brush.

On December 13 or two days later, about 1,000 formally dressed guests, including friends of the bride’s parents from Taipei, .attended a very lavish wedding banquet at a resort outside Jakarta. Gold and red seemed the color theme of the evening. The Indonesian sarong and songket appeared to be the dress code at the reception.

The newlyweds looked dazzling in their richly traditional wedding attires as they made their dramatic entrance. Bea went through stylized dance paces like a princess surrounded by an entourage of ladies-in-waiting. Her husband, said to be of Indian descent, stood watching like a sultan in ceremonial skirt.

While the guests feasted on the food laid out on the buffet tables, video clips of the marriage rites and rituals in the bride’s and groom’s homes two days earlier were screened. The bathing ceremony footage must have triggered sentimental flashbacks among the spectators.

Guests, all elegantly dressed, fell in line to personally congratulate the parents of the bride and the groom on this most beautiful occasion.

The exotic Indonesian wedding in Jakarta proved a most lavish statement on love – between the newlyweds as well as between the parents and their children.

All photos except one were taken by Nancy T. Lu.


  1. Great pictures...including of your goodself!Happy New Year!

  2. Hi there, Ms. Lu! I'm from Indonesia, and I love the way you wrote this post. But I have a little problem with the title. The people involved in the wedding are Muslims, but it doesn't make the wedding itself as a "Muslim celebration" as you mentioned. The tradition itself is pre-Islamic, and event the traditional attires are not covered-up as prescribed by Islam. It's an "Indonesian" wedding, but not "Islamic" :)