Saturday, June 25, 2011

Preparing the Wedding in Malaysia: The Wedding Checklist

Thanks to different nationalities that I share with my husband, we get to celebrate our wedding twice. One in my hometown in Indonesia (订婚) and one in Malaysia (结婚). Both are to be done according to the respective wedding traditions and customs in each country.

The corresponding things for our wedding celebrations in Indonesia and Malaysia:  
The Chinese Wedding Customs and Traditions.

In the beginning, my husband and I argued a lot when we discussed our planned wedding celebrations in Indonesia and Malaysia. I was overwhelmed with all the wedding planning in Malaysia - as for me, in many ways how the Chinese Malaysians celebrate weddings are quite different from how we commonly do in Indonesia. My husband also felt that we, Chinese Indonesians, were way too grand in preparing the wedding reception. As time went by, we learned to respect each other's traditions and customs in preparing our wedding ceremonies and banquets. We accepted the facts that both countries have different cultures and ways in celebrating marriage. We try to work as a team to make both events happen nicely and smoothly. My husband gives feedback on my wedding preparation in Indonesia and I, too, suggest some details in preparing the wedding in Malaysia.

As my wedding celebration in Indonesia is approaching fast, so is my wedding celebration in Malaysia. Here are some recaps on my wedding planning checklist that my husband and I have been doing so far and what we plan to do in the next two and a half months. Although the Malaysia's wedding celebration is relatively simpler than what we plan to do in Indonesia, since my husband and I do everything in Malaysia without Wedding Organizer service, both of us are really trying hard to be extra careful on our wedding preparation details.

1. Booking the Wedding Venue

My husband and I booked our wedding venue i.e. restaurant already sometime last year. We concerned that our wedding date was fully booked so we thought the sooner we booked the restaurant the better. We opted to host a wedding lunch in Malaysia because we'd be having guests coming from Johor and Singapore, thus it is better to end our wedding reception earlier so the guests have enough time to go back to Johor or head back to Singapore in late afternoon.

The restaurant for wedding reception that we booked in Malaysia does not only provide the venue and banquet but also provides the fake wedding cake for the cake ceremony, Emcee and standard invitation cards according to the number of the tables booked. The last three (FOC) services are quite unusual to me as we usually arrange them separately from the restaurant. Restaurant in Indonesia is solely responsible for providing the venue and food. So in this case, we kind of saved our money for the cards, cake and Emcee.

Next to-do-list:
  • Confirm the number of the tables that we want to use at the restaurant once we fix the guest list in Malaysia
  • Choose one contact person to deal with the banquet manager at the restaurant
  • Confirm the banquet package and select the dishes that we want to have at the wedding reception

2. Engaging the Bridal House

My husband and I visited few local bridal houses before finally deciding to go with the one that offered a good package and reasonable price with various wedding gowns and photography styles that matched our expectations too. The Bridal House in Malaysia provides make-up and hair-do services, wedding gowns and coats for the bride and groom, pre-wedding photo package, photo slide shows for the wedding day, car decoration and hand bouquet. On top of these, last night we also sought their assistance to order some corsages and flower petals for my flower girls and wedding aisle. To me, the bridal houses in Malaysia also act like a one-stop wedding service but minus the event organization itself. To the contrary, bridal houses in Indonesia normally just takes care of the wedding gowns and coat, make-up and hair do for the bride, groom, mothers and bride's maids.

3. Renting a Wedding House

As my family will be coming from Indonesia, we got no house in Malaysia for the groom to pick the bride. Actually, a hotel room will do for this purpose but my husband decided to rent a wedding house from his friend. I will have to stay in that house with my family until my husband and his entourage come and pick me on our wedding day.

4. Taking the Pre-wedding Photos

My husband and I did our pre-wedding photo shoots with the photographer from the Bridal House. It was indeed a fun, tiring and memorable once-in-a-lifetime experience. And we both were very happy with the final results.

5. Creating the Wedding Timetable

Wedding timetable is usually prepared by the Wedding Organizer. Since we don't have any in Malaysia, we ought to create one by ourselves. To me, creating a timetable for our wedding in Malaysia was quite a challenge because I was not familiar with the Chinese wedding processions in Malaysia. Once I attended the wedding of my husband's cousin a couple weeks ago, I quickly mapped ours according to the set wedding time that had already been previously discussed with the 'Smart Person' in the temple. I tried to be precise and detailed in creating my wedding timetable so those who are involved in my wedding processions could anticipate the wedding processions and timing better hence we all could hopefully run all the processions on time.

Next to-do-list:
  • Make contact with all the people that we want to assign as the bridesmaids, best men, receptionists, ushers, etc.
  • Distribute the wedding timetable to the people involved in the wedding processions for their review
  • Along the way, refine the timetable content and update the involved parties on the updates too

6. Liaising with Bridesmaids and Best Men

Bridesmaids and best men for the wedding in Malaysia are two roles that I was not familiar with before. The roles of bridesmaid in a wedding celebrations in Indonesia, or my hometown to be exact, are more to assisting the bride by adjusting her long wedding gown when she walks and other on-site small tasks. The best men would stand by the groom's side and assist him with some on-site tasks too. Apparently, in Malaysia and Singapore, other than assisting the bride with some on-site small tasks, the Bridesmaids' job is to produce a series of challenges and tests when the groom and his best men pick the bride at her place before Tea Ceremony. The challenges and tests here are essential to make sure the groom is fit for the job of husband.

I approached few of my girl friends in Singapore to prepare the challenges my husband and his entourage on our wedding day. I've shared my wedding timetable with them and it is up to them on how they want to design the challenges for my husband and his best men during our wedding day in Malaysia.

Next to-do-list:
  • Recruit bridesmaids and best men for the wedding and make sure they are willing to help to do these roles
  • Keep in touch with the bridesmaids, ensure they have everything ready for the games and be sure to offer assistance when needed

7. Engaging the Wedding Photographer and Videographer

Initially, my husband thought that having photographer and videographer on our wedding day in Malaysia was not necessary. Some of his friends or family could do this. However, ultimately we both agreed to engage a professional third party to do this as we wanted our friends and family to enjoy our wedding reception instead of being too busy snapping our wedding photos during the event. More money spent for this but I guess it will worth the price.

8. Printing the Wedding Invitation Cards

To keep our wedding cost within the budget, we chose to utilize the complimentary wedding invitation cards from the restaurant. Actually, the invitation cards here were not 100% free of charge. We were supposed to pay RM 100 for the molding fees.

9. Choosing the Wedding Songs

No event organizer also means that we have to prepare all the background music during our wedding day. My Mother-in-Law doesn't fancy Karaoke-style wedding reception so the most that we could do is to prepare some wedding songs that can run for about three hours, burn them into CDs and play them at the restaurant.

10. Ordering the Wedding Cake

As the restaurant will provide a fake wedding cake for the cake ceremony during the wedding day. My husband and I prefer to have real wedding cake for the cake ceremony hence we ought to order a customized wedding cake from a local bakery.

11. Preparing the Wedding Souvenirs

Wedding souvenirs are not compulsory for wedding receptions in Malaysia. It's really up to the bride and groom to give away souvenirs to the invitees. However, as advised by my brother and sister in law, my husband and I at least have to distribute post-card sized wedding photos to some relatives and friends on the wedding day itself. Some people here apparently do keep an album consisting of their friends' or relatives' wedding photos.

12. Liaising with the Emcee

I guess the wedding reception in Malaysia is quite straight forward and the Emcee from the restaurant has indeed hosted wedding receptions probably by hundreds time already. However, just to make sure the processions run well, my husband and I intend to share our wedding timetable with the Emcee and run through other on-site details with him/her i.e. the event order, names for the photo sessions and toasts.

13. Arranging the Venue Decoration 

Venue decoration was probably in our bottom list before as my husband mentioned that it is seldom used in Malaysian weddings. Few months ago, my husband and I did some market researches for wedding venue decoration at the local florists. Their portfolio just didn't do any justice with the money they charge. Last night, we checked our wedding venue again and we both felt that the hall for our wedding reception really looks empty. Red carpet is chargeable at RM 150 - RM 200 per use. In the end, husband and I came to a conclusion, either we do a minimum venue decoration ourselves or engage a third party that really can meet our expectation and budget.

14. Choosing the Flower Girls

I want flower girls (or boys) for my wedding in Malaysia. I decided to go ahead with my two nieces as my flower girls. My nephews would probably be too animated and unpredictable for this role. Moving forward, I need to shop for their dresses, headbands and flower basket for my flower girls. My husband already asked the bridal house to order some rose petals for my flower girls. Hope they won't cry or be too shy on my wedding day. Fingers crossed.

Okay, right we are done with our wedding celebration in Indonesia, my husband and I really need to get started on some wedding shopping spree and fixing a lot of wedding stuff in Malaysia. The clock is ticking.


  1. Hi can I know which cake vendor are you engaging for your wedding cake? Any comments? I am thinking of

    1. Hi, I engaged Imbi Cake House in Seremban and asked them to do a customized wedding cake for us.

  2. Very impressed of your teamwork spirit. I too will have to go through the same route sometimes down the track. I'm Malaysian and my bf is Indonesian Chinese. =)

    1. Good luck! Hope all goes well on your side!


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