Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Wedding in Indonesia: The Long-Awaited Lifetime Event

The long-awaited moment had finally arrived on last Saturday. Yep, my husband and I had our wedding reception (订婚) in Indonesia last week. Albeit my husband and I were legally married since last year, as the Chinese tradition forbids us to run our wedding celebration twice, we addressed our wedding reception in Indonesia as 订婚, not 结婚 (just yet). There were some hiccups a day or two before the actual event but ultimately, overall we had a successful wedding reception. Both of my husband and I are now very relieved.

Firstly, we had technical meeting led by the Wedding Organizer two nights before our wedding day. The meeting was attended by the wedding organizers, our parents and some other involved wedding suppliers. Basically during the meeting, we discussed the planned flow of the event, made sure everybody knows what would roughly happen during the D-Day and did some 'walking' rehearsal on the stage with both side parents. It was interesting, though.

Now, to share our joyous moment with everyone, here are the main chronicles of our Big Day held at my hometown on last Saturday. *Warning: Long Post*

I arrived at 11.30am to the Bridal House/Salon with my Mom, Mom-in-Law, sister and aunties from Malaysia for make-up, hair-do and changing the wedding gowns. Our initial set appointment was at 11am but the car that my husband rode came late to my parents' house. I got bloody pissed off about this. When I discovered that the make-up and hair-do sessions for seven of us only consumed two hours of time in total, I felt so dumb. I began to comprehend how unnecessary for me being so angry and press my husband on the timing issue as we had plenty of time before the reception. Duh! *bride's irritability*

Once we came back from the Bridal House, my husband and I still had about two hours to kill before the wedding ceremony and event started. Hence, we just chilled in our wedding room at the hotel with some cousins and friends who showed up early.

Our Initials' Ice Carving at the Wedding Reception: Wrong initial though, unfortunately.

Our wedding reception decoration in Indonesia: Dominated by Pink.

At about 5pm, the Wedding Organizer called my husband and I to come out for Tea Ceremony (敬酒) as some relatives already arrived to the venue. Here's the funny thing about Chinese wedding ceremonies in Indonesia, or in my hometown particularly; I do not know why but we seldom use the real Chinese tea for the Tea Ceremony with the elderly, parents and close relatives. Instead, we used Red Fanta or Grape Juice and no alcohol involved. That's why in Indonesia we call this session as 敬酒 instead of 敬茶. 

Husband and I: Ready for the wedding ceremony.

At this session, the bride and groom are supposed to serve the Tea (or rather, Red Fanta) to grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts, and all the way to cousins who are already married. Also, during this ceremony, the bride and groom are also required to address them with the formal titles as part of official introduction in the family. In return, the newlyweds would received red packet (红包) stuffed with money or jewelry from them. By the way, not all relatives would like to do the Tea Ceremony so we must ask them first about this.

 敬酒 to my Maternal Grandmother.

After 敬酒: I received the symbolic jewelries from my Mom. 
My husband received red packet from Dad.

Moving on, after the Tea Ceremony was pretty much done, our parents went to the Ballroom first to greet the guests who already started coming in.

The happy parents: Greeting the guests in the main entrance.

Before the clock showed 7pm, it was the time for my husband and I to come into the Ballroom. Approximately, more than 70% of the invited guests already filled up the seats. The bride and groom entrance procession into the Ballroom was led by fanfare from the usher girls.

Arriving on the stage. My sister was the Bridesmaid.

When the bride and groom were already on the center stage, the MC opened the wedding reception then followed by a Thank You Speech delivered by my Mom's Mandarin Teacher. The Thank You Speech was supposed to be delivered by one of us or a family member. However, since neither of us was comfortable in doing public speaking at our wedding, my Mom's last resort was her Mandarin Teacher, Chen Laoshi. On behalf of us, she gave a beautiful speech in Mandarin. Although I could not fully understand her Mandarin speech but I was overwhelmed and very moved when she gave her speech.

Thank You Speech by Chen Laoshi who represented us.

Done with the formal greetings, the MC asked my husband and I to pour two bottles of Red Fanta into the Pyramid Fountain, placed near the Wedding Cake. Pyramid Fountain is usually prepared from wine glasses stacked in a pyramid shape. However, for our wedding we chose a Double Happiness  (双喜) Glass for the Pyramid Fountain.

The Double Happiness  (双喜) Glass for our Pyramid Fountain.

Our Wedding Organizer once told us that there is this belief of whoever finishes first the Red Fanta from the bottle when pouring it into the glass(es) during Pyramid Fountain means that person is more extravagant in spending money in his/her marriage life. Realizing this, my husband and I poured the Red Fanta into the glass real slowly and carefully. None of us wished to be crowned with the title of big-spender husband or wife so soon.

The Pyramid Fountain.

Post the Pyramid Fountain, the Wedding Organizer handed glasses of Red Fanta to us and our parents on the stage. The MC then asked everyone in the room to stand up and make a Wedding Toast for the newlyweds.

After the Toast, the MC asked my Dad to sing a song but my Dad politely declined.

Going forward, it's time for the Food Parade and we all could sit down in the VIP Table for a while (Yay!). The Food Parade was marked by the arrival of Chinese Cold Platter as the dinner appetizer on each table. To make the wedding reception more happening, my Sister, Uncle and some of my parents' friends sang some love songs, dedicated to the newlyweds. Sometimes Chinese weddings in Indonesia act as singing/karaoke arenas for friends and family. In addition, the Wedding Organizer also prepared three choreographies to entertain the guests during the 'idle' period.

My Sister sang two love songs in Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Melayu.

 Impromptu contribution: My Uncle sang one of Andy Lau's Mandarin hit songs.

One of the presented dances.

Subsequent the serving of the first dish, the bride and groom were asked to come up to the stage again for Wedding Cake Cutting Ceremony. This procession was then superseded by feeding cake slices to both side parents. In the meantime, the hotel banquet staff kept on serving the remaining dishes to the guests.

Wedding Cake Cutting Ceremony.

 Feeding the cake to our parents.

On top of this, we were asked to present two boxes of whole tart cakes to my Grandmothers as well.

Presenting a box of cake to my Paternal Grandmother.

Now came the embarrassing episode, my husband and I were made to do a slow dance before the Wedding Kiss. Although we briefly practiced this simple dance during the wedding rehearsal, I still didn't have the gut to look at the guests and was literally praying to God to make the Wedding Kiss's song quickly end so we both could get over with this dancing misery ASAP.

Slow Dance before the Wedding Kiss.

Alright, so about two and a half hours later, we came to the end of the wedding reception. It's time for Photo Sessions with family and friends. Photo sessions were such daunting yet fun tasks for us as we got to greet some guests personally. My husband and I had to stand up and smiled big (and wide) for a pretty long time. I could still reminisce how stiff my jaws became after smiling a lot that night. Furthermore, by then my eyes were so uncomfortable, the three false eyelashes applied on each of my eye were getting heavier. (By the way, my brother and cousin had to help me remove the triple false eyelashes from my eyes after the reception. Removing them was equally painful as putting them on).

Family Portrait at the end of the event. 

Us and our cutest guest, Baby Jennifer.

That's about it. Wedding Part I is officially over now.

Big thanks to our parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and family friends who took part in our wedding day, the Wedding Organizer and other involved parties and also all my best friends who spared their busy time to witness our Wedding Celebration. I would also like to personally thank my IPA Singapore friends, Irena and Utari, who flew all the way from Jakarta for our wedding in Malang. You guys are the best!

OK, one wedding celebration is down. One more to come in Malaysia this September.

*Photos credits by my Brother-in-Law, SYH. I still have yet to receive the photo soft-copies from our official wedding photographer.


  1. Congratulations! I love how your reception looked! :) I'm sure you had a blast!

  2. Hey there Joan! Thanks for the comment. Yes, we had a blast. Wedding is a once in a lifetime event so somehow we have to enjoy it :-)


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