We had been told that sometime during our stay in Indonesia, we absolutely had to find a way to attend a traditional Indonesian wedding. I was mentioning this to Subandriyo (“SB”) yesterday and he said, ‘Oh, we’re going to a wedding tomorrow – you must come with Steffi and me to this wedding. It’s going to be a big one”. So with that, we were invited to a big, traditional Indonesian wedding! Apparently, it’s pretty common in Indonesia for friends of friends to show up at these weddings. (When SB’s son was married, 300 were invited and over 600 showed up!) The actual wedding ceremony was earlier in the morning – this was just the reception.
The families were from Palembang, in the the province of South Sumatra, so the dress, dances, food, etc. were from that area.
So there were at best estimate, about 500-600 people there. After the procession and the traditional Brides dance with the dancers / “maids of honor” (they really don’t call them that here) they introduced the bride and groom and their parents. Then they announced a couple of VIP’s to go up and have their pictures taken – ‘Professor Dr.” this and “Minister” that and then I hear, “Mr and Mrs. Buell”! Somehow, someway, we are announced as VIP’s (we were one of two bule couples there), so we had to (got to?) go up on stage in front of 600 people and have our picture taken with the Bride and Groom! So we go up and the Groom says ‘thank you so much for coming’. I’m sure he was thinking ‘who ARE these people?’ We were as surprised as they were! So we told them we were honored to have been invited and wished them luck and left the stage. We certainly did not ask to be called up out of 600 people! It was a little embarrassing!
So after the formal presentation, the food was served – tables and tables of food, everywhere.
We had just eaten a little Korean BBQ when a wedding official came up to us and gestured for us to follow him – whereupon we were taken to the VIP room with a separate buffet! Now I’m sure everyone was thinking ‘who ARE these people’??!!
In Indonesia, dress for men (casual, business, formal, and any other occasion) is Batik. (In fact, President Jokowi came out and asked men to wear Batik on Fridays.) Batik designs are unique to provinces (especially Java) of Indonesia and is the absolute shirt of choice. It is everywhere. (Batik is a very unique way of dying and designing fabric using wax-resist dyeing. Hand-made, wax-resist dyed Batik is VERY expensive; most batik in the stores is just printed and very reasonable.) But, since missionaries don’t wear batik, I was one of a very few men there in a shirt and tie. (This could be why we were identified as VIP’s – white shirt and tie and gray hair!) I also noticed that if the men were wearing the traditional hat and apron, they did not wear Batik.)
As for women’s wear, in contrast to the full black burka worn by the very strict Muslim women (see the previous post), the majority of Muslim women in Jakarta are much more moderate and not only do they not wear a full burka, they just wear the hijab (head covering), and very colorful ones at that. Often they decorated with sequins or they are held in place with jewels and/or pins. I tried to take a few pics on the sly, but wasn’t very successful:
It was a fun day, and I am SO glad we have now been to a traditional Indonesian wedding! It was everything and more of how they were described!