Indonesian weddings are fascinating in a way that there is no standard “Indonesian wedding” style. Each wedding is unique, given the broad diversity of ethnic groups, the wedding festivities reflect this diversity. When we come to a wedding, we have a unique opportunity to gain insight into various Indonesian culture and social traditions. We would notice that each ethnic group has different wedding dress, stage (Pelaminan) decoration, food served, as well as customs and rituals (such as entrance procession and dances). On top of that, within ethnic groups, there are different religious backgrounds that will have different practices as well.
Jakarta is considered as a melting pot. People from various ethnic backgrounds reside here, and some of the lucky ones, meet their soulmate. One of the first discussions when arranging a wedding is to discuss about which custom to be based on in the wedding. It’s relatively common to have cross-ethnic marriage, resulting in an extensive conversation about how to incorporate both cultures and customs into a single wedding. Eventually, a multi-cultural wedding could turn out into a beautiful, one-of-a-kind wedding, if it is well-planned, designed and executed.
Most of the cultural rituals take place in the wedding ceremony (e.g. Akad Nikah). It is where the civil wedding occurs inline with the couple’s religion. An officiant (e.g. Penghulu) will legalize the marriage as the couple sign their wedding documents. One of the unique religion practice in the ceremony is a Moslem wedding, where the vow exchanges are between the groom and father of the bride, unlike the western-style where bride and groom exchange vows. During the wedding ceremony, one of the most common rituals, especially in the Java island, is for the couple to seeking blessings from their parents and elders by kneeling in front of them (Sungkem).
Following the relatively smaller and intimate wedding ceremony is the grander wedding reception (Resepsi). Some couple compromise each other by having the ceremony in one ethnic culture and custom, and the reception in the other. Others prefer to have a more modern or western-style wedding while still have the ethnic feel on the decoration or rituals. Moreover, there are couples that hosting two events, first the more cultural and traditional one with all of family and friends, and second the more modern and intimate one overseas with their close friends and family only.
There are many options to choose from. Have you envisioned your dream wedding yet?