Indonesian Weddings

Indonesian weddings can be very large and exciting events. While some of them are simple gatherings at the families' homes, some of them are elaborate events with hundreds or even thousands of guests. At these celebrations the couple's parents invite everyone that the family is even remotely acquainted with. Friends, business associates, colleagues, etc.- many of whom the bride and groom may not even know themselves. A lot of planning goes into an Indonesian wedding, and it's not uncommon for the families to send out over 1,000 invitations.

Needless to say, an Indonesian wedding can be a social event, and the bride and groom will even greet each individual guest to thank them for their kindness. Guests must wait in a long line for their chance to be greeted by the bride and groom. After each guest is greeted, the reception will begin. Most guests are only invited to the reception, while the wedding ceremonies are intended for the closest friends and relatives of the couple. Indonesian wedding ceremonies can last for many days, and the majority of the guests only stay at the reception for a half hour or so. Some of them may even have other weddings to attend later that same day!

The guest list probably took a lot of time to prepare, and the invitations are sent out only about two weeks before the wedding. The families go by the Muslim or Javanese calendar in order to determine the wedding date. They will plan the wedding during a "fortunate" month. Indonesians can be superstitious when it comes to dates and timing. The most modern Indonesians can even go by ancient wedding customs and traditions.

If the reception is held in the afternoon, guests can dress more casually. Men can wear long sleeved shirts, and women can wear casual, but nice outfits. For receptions that are held during evening hours at a luxurious hotel, men are recommended to wear suits and women should dress more formally.

Guests will be brought into the main area to see the couple and their parents. Sometimes they will be at the end of the room standing on a platform, and other times they will greet the guests at the door. This is usually where the lines are formed for the guests to be greeted by the bride and groom. It's tradition for guests to say "Selamat bahagia!" to the couple. Foreigners may simply say "Congratulations." Indonesians consider it an honor to have foreigners at their weddings, and treat them as distinguished guests. They may even ask foreigners to pose in a picture with the bride and groom.

After the greetings are over, guests are allowed to freely walk around the reception area and mingle with one another. Large, lavish buffet meals are served, and there will probably be more food than the entire party can eat. Alcohol normally isn't served at Indonesian weddings, unless the bride and groom come from Chinese families. Foreign guests will find that Indonesian wedding traditions are very fascinating.


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