We arrived at the venue at about a quarter past one. There was an empty table, most likely reserved by the host for us. We did request that he does so. After conveying our congratulatory regards and best wishes to the host, we settled down to observe the going-on in the room. The scene was festive, grand and celebratory with many guests, as most weddings usually are. There are many floral arrangements.
Lunch was a buffet spread of curries, and desserts. So, we helped ourselves. The curries, and rendangs were nice enough, but we were not impressed with the desserts. It was a pity because Malay desserts are some of my favourites and I was looking forward to them.
We left just as the groom was making his entrance accompanied by a drum-beating procession known as kompang. By then, the room was getting very crowded, and we thought we should let others have the table, as we have been there for a while.
The groom’s march in was intercepted by the bride’s girl gang in a hadang, or what most know as the gatecrash, where he has to go through a series of obstacles. This was explained to us by the other kind guests, when they saw the look of confusion on our faces, looking at the commotion.
After the groom cleared his obstacles and made his entrance, we went on our way.
Here are some aspects of a Malay wedding.
While making his entrance, the groom is ‘guarded’ by bunga manggar – palm-shaped decorations made from colourful tinsel on bamboo poles. They symbolises prosperity and fertility, and if placed outside of the ceremony location, it can also double up as a directional marker.
The anchor point of any Malay wedding would be the wedding dais that’s almost always grandly decorated. No, that wasn’t the groom. Just a bored boy who had nothing better to do.
The highlight of the wedding is the bersanding,when the bridal couple, in their wedding finery, sit on the ‘thrones’ placed on the pelamin (dais). They are treated as king and queen for the day. During the ceremony, friends, relatives and guests offer their blessings and congratulations, and sprinkle yellow rice and flower petals – both items are symbols of fertility – on the bridal couple. And also to have their pictures taken – if they so desire.
Our group took the opportunity to take a quick snap with the host and his children. The groom hadn't arrived at this point and the hostess was busy with her duties. We didn't want to keep the other quests who were queuing to take pictures with the bride waiting.
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