An Indonesian wedding is a very important occasion. The bride and groom will send an invitation to anyone that they are acquainted with, which usually means there could be hundreds or even thousands of guests. While the majority of invited acquaintances won’t show up, the wedding will still probably be quite large. If you’ve been invited to an Indonesian wedding, you should at least make an appearance, even if it is only for a few minutes. Pay your respects to the newlyweds, and let them know how happy you are for them.
Even if you’re not a native to the country, you may still receive an invitation. Many Indonesians believe that having a foreigner at their wedding is very prestigious. Don’t be surprised if you receive a wedding invitation for a couple that you barely know, even if you’re just in Indonesia for a vacation or business trip. Invitations are sent to anyone who may have had past contact with the couple or their families.
At an Indonesian wedding, the reception won’t begin until the bride and groom greet each guest. The guests stand in a long line to await their turn to be greeted. It is not uncommon for there to be hundreds of guests at an Indonesian wedding, therefore it may take awhile for each and everyone of them to be greeted.
The majority of guests are only invited to the wedding reception. The wedding ceremony itself, which can last for several days, is reserved for the couple’s closest friends and family. The customs that are followed during the wedding ceremony vary among the different ethnic groups.
The traditional rituals and customs, although different in each region, may include bathing ceremonies, a gathering of the families so that the groom and his relatives can give presents to the bride’s family, and a special custom by which the couple kneel in front of their parents in order to receive blessings. While kneeling, the bride and groom ask for their parents’ forgiveness for any wrongdoing that they may have done in the past. During the main wedding ceremony, a religious rite is given, depending on the couple’s beliefs. Due to laws in Indonesia, couples from different religious backgrounds cannot marry. The bride or the groom (one) will have to change her or his religion so that the two can marry.
The clothes that the guests wear depend on the time and location of the reception. For more casual wedding receptions in Indonesia, men can wear a batik shirt with long sleeves. However, if the wedding is held in the evening at an expensive hotel, it would be more appropriate for men to wear suits. Women guests can wear nice, casual outfits for daytime weddings. For evening weddings, women should dress up more. Indonesian women usually wear their bright and colorful regional outfits, complemented with gold jewelry.
As for gifts, most people usually give money to Indonesian newlyweds. Put the money inside an envelope, and then place the envelope into a receptacle slot (which will be provided) after you sign your name in the guest book.
Indonesian weddings are very special occasions, and the couple will feel very honored with the presence of each and every guest. It will mean a lot for them if you show up for just a few minutes. Your gift, in any kind, will be much appreciated.