So you’ve been invited to a Malay wedding for the first time, and you’re rather clueless? Here’s a rough guide on what you can look forward to at a vibrant heartland wedding.
If you’re lucky enough to witness the solemnisation, you’ll notice trays with food items and various products. It is customary for the bride and groom to exchange gifts in equal numbers of trays.
However, you would probably be invited to the wedding feast, which is likely to take place a day after the solemnization. You can come with anyone, as there are usually no restrictions on the number of guests you can bring. Newlywed Hermawati Dolfata who got married on 13 December explained: “In the Malay community, the number of guests is usually not a that big of a concern because we believe the more, the merrier.”
You can arrive at the venue at any time indicated on the invitation card, unless you are encouraged to come at a specific time. The couple will not be at the feast for the entire day and it’s okay if you need to leave before they make an appearance at the venue. Don’t worry about seating arrangements either; feel free to occupy vacant seats.
If you notice some people wearing outfits of a similar colour at the event, it’s not a coincidence. Family members and friends are often requested to wear a particular color (which sometimes match the décor or theme of the wedding). It also makes it easy for you to identify and approach them if you have any questions.
Let’s Get Loud
Besides the loud colours, you will also be in for an aural treat at a Malay wedding. One of the highlights is the arrival of the groom to the venue where he is accompanied by the rhythmic sounds of the kompang. The groom will have to get through some obstacles posed by the bride’s family and friends and this is when things get rowdy and fun, so get your cameras ready!
While you’re uploading the photos on social media, check if there is a wedding hashtag, so the couple will get to see them later. Don’t miss your chance for photos with the couple on the dais. Just keep an ear out for the announcements for you to make your way to the dais for photos.
When you are up there to congratulate the bride and groom, don’t present your gift of cash to the couple. Pass it to their parents on your way out instead. And yes, it’s true. You don’t have to write your name on the envelope.
With that, you’ve survived your first Malay wedding! If you’re still unsure, perhaps this can give you an idea of what to expect at a Malay wedding:
Each wedding you go to will have its uniqueness according to the couple’s preference, so do jump at the chance when you’re invited.