Back in training, I had the opportunity to attend many, many weddings. Based on this, my language instructor constantly joked about how much I like parties—which is true.
Yet, an Indonesia wedding isn’t the type of event one imagines in the West. First of all, the actual wedding ceremony takes place at another time and I have yet to see this. I’ve attended what we would call a “wedding reception,” and these events are much less formal. I wore jeans most days, and so did everyone else.
In a small village, almost the whole town is invited to the wedding reception, which is a huge outdoor party with enormous amounts of food. Most guests arrive and sit in a waiting area with kue—small savory and sweet treats—until they can proceed to the dining area.
In the dining area there are rows of plastic chairs and you grab a plate and serve yourself from a buffet-like setup. You sit, you eat and you move out to make room for the next guest. After eating, families usually give 20,000 rupiah (or $2.00) to the wedding hosts and leave with a box full of kue and other food to take home.
It’s not really the party I imagined when I excitedly accepted to go to my first Indonesian wedding, but it was lovely in its own way. The food is good and the people are warm—and my family stayed for about 20 minutes max, so it was totally doable. A few weddings I went to also had live music and karaoke. I never saw anyone dancing though, so I’m not sure if that’s common.
Here are a few images from one of the weddings I attended and some wedding preparations I helped with.
Indonesian ibu preparing tofu.
Some more tahu or tofu waiting to be sliced.
My training host ibu helping her extended family cook food for the wedding party.
It is also customary to give food to all the guests as a party favor. This woman was arranging chicken, noodles, tempe and rice in brown paper wrapping.
I helped with the rubber bands.
On to the outside….
Here there was a lot more cooking going happening on firewood stoves.
This woman is cooking large amounts of rice on a firewood stove. All of those pots are filled with nasi.
Woman cooking wedgi, a fried savory treat.
An closer look.
Another fried treat, that tastes like a soft eggroll. Don’t remember the name though.
My host oma, or grandmother, cooking.
I understood this to be made from potato. It may be sweet potato though, since these are sweet and tasty.
A group of women preparing all of the kue, or small sweet treats to be served to the wedding guests.
Cigarettes and apple juice for guests in an Indonesian wedding. This is at another wedding. Not the one we prepared for.
This wedding was for relatives of Sam’s host family. Mike, Sam and Sam’s host father looking fly in wedding batik.
Sam put a lot of work into this wedding’s preparations.
The bride and groom in traditional clothing.
A couple of wedding guests. Shaun the Sheep is big in this country…which is unfortunate for a volunteer sharing the sheep’s name.
Another wedding guest.
And another…it’s a tiny hijab for a tiny baby!
Mike and Sam’s host mothers and friends in their kebaya, or traditional formal clothing.
Take home kue from the wedding.