A traditional Balinese wedding is a truly fascinating sight to behold. Attending a wedding such as this is a great way for visitors to gain an insight into Indonesian culture and social habits. There is such a variety of ethnic groups in Indonesia, guests should understand each wedding will be different and reflect the cultural diversity with different types of wedding dress, ceremony and traditions. Let’s take a closer look at what is involved in a traditional Balinese wedding:
The More the Merrier
Image Credit: Harry Purnama
In Balinese weddings they truly believe the old saying ‘the more the merrier’. Almost every relative, acquaintance, colleague or business partner will be invited to the wedding. Even if a person hasn’t received an invitation it’s usually OK to attend, providing there isn’t a sit down meal. Indonesians love it when many people attend their weddings to show their support.
As at any Western wedding, the women wear beautiful dresses. For men, they either wear a suit or long sleeved batik shirt with slacks. For a Muslim wedding reception it’s not necessary for a foreigner to cover their head, although a lot of Indonesian attendees may have theirs covered.
When it comes to gifts, you aren’t obliged to take one. Some couples may politely suggest that instead of gifts or flowers their guests give them money. Sometimes you’ll be able to insert an envelope containing some money into a beautiful box at the reception, where you can number both your envelope and signature in the guest book so the couple know how much you gave them.
Thank yous will likely be given on your attendance to the wedding rather than after. You may be given a small token as you arrive, like a keychain for example.
The wedding celebrations vary from couple to couple. It could be something as simple as a meal in the family home, or something a little more opulent in the beautiful Chedi Club (which comes highly recommended). Usually, you’ll arrive, sign the guest book, accept your thank you token, deposit your gift if you’ve bought one before finally entering the reception hall to greet the couple and other guests. You shouldn’t expect there to be dancing or drinking at traditional Balinese weddings, but be prepared for speeches, food and traditional music. The feast at the reception can be vast, so make sure you arrive hungry!
Balinese weddings are a joy to attend, so if you ever have the opportunity you shouldn’t miss out!
Image Header Credit: Wedding Worship