One of my Indonesian teachers invited us to a traditional Javanese wedding at a swanky apartment complex south of us. The bride and groom wore these great red outfits with sequins all over and the bride, as you can see, had an especially amazing hat.
We arrived partway through the ceremony, which was done on a little stage at the front of the room. There were some prayers, and a song. Then the bride knelt on a big lazy-susan type of thing and got turned around to face different people for different elements of the ceremony ... which struck me as a rather ominous bit of symbolism.
Then the reception began, and people started pouring into the room at an amazing rate. There were food stations with everything from spaghetti to an entire roast lamb. We got this very tasty braised beef with rice, tempeh fritters and chili sauce, served on a banana leaf.
Tragically, Javanese weddings appear to have one thing in common with a lot of American weddings - the bride and groom miss out on all the fun. They stood on the stage the entire time we were there, greeting a line of people that stretched out the door.
They looked like they could've used a plate of spaghetti. If I were the bride, I could've used a gin and tonic. But it was a Muslim wedding, so there wasn't any alcohol.
It's hard to convey how packed the place was. It was a big conference room, and at the height of dinner, it was quite full. I looked around wondering how many of these people, like us, knew neither the bride nor the groom. But almost as soon as the crowd peaked, it began receding. According to my teacher's husband, people will spend the evening just hitting one wedding reception after another.
After dinner there was a pretty good band with a singer doing Indonesian pop music. For a sample, click here.