Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Wedding: Five Ceremonies

This is for my international friends, blog readers and followers, a brief description to what each ceremony was about... and the reason why I was having such a wedding outfit dilemma since I have five occasions to dress up for...

The Nikah... the solemnization, taking the marriage vow. For the muslims, this involved the groom to utter the vow with the condition it is said in one breath with no breaks or pauses, if he does, he has to repeat until he could. The microphone is there for everyone else to hear it. It was held at my home, in the living room and it was packed with families from both sides and a few friends. This is the most important ceremony out of all as this is the one that says you are married in the eyes of God. You can skip out the rest of the ceremonies as long as this one happens.

The Berbedak... Powdering. This was more for culture than religion. Typically the bride gets all dressed up in the traditional outfit that was the descendent of the Chinese Princess that came to Brunei and married one of the first few Kings at that time, which king I can't remember, and the local people saw and decided to adopt the get up. Along the decades the head gear was updated and made lighter, before it was made from bronze, and other stuff added on. The yellow and white that was wrapped around my head was made out of paper is the present day substitute to flowers that were used originally. In the olden days, the gold woven wrap around the waist was to show the wealth of the country and family as well as to hide the tell tale signs of pregnancy. The powdering purpose is for families and invited guests to wish the bride on the marriage. The powder is made into a thin paste which is coloured, the rule of thumb is for it to be of seven colours. I have yet to get an explanation as to why seven, my guess is it's to do with the seven colours of the rainbow that represent the future. At the end of the ceremony the leftover paste is scrubbed onto the bride (I had mine done the next morning) for smooth skin. The groom have this ceremony as well, only his outfit is different, for one thing he didn't have to wear that thing on the head.

The Berpacar... Henna ceremony. This came from the Indians as they are part of our heritage too, similar to berbedak only instead of powder it's the henna that people put onto your hands. Needless to say the palms of my hands were stained orange for a while. My sister called in a professional henna lady who did flower patterns on my hands and I treated whoever was over at that time to have henna designs too.

The outfit I was wearing is the traditional songket, or woven cloth with gold thread. Usually people getting married would wear outfits made out of this material as only royalties are able to afford them, as you are king and queen for the day it is fitting that you should dress up like one. I for one dislike it as it was hot and stiff. This one was rented, the tiara was my sister's when she got married twelve years ago (something borrowed!)...

The Bersanding... King and Queen for a day! It was held at a hotel ballroom, with a sit down lunch for all invited guests. This was the grandest out of all the ceremonies as you invite all your friends, it is not uncommon to have guest lists that goes beyond hundreds as they are made up of your friends, parents friends, your siblings friends, your aunts and uncles friends... 

We both decided to wear a western style of outfits as a homage to our parents when they got married in gowns and suits. Threw in a couple of page boys and flower girls, made up of nephews and nieces in their dresses and bow ties. The older two on either side of us are known as pengiring, I was told it's an honour to be selected as one, that's his nephew and my oldest niece. The wedding dias is bigger and grander to the one at home, it filled up the whole stage and almost reached the ceiling.

The procedure was that we hold our respective sit down lunch, his was at another place and mine was at the hotel, then he would come over to the hotel with his entourage where I shall be waiting for him to come and we enter the hall together with the kids heading towards the dias. Then it's photo op time!

Malam Ambil-Ambilan... night reception for the groom's side of the family. During the day, not all of his family would have come and therefore didn't see us together. This function is mainly to give an opportunity for his side to see and take pictures with us. This white wedding dias was in the living room for over a week as the nikah ceremony and this ceremony was a week apart. I took the opportunity to wear a different outfit and had a different bouquet, heheh...

So, just a quick rundown of what the past few months and weeks led up to as well as an insight to the wedding culture here.

More photos here:
My make up artist, nikah, berbedak, berpacar, bersanding and berambilan
My aiki friend nikah, berpacar and bersanding

Got more pictures coming...!


  1. I was so excited when i saw an update...
    thanks for the info going wif the pics coz even i did not realise some of the origins of Brunei's traditions... need another visit to the museum when i go home next ^_^
    still waiting for Erwan's pics n I saw him in ur Berbedak pic!

  2. Congratulations again Rozi :) You look fab in all 5 occasions. I visited Heidi's page to see more of your pictures there. & thanks for the info on Brunei wedding. I learnt more on the history of each occasion :)

    Congrats again dear!

  3. wow!
    I was absolutely captivated reading about all the ceremonies. You look so beautiful in every photo congratulatons

  4. Am still waiting for the pictures too Sen, whenever they are ready...

    Thanks Suzi, am planning to do more of my wedding posts...

    Thanks Dre, looking back it had been fun, I'm glad I did them all like my parents wanted instead of what I wanted :-p (the original plan was two ceremonies only and all in a day)


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