An Open Ceremony

Wedding receptions are quite open here. Family or friends of an invited person are also welcome to be at a reception. The guests can come and leave at any time during a two or three hour reception. They queue up to offer their congratulations to the bride, the groom and their prarents on a decorated stage, and they proceed to buffet bars, eat and then leave. Except the ceaseless line of guests to and from the stage, it was just like an ordinary party.


Once I was invited by our family driver, Aris. However this was a bit different.


To begin with, the invitation card puzzled me. It said the reception at "11:00 s/d selsai (until it ends.)" I couldn't make out what this exactly meant. Our housemaids who were also invited said they weer going to to there at 5 o'clock and explained it would last till night. But still it was beyond my comprehension, imagining a couple greeting guest all day long; it must be tiring.


Anyway my friend, who shares the family car with me, and  I headed for the address just after 11 o'clock on the day. Contrary to our expectation of a restaurant or a convention hall, it was a private house. There were rows of chairs in the yard and on the street in front, where only some people sat. The ceremony seemed to be sparsely attended.


A lady, introducing herself as the grandmother of the bride,  said that the bride and the groom were still changing their clothes, and ushered us to the seats. She, too, sat next to us and she obviously was trying to entertain us, two perplexed Japanese.


Soon Aris and his bride appeared in beautiful traditional costumes. They were greeting the guest, having a chat with them and posing with them for photographs before sending them to the table with not many but homemade dishes on it. While I was there, I felt a very warm and friendly atmosphere all the time, which I had never experienced at previous reception.


I also saw a familiar scene that people were queuing up, eating and leaving. A group of uniformed people were among them. They seemed to be civil servants at an office nearby. I now think I understand why a couple spend a whole day for a reception. They might be saying, "We are a new wed-couple. Please come and celebrate with us at your convenience, and share our happy day!" 


#62 Parkway Vol.7 No.5 October 1993 












新郎新婦が出てくるのを待つ間に、おばあさんは私たちを、お祝いの品で飾られたピンク一色の二人の寝室まで案内してくれました。そこへ、「日本人が来た」と珍しそうに親戚の人たちも入ってきて一緒に記念写真。みんなでピンクのベッドの上に座って・・・・。 この日2000人以上の人がお祝いに訪れたそうです。