A few months back, I got an email inquiry to shoot a wedding in Jakarta, Indonesia.
From the moment I Skyped with Idya + Theddy, I felt at ease and we connected right away. We chatted for about an hour about the possibilities of shooting their 1500-guest reception and I couldn’t help but being very intrigued about what to expect.
Now that I’ve experienced it, I can’t wait to share the photographs and stories about some of the Chinese-Indonesian traditions I witnessed.
Idya + Theddy got ready at the venue, Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, which is one of the oldest 5-star hotel in Indonesia. The morning started off normally. Breakfast, shower, make up and hair. You know, the usual. Then, as part of the Chinese customs, Idya’s Mom and Dad helped putting on the jewelry and the gloves. I guess the gloves were necessary because the bride and groom would later on shake hands with ALL the guests who were gracious enough to attend the reception.
Meanwhile, Theddy and his groomsmen had to pick up the bride in her room but the bridesmaids weren’t going to make it easy for the guys. They had to go through a series of stunts and some intense negotiations to prove that the groom was worthy of the bride. Hilarity ensued. :)
From there, they had to go to the lobby together and left the hotel in the limo to symbolize that they were leaving the bride’s home to go visit the groom’s parents to do the tea ceremony.
Later in the evening, the reception started. Outside the venue lobby there were lots and lots of boards made out of flowers congratulating the happy couple, another Indonesian tradition. Then guests started coming through security and metal detectors. Lots of food, lots of guests. I guess when you have 1000-plus guests, the venue has to be bigger than a football field. I also saw the biggest wedding cake I’ve ever seen. So big, in fact, that Idya and Theddy had to cut it with a knife on a long pole.
At this point, I had been shooting for about 11 hours and the next few events started to blur into one another. I knew that the guests were enjoying all kinds of gourmet foods and desserts while the band was playing some music in the background. Then there was a dance performance while a giant camera on a crane covered the entire event live and broadcasted it on two very large LCD screens so all the guests could see. Lastly, the couple threw the bouquet together and anyone could participate in catching it. Not only the single ladies.
All in all, I’m glad I did it. It certainly was very different from what I normally shoot here in the US. And I got the chance to work alongside my talented friends Edward Suhadi and Erwin Wijanto, who shoot this type of weddings week in and week out. I certainly learned a lot from them.
And lastly, I’d like to express my gratitude to Idya + Theddy who had flown me a few thousand miles, trusted me and believed in my vision in unfamiliar territory. I want to try to do this once a year. Any more takers? :)
Venue: Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, Jakarta, Indonesia
Planner/Organizer: Party Purrfect