Last May I flew to Jakarta, Indonesia to shoot my first traditional Batak wedding. Indonesia is a land where tradition is very rich and diverse and this is one of them. I have never met Ika + Putra before and finally I got to meet them during their rehearsal and we hit it off very quickly. They are a cool and fun couple, and when I asked about what they would like to see in their wedding photos, they mentioned that they were a bit concerned that their wedding is not going to allow moments and emotions to come out naturally since it is a very tight schedule. So I told them that there is nothing that we can change about the wedding, but the main thing is for the two of them to continually focus on each other. I asked them to be themselves, a couple of people that jokes around with each other, loves each other’s company in any situation. They did just that and I love being able to capture little moments throughout the day that signifies who they are as a couple.
For those who are not familiar with Indonesian weddings, they are huge, and the wedding coverage is long. This wedding was attended by about 7000 people (the reception was held in 2 buildings) and my coverage was about 19-hours.
The day started with an event called Maribuhai-buhai, in which the bride and groom’s families have breakfast together at the bride’s home. After some prayers and blessings with rice, they went to church where their marriage is blessed religiously. Then we’re off to the reception, where they are greeted by a traditional Batak live music and dancers as they make their way to the podium. Then the Namargoar ni juhut starts, which basically is a cow that is cooked in Batak style that was given by the groom’s family to the bride’s family. Then the bride’s family gives the groom’s family Dengke, which is a fish that is also cooked in Batak style. After lunch they commenced Somba ni adat and Somba ni uhum, which is offerings by the groom’s family to the bride’s. The remainder of the night is filled with Ulos na Marhadohoan where the families will give the traditional Batak cloth like a sarong to the bride and groom as well as the important family members.
Batak wedding tradition is a very interesting one indeed. The traditional outfits are beautiful and colorful. Through the barrage of traditional activities, I can see one thing that is a common theme there in their culture: family. Everything revolves around the families, focusing on paying respect to the elders and gift giving. It was simply, beautiful.
Special thanks to my friends, Henry and Jacob of Edward Suhadi Productions for second shooting for me.