07 August 2015

A Family Wedding

In our community, "family" is sometimes counted a little differently than one might expect. Maybe blood isn't what binds us to Auntie Letchimi and her children and grandchildren, but our lives have been irretrievably intertwined with 3 generations of this family for more than a decade now, and this past July 31st, we were excited to celebrate the marriage of Issabelle.

Here in Malaysia, most marriages take place first legally, and at some later date, the religious ceremony is celebrated. July 31st was Issabelle and Daniel's legal marriage ceremony, and they plan to have a church wedding in about 6 months.

Because this was the legal ceremony, they opted to keep it fairly small, limiting attendance to mostly just family--which explains the presence of 11 of their closest American relatives.

It was a blast to be part of the preparations of the event--I'm so glad we moved here just in time to help with the planning. Issabelle came over to my house a few weeks in advance to, with my help and the help of my younger sisters, mass-produce 30 adorable thank-you cards to give to her guests. It was a really fun girls' crafting night even if it was planned at the last minute. We were all thankful for mom's craft supply cupboard, which makes mass-producing cards a really easy task, since we didn't even have to go shopping for supplies!

This was an early morning marriage registration--the goal was to be at the office as soon as it opened, because they were told that marriages are registered on a "first come, first served" basis, and they didn't want to have to wait in line--they wanted to be the first couple of the day married at that office!

This meant that at 6 a.m. I was at Issabelle's father's house, curling and pinning and hair-spraying her hair like the stylist I am. She usually wears her naturally straight hair down, and doesn't tend to wear any ornate styles, so we thought that the half-up 'do with loose curls suited her for her big day.

The bride chose to honor her Chinese heritage with a red wedding dress, perfectly coordinated with all of her red accessories and her groom's red shirt. We drove the bride and Auntie Letchimi to the ceremony in our little orange car (I'm thinking of naming it "The Flying Carrot" but I haven't made a firm decision).

Most of the family who attended the wedding were from Issabelle's mother's side, and came out dressed in their best traditional gear. We followed suit, because it's just not a formal family event if Auntie Letchimi isn't re-pleating your sari or tugging on your draped shawl (it's tradition. Aunties are always better at getting dressed than you are. Just accept it.).

 The bride with her older sister

 The bride with her father

 The 'big' little brother

All the handsome boys!

These three have grown-up together--although it does seem that they are all still on the small side...

First, we waited impatiently and took lots of photos as they turned in all their paperwork at the desk:

The family crowded into the ornate room where marriage ceremonies are done. I didn't exactly know what to expect because this was my first time actually attending a Malaysian registration of marriage at the marriage office. The ceremony was performed in Bahasa Malaysia, and the bride's father and groom's mother served as the official witnesses. They raised their right hands and signed papers. They were given two copies of their marriage certificate, one specifically for the man and one for the woman. Afterwards, we excitedly grouped around them for photos while they sat in the special bride and groom chairs.

 The bride's family: parents, siblings, niece and nephew, and a few cousins

Another branch of the family--we had a hard time fitting all of us on the stage!

After the registration, the bride and groom invited the whole family to a breakfast reception at a local Indian restaurant, with unlimited roti canai, tosai, idli, and puri for all! We had a lot of fun eating our flatbreads and curries off of banana leaves. (And let me tell you, if you've never eaten curry with your hands while wearing a gorgeously embroidered sari--you've missed out on an interesting experience!) Sadly, we have no pictures of the breakfast--due to the aforementioned fact that our hands were otherwise employed.

We did snag a few pictures together in the garden after we got home before we changed back into more comfy clothes for the duration of the afternoon.

We're so happy for you, Issabelle and Daniel, and look forward to your next wedding ceremony!

{This was the first wedding I've attended since my own in 2010! That's too long. When's the last time you attended a wedding ceremony?}
Katie Marie said...

The last wedding I attended was back in February. It's always so much fun to go to a wedding. I'm thankfully looking forward to another wedding in November, so I have that to look forward to. But I'm one of those gals that, if I don't have any weddings coming up in the future, I almost want to crash a wedding, lol. It's so much fun to get dressed up and then see the bride and her beautiful gown! :-D

Katie //

Shybiker said...

How nice! The clothes are so colorful.

Suzanne said...

Wow! It was great to see this. I adore the bride's gown.


Patty said...

I just love the beautiful colors all the women wear....your littlest sister looked adorable! Its so interesting to me how cultures around the world celebrate getting married.

Anonymous said...

I love weddings! If I could go to a wedding a least once a month, I think my wedding obsession might subside. This one is beautiful! Thank you for sharing :)

Daisy @ Simplicity Relished said...

Oh how fun! You all look fantastic. That breakfast sounds good-- glad you didn't share any photos though or you'd give me the munchies! haha

Unknown said...

such a beautiful wedding! I wish i had more engaged friends :D

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, so, so beautiful! Everything looks amazing and warm and wonderful.

I love South/Southeast Asian wedding traditions. I have my own Auntie from Gujarat who lives in Detroit and threw me a Mendhi party a few weeks ago before I got married, and it was truly special and lively.

I'm surprised that Malaysia separates the legal registration from the religious aspect; that's really interesting!

Brianna Wachter said...

So neat to learn about wedddings in Malaysia! I love all the traditional outfits...such pretty colors! Congrats to the bride and groom!

Vashtiqvega43 said...

Great wedding photos! I love the outfits––so lively and colorful. Everyone looks so happy.

Midnight Cowgirl said...

Sounds like a wonderful wedding day! Love the family pictures :)

Brita Long said...

You, the bride, and the entire family is so beautiful and so happy! I look forward to the post on the religious ceremony.

Anonymous said...

A wedding is a wonderful event, especially if it is planned and long awaited. But there are situations when a wedding is a necessary measure. Unfortunately, sometimes girls don't choose their husbands on their own, but marry a man who is chosen for them by them parents or society. I think this is terrible, because each person should be able to make their own choices. If so, I think the best solution to file for divorce in California. You must live the way you want it, and no one should make such important decisions for you!