In the past two months, I’ve attended two weddings. In July, I went to the wedding of my older sister in Burlington, Vermont and in August, I attended the wedding of Alit & Adi in Celuk (a small village outside of Ubud).
As my sister and her husband (…still feels so strange to write that) are getting their professional wedding pictures back, I found myself downloading those at the same time I was downloading my own photos from the wedding in Celuk. It was funny timing and provided an interesting cultural comparison for me. I think someone could do a whole Watson Fellowship on weddings. While I want to stay away from making generalizations about something as personal as weddings in either country, I thought I’d share what my experiences were at both. (This also serves as a great excuse to be completely self-indulgent and share some of my sister’s beautiful wedding photos).
Burlington, Vermont, USA
Celuk, Bali, Indonesia
THE BRIDE & GROOM:
Maid of Honor. (Dress ordered online from J. Crew bridal).
Awkward westerner in the corner. (Kebaya made from a tailor in Mas Village, sarong purchased at the Citado Shop on Jalan Hanoman, scarf-turned-sash brought from home. Note: As you can probably tell from my inappropriately sloppy sarong, this picture was not actually taken at the wedding but at my homestay afterwards.
The Northern Lights boat on Lake Champlain.
The celebration started at the groom's house. After a few hours, we walked to the bride's house, and after that, back to the groom's house. This way, the bride and groom's families share the responsibility of hosting the wedding.
A few hours before the wedding Bree was getting ready in a hotel room with the bridal party and my Mom and me (pictured with her above).
A few hours before the wedding Alit & Adi got their teeth filed with four other young adults. Although teenagers usually get their teeth filed when they start menstruating (for girls) or when their voices change (for boys), Adi & Alit's families were saving up to have a nice ceremony. However, it's important for people to have this done before they get married. As a result, like Adi and Alit, many couples end up having their teeth filed together on the morning of their wedding. Combining these ceremonies is also a resourceful way for families to save money.
Going with the whole boat theme, my mom, Bree, Travis and I made these origami boats and used them as name cards at the tables.
My mom, master gardener that she is, organized a crew of friends and family to arrange flowers in our basement the morning of the wedding.
The family temple was filled with offerings, fruit, and flowers.
The entry way to the groom's family compound was also lined with signs similar to those at the cremation; they wished the couple good luck and were sponsored by individuals or businesses.
THE BRIDAL PARTY
(Some of) the large bridal party in Bree's hotel room.
During the ceremony, the only people up there with the bride, groom and priest (all seated) were their mothers, Adi's father and a photographer.
The ceremony was about 30 minutes long and the entire wedding about six hours. Travis's Dad, Edward, officiated. The ceremony was not religious and featured several readings and vows that Travis and Bree had written for each other.
The ceremony was about two hours long and the entire wedding (including the tooth filing) was eight hours. The ceremony followed Balinese Hinduism tradition. The bride and groom remained seated and the priest went through a series of mantras and blessings for the couple.
There was a lot of food at this wedding but the cupcakes (especially the maple bacon ones) were my favorite part. There was also a buffet dinner and open bar.
There was also a lot of food at this wedding. In fact, people snacked throughout the ceremony. There was a buffet meal served at both the bride and the groom's house (within about an hour of each other) and it's considered rude not to eat lunch in both places. Pictured above is the buffet at the bride's house: rice, lawar (a Balinese delicacy) and fish satay. In the banana leaf is fish paste and sambal (sauce).
My good friend Hanna and my cousin Ella ran my ipod on the back of the boat.
There were multiple gamelan players who rotated shifts and also a group of women who helped to chant the mantras.
Because it was the 3rd of July, the night that Burlington has its Independence Day fireworks, there was a display over the lake.
There was also a lot of ridiculous dancing. (No idea what we're dancing to in the picture above, but knowing my sister and me, "Like A Prayer" is a pretty good guess).
Guests remained sitting for the whole ceremony & reception, but masked dancers performed around them.
There were also several female comedians/singers hired for a few hours. (As a side note, it was awesome to see FEMALE comedians performing..if only I could have understood more of what they were saying).
There was also a TV to the left of the temple that was on the whole time. Guests would watch the wedding for a little bit, then maybe send a text, then watch some TV, eat a little and then focus on the wedding again.
Congrats Adi, Alit, Bree and Travis. B & T, thank you for humoring me.
Photos: Courtesy of Leah Potosky, Merrin Mandigo Photography, Eleuthera Sa and Per Bang-Jensen
And because I'm miles away and in a sentimental state, I have to include the picture above which is of my sister and me dancing at another wedding (in Teva sandals?) circa 1995. Some things never change.