A few weeks ago one of our Indonesian friends got married. Weddings here are usually fairly low-key affairs, with only a few people attending. Not so the receptions. The receptions vary widely depending on the financial status of the families, but one thing you can always count on--tons of people, lots of food, many people, loud music, countless people, bright colors, and a LOT of people!
They (the receptions) all tend to follow a pretty standard routine. First you arrive and wait in a long line that slowly works it's way inside the building (in this case a church) or tarp-covered structure. While you're visiting with the strangers in the line, the bride and groom are usually being photographed and videoed.
This little guy was mesmerized by the lights of the cameras and the colors of the wedding reception.
The reason for the slow line is the bottle-neck at the food tables. That's step two--fill your plate heaping full of yummy food. They always have a ton of local food favorites. Then, you go find a seat (if there are any left) and you eat.
Usually, while you're sitting there you start seeing a bunch of people you know. So the next step is to chat it up with all your friends. In this case we ran into our house helper, Abi (second from right), her sister, Orpa, (beside Joy) and our neighbor's helper, Nona, (far right). Of course, seeing my camera they requested a photo, knowing that I'll print it off later and give it to them.
You have to eat and visit pretty fast because it's like a never-ending tide of people coming in...if you don't keep moving you feel like you're going to get run over and smooshed. So after scarfing down the food you get up and make your way up towards the front to the greeting lines. You quite literally have to push and bump your way through, because it's just a mass of people--but that's normal and expected.
You make your way up one side and across the front and down the other, greeting the groom's entire family, and the bride and groom themselves, and the bride's entire family. Along the way you pass a big jar (actually a ceramic vase type thing) where you drop in an envelope with a monetary gift.
As westerners, there's usually an extra step for us when we get up front and center. They always want us to stop and pose with the bride and groom so they can get photos and video. It used to make us feel very awkward but we've gotten used to it buy now. Ana is the helper of another MAF family and a very good friend of Abi. Joy has also gotten to know her quite well over the past few years since she often hangs out at our house with Abi.
And that's it. After you're finished greeting everyone and dropping your money envelope, you just take off and head home. Quick and simple, that's how they role here. Good times!