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If you’ve been invited to an Indonesian wedding and are nervous about how to act and what to say, don’t worry! We’re about to give you some very useful insight on Indonesian weddings so that you’ll feel totally at ease when attending one. Follow these simple rules and we guarantee you’ll have a good time!

1. You’re not expected to attend the ceremony…but you should!

As a guest, based on Indonesian traditions, you actually have the option not to attend the wedding ceremony and head straight to the reception area instead. But why do that when you can attend both? Your participation would be appreciated if you are willing to spend enough time and effort to be there- especially if you are closely related to the bride or groom! However, if you do decide to attend the ceremony, remember to commit and be on time. Even if the event is not mandatory, it’s rude to show up late! 

7 Things to Expect When Attending an Indonesian Wedding Photo Credit Terralogical 8Photo Credit: Terralogical Photography

2. Wear a kebaya or batik

Guests have the choice of wearing either a kebaya or batik. These pieces of clothing are wonderfully woven and usually made out of silk, giving off a sleek and modern feel. With less traditional Indonesian weddings, the rules are more relaxed so you can pretty much wear anything you’d like as long as the proper body parts are covered. However, you should make sure how “traditional” the wedding will be before you attend. Whatever it is you decide to wear, you should prioritize comfort over everything else! No one wants to go to a party and feel uneasy for the whole event!

7 Things to Expect When Attending an Indonesian Wedding Photo Credit Terralogical 5 Photo Credit: Terralogical Photography

3. Don’t wait for the couple to come to you, go to them! 

Indonesian weddings are massive and most of the time, the bride and groom can’t greet all the guests one by one. As a guest, it is your obligation to take the time to go up to the newlyweds and personally congratulate them. Don’t keep the conversation long though. They have a lot of people to get through. Be sincere and polite when saying your thank-you’s. After that, you can get back to your friends and enjoy the rest of the party! 

7 Things to Expect When Attending an Indonesian Wedding Photo Credit Terralogical 4

Photo Credit: Terralogical Photography

4. Give money as a wedding gift

In Indonesia, gifts are very important. However, you don’t have to rack your brain thinking of something creative to give. In Indonesian wedding culture, you can just give an envelope with money. At the reception desk to the wedding there should be a beautifully decorated box where you can slip the envelope straight inside. The hostesses of the wedding will then mark your envelope with a number. Afterwards, she will put the number in the guestbook and ask for your signature next to the number so that the couple will know how much you gave. On top of this, you’re not expected to give another gift. If you’re unsure about the amount, consider how much each person costs to host at the wedding or ask others who are closer to the couple.

7 Things to Expect When Attending an Indonesian Wedding Photo Credit Terralogical 2

Photo Credit: Terralogical Photography

5. Be standing more than you're sitting

Indonesian wedding receptions don’t need seating arrangements because they prefer to have people standing instead! Think of this as a fun way to interact and mingle with other guests. Do not complain about having to stand too long and don’t go around looking for tables or chairs because that would just make you look impolite and rude. The secret to having a good time at an Indonesian wedding (or any other wedding really) is to respect the flow of events! Be social and approachable. Listen to the speeches and talk to people outside of your circle!

7 Things to Expect When Attending an Indonesian Wedding Photo Credit Terralogical 1

Photo Credit: Terralogical Photography

6. No alcohol (yes, you read that correctly!)

Weddings with no alcohol? Yes, it can be done! Unlike most events that you may be used to, one simply cannot call it a party without having a few drinks. But in Indonesian weddings, alcohol is not served at the reception! It is also rude to drink prior to the party. However, if you must have a drink, you can do that during your own time. So if you really want to have a drink or two, wait until after the party- and in the meantime, enjoy some good, clean, fun at the reception. Yes, it's possible!

7 Things to Expect When Attending an Indonesian Wedding Photo Credit Terralogical 3

Photo Credit: Terralogical Photography

7. Don’t show off your dance moves

No awkward (or drunken) dance moves will be involved since Indonesian weddings don’t include dancing on their agenda. They prefer to keep it as simple and formal as possible. But it won’t be a totally silent event since there will still be music for everyone to enjoy. In most Indonesian weddings, they hire a band to play at the reception!

7 Things to Expect When Attending an Indonesian Wedding Photo Credit Terralogical 7

Photo Credit: Terralogical Photography

Now that you have an idea on what an Indonesian weddings look like, stick to these rules and you won’t have a hard time dealing with everything. The most important thing is to know your limitations and be aware of what to expect when you have been invited as a guest. Always be yourself but prepare to be on your best behavior as well!