An Indonesian wedding reception

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Last night, Goodies Restaurant at Smiling Hill was the site of a wedding reception for a bule

The pool was decorated with rings of flowers with candles in their center

(Westerner) and Indonesian woman. We had about 150 guests around the pool on a pleasant evening under a full moon. It’s a great venue for a reception.

Despite battling a fever for three days, I arrived, camera in tow, early, to capture the pagentry. Too early. We had two buffet lines set up, one on each side of the pool. A large area of seating was set up, as well as tables and chairs scattered around. The pool was decorated with rings of red flowers and greenery, with candles inside, floating on the azure-blue water. Candles and the full moon provided most of the lighting around the pool.

On one end of the pool, a covered bandstand was set up for a live band, which consisted of a guitarist, violin, bass fiddle, banjo, percussion and vocals. They played a lot of country and western. They sang the lyrics in English and I wondered if they knew the meaning of the words, which is so important in C&W.

On the far end of the pool from the restaurant, in the covered pavilion there, they set up a

The newly married couple

receiving area for the wedding party. This was also where the wedding cake was located. The pavilion was decorated in light blue and white bunting and ribbons, with six large, white easy chairs lining one wall. These were for the newlyweds in the middle two chairs, with their parents on either side. They would sit here all night, rising to greet guests as they arrived.

The guest trickled in for more than two hours, with the buffets opening just after 8. Just before then, however, the usual wedding reception rituals took place – meaning the cutting of the cake and such.

A particular treat was the entertainment provided by six dancing girls, dressed in

These women, dressed in traditional Indonesian ceremonial garb, danced for the crowd.

ceremonial Indonesian outfits. They were quite beautiful, as was their dance. The highlight of the night for me.

Indonesian weddings and the subsequent receptions can go on for some time, I was told. Some of the expats I’ve talked with relate how they had three weddings – one in Batam, one in the wife’s hometown in Indonesia and a third in the husband’s hometown. This particular wedding might have taken place earlier in the day, or the day before, or the day before that. Unlike in the U.S., the reception doesn’t necessarily follow right after the wedding.

And unlike in the U.S., the reception is not a party atmosphere, with lots of drinking and

About 150 people attended the reception, filing in during the evening and first being welcomed by the newly weds and their parents.

dancing. In fact, since this is a Muslim country and this was a Muslim wedding, there was no alcohol involved, and dancing would have been mild indeed, if there had been any. Also, the expat getting married would have had to convert to Islam to be married to his wife, or she would have had to convert to his religion, which is not the usual choice.

As an aside, the wedding cake, which was, as you can see, tall and slim, broke apart when they positioned it before anyone arrived. They put it back together but we felt for sure it would fall at the slightest bump of the table, probably landing in someone’s lap. But, thankfully, it made it through the night, even through the cake cutting. You can see the slant in the photo.

I’ve asked the groom for photos of the actual wedding and will share those when they arrive.


It might surprise readers to know that Easter is celebrated here. In fact, about 20 religious holidays, many for other religions represented in this country, are celebrated as official holidays. Chinese New Year’s is celebrated. As are Hindu holy days. The country’s constitution mandates this. Good Friday was a day off, with most government offices and banks closed. Bars were closed the night before. Can you imagine the U.S. sanctioning a Muslim holiday? Makes you wonder about American openness. Or is that a contradiction?


Like I said above, I contracted a nasty fever last week that had me laid up in bed for more than two days. Thought it had gone Saturday morning, went to work, but it came back and I stayed on my back all afternoon resting for the wedding reception. Fever finally broke while I was running around the pool taking pictures.

All the ladies on staff, in the office and the restaurant, asked if I had gone or was going to the doctor. Same as home, the women go to the doctor, the men gut it out. I doubt they understood my stubbornness. They also don’t understand how this stuff gets around.

I ventured to the restaurant one night really weak, with my joints hurting so bad that walking was painful – but I needed some food. I tried to stay away from everyone, since it is most contagious when you have a fever, which was all I had this time. I tried to explain that touch and breathing could spread the disease, but this is a foreign concept to them.

I think I mentioned how many here ride their motorbikes with a jacket worn backwards to protect their chests from the “evil wind.” They think they can get sick from the wind blowing on their uncovered chests. They don’t recognize that any disease would enter through their unprotected mouth or nose. They don’t understand that coughing or sneezing will spread germs. Apparently, even for those who go to school, there is no health education provided.

BTW, it’s Easter Sunday and I feel fine. No worries, as my Aussie friends would say. I have decided to stop using tap water for my ice, however, as I seem to be contracting more ills here than is normal. It’s either the water or all the kids in the neighborhood. Kids are great from spreading such things.

Finally, I’ve included a photo of my new marketing and sales assistant – Risma. You may

Risma is now assisting me with our marketing and sales efforts

remember her from a previous post when she and I and Somria, one of the Goodies waittresses, went on a tour. Risma is going to provide us with some great assistance in reaching out to the Indonesian locals, who are making up more and more of the restaurant customer base. She has so far been working on our Facebook site ( smilinghill), which has been neglected for some time. Risma is able to post material in both English and Indonesian. We welcome you to “friend” us.

This week, she and I will be going down into the kampung bule (Westernerners village or “the bars”) to sign up bars for our food take-out service. I designed some menu brochures and we had some samples printed up to distribute. I should be well known by many of the bars, and the ladies there, by the time we’re through. (P.S. I don’t know why people keep sticking me with these attractive staffers. It’s always a challenge.)

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
This entry was posted in Batam, Goodies, Medical, Smiling Hill, Weddings and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to An Indonesian wedding reception

  1. askewebb says:

    I am glad to hear you are feeling better!

Comments are closed.