Sunday, July 12, 2009

An Indonesian wedding in Jakarta's Rumah Maroko

On Friday afternoon, Dear Hubby called to say we'd received an invite for a wedding of one of the partners in his company and he wanted very much to attend. OOH. I was pretty pleased because I wanted to experience what an Indonesian wedding was like. (Perhaps the word "Indonesian" here is not the correct one as Indonesia is very diverse. I think the wedding was Javanese in nature... not quite sure. I wanted to ask around but the music was so loud proper conversation wasn't possible.)

Anyway the invite said it was going to be held the next day in Rumah Maroko (Morocco House). By coincidence, the place was featured in that day's Jakarta Globe. Wah. Look very grand hor. Then it hit me - what on earth am I going to wear??? Although I've lost almost all of my pregnancy weight, I'm not back to the shape I was pre-baby and can't quite yet squeeze back into my old dresses. Luckily I'd kept a dress from my fat days (yes I was erm... chubby at one point in my life, so I know how it feels like to be not size 8 and not pregnant) and slipped it on. Loose but wearable. Phew. Moral of the story - forget not thy (fatty bum-bum) roots.

The next day, Madam Not-Quite-Yet-Fit-Back-Into-Old-Clothes Expat went off to get her hair done. I knew everyone would be glammed up for the event and I knew that I hadn't a hope of out-glamming the ladies of Jakarta but I had to look like at least I'd tried. And yes, dear readers, the hairdresser gave me a hairdo that made me look a little like those Jakartan high society Imelda Marcos lookalikes kik-koking in their high heels. I think Jakartan hairdressers only know one style of blow-dry. ;) Connor actually looked doutbfully at me when I arrived home and cuddled him so I knew I must look very different.

It was a 40 minute drive from our house in Kemang to Rumah Maroko in Menteng. The janur told us which street had the wedding party. A janur is an ornament woven out of coconut fronds and is usually placed at the entrance of the street where the wedding ceremony is taking place. I think my syntax is all wrong in that last sentence but I don't know how to fix it. Anyway.... it's just like the bunga manggar we have back home in Malaysia.

Wah. It was impressive - a white dome rising up above the rest of the houses lining the quiet street. We signed the guest book and entered Rumah Maroko. The corridor leads to a large room with a huge chandelier hanging from its ceiling and a trio of musicians playing Moroccan music in the corner. We are ushered through another door and it opens out to a set of steps which lead out to an open air courtyard. There was a buffet line in the courtyard and a live band was accompanying a female vocalist who was singing love songs. I looked up to see the night sky and a solitary cloud and looked downwards towards the guests.

Wah. WAH. W A H.

Look at all that hair, baby! Fuyoh... I bet LOTS of hairspray had been used! Looked like the set of a new game show - Who Wants To Be Imelda Marcos. I'm sure plenty of the attendees were Who's Who in Jakartan high society as our host is a society man but I hadn't the faintest idea who they were. Apparently Indonesian Tattler was there to cover the wedding but no one approached us to pose for photies. I guess they recognise hoi polloi when they see 'em. Maybe I should have asked the hairdresser for more hairspray.

The invite said the reception starts at 7pm but when we left at 9pm, there were people who were just arriving. According to our driver, this is perfectly acceptable in Indonesia. Our host, the groom, greeted us when we arrived and accepted our congratulations and urged us to have a bite to eat. We joined the queue at the buffet and tried a bit of everything. Okay.. I like a lot of things in Indonesia but one thing that has yet to win my heart is the cuisine.

Halfway through the reception, the groom disappeared and then re-appeared minutes later with his beautiful blushing bride (the only woman there beside me without big-big hair but then she had a head covering on) as the emcee announced their entrance. The happy groom then made a speech and we all clapped and cheered.

Then the karaoke started and we decided to leave. We'd brought Connor along, left him with the maid in a quieter part of Rumah Maroko and decided it was time to get him home. So we sought out our host to congratulate him again and said our goodbyes.

This was quite different from our own wedding. We had a traditional Chinese wedding and we spent most of the time sitting at our guest-of-honour table, doing the yamseng rounds and going up on stage for yamseng and cake-cutting. I barely got a bite to eat and never got to talk to any of our guests.

We had a good time and it was really our first night out together alone since Connor was born. Rumah Maroko is open for events such as weddings, birthday parties... perhaps a product launch? You can check out their website at


  1. It wasnt Tattler, but yes, there were some journos...

  2. triesti: Aww... someone there told me it was Tattler. I was very impressed by the whole wedding actually and very impressed that everyone took so much effort to dress up. My first truly glam event in Jakarta and I really enjoyed the night.

  3. Are you for real ? The fact that you can shove weird-taste Malaysian 'cuisine' down your throat, yet critize the tasteful Indonesian Cullinary shows that something is really wrong with whatever comes out from Malaysia.

  4. How can you NOT like Indonesian food? And coming from a Malaysian, this is shocking indeed. You, madam, are a philistine. Malaysian cuisine is laughable at best. Everything I eat in KL is so bland and tasteless!! It pales in comparison with the rich diversity, complexity, and intricacy of Indonesian food. Period. And I'm just talking about the native food here. The Chinese - Indonesian food is a whole 'nother universe to talk about!!

    (I'm actually a really, really nice person and I love your blog very much, so I promise, the next time I comment I'll be nice, heehee. Oh, PS: I think the hawker food at Jalan Alor @Bukit Bintang is AWESOME)

  5. Hello Erique! It's ok... I think everyone is entitled to their opinion abt food because taste is somethign so personal and everyone should defend their own cuisine. (I'd defend our nasi lemak and roti canai and bah kut teh to the death!) I am guessing I must have been eating at the wrong type of shops while we lived in Jkt.
    Funny.. my husband doesn't think much of the hawker food at Jln Alor. LOL Nice to see an Indonesian commentator, I've been thinking of Indonesia a lot lately.