Keeping Marriage Traditions Alive

by | Inspired Engagements, Weddings




Tristan and Angela

Everyone knows that wedding is a joining of two families but for me it also means the joining of two cultures. Being born and raised in Indonesia, I have always dreamt of having a traditional Javanese wedding. However, as soon as my now husband, who grew up in the Macedon Ranges, proposed I knew that I would need to put a lot of effort in both keeping our two diverse marriage traditions alive. This was not easy especially because both of us are the 1st child and the 1st grandchild. We are basically the guinea pigs for weddings of our generation not to mention the first for a cultural fusion wedding!

The attempt of celebrating both cultures started early from the engagement. Although in line with his culture Tristan had pop the question on one knee at Federation Square (Melbourne), we decided to travel to Jakarta and officially announced our engagement through what’s called “Lamaran”. In this event, Tristan’s dad on behalf of Tristan and his family asked my dad’s permission for my hand in marriage. Here the groom’s family also brought “seserahan” or bonding presents for the bride to show their serious intention to propose to her. To merge the two cultures, Tristan’s mum decided to include some traditional Javanese items such as banana, batik, and gold as well as Australian items such as a koala doll, boomerang and an Australian brand skincare.

Straight after the engagement we had our engagement session again trying to reflect both cultures.

getting married

All images above by Daily Photo Studio

For a typical Javanese wedding, lamaran is then followed by at least 3 days filled with wedding rituals. At this point I had to weigh up my choices and decide on what’s really important to us. Because being ready mentally, spiritually and physically for marriage is on top of our list, we decided to perform a “Siraman” or bathing ceremony at Tristan’s parents’ residence two days before our wedding. I couldn’t have asked for a better backdrop, a luscious Australian bush for a heartfelt Javanese ceremony.



Image by Colin Tian

For the bathing ceremony, water from seven sources (mostly from springs around Macedon but we did buy several from the supermarket for practicality) was mixed with roses, jasmines, and other flowers.

the mixing of flowers

Image by Colin Tian


Image by Colin Tian

Seven relatives from both Tristan and my family were selected to cleanse us signifying the provision of help. My sweet and talented sister-in-law, Emily from Watergardens florist, prepared the fresh flowers and hung bottles with purple roses around the gazebo where we were bathed.

angela bathing3

Image by Colin Tian

tristan's bathing

Image by Colin Tian

My late grandma’s sister also transformed the lounge room by decorating it with “batik” (traditional Indonesian fabric). Instead of having live “gamelan” music during the siraman, we played a CD of Javanese instrumental songs and I couldn’t believe how wonderful the day turned out. It definitely exceeded my expectation.

with elderly relative

Image by Colin Tian

Towards the end of the day, both Tristan’s mum and my mum spoon-fed us some yellow rice for the last time as from that moment onward we are no longer in their care. Can you imagine how sad yet beautiful this is? That you are fully independent from your parents. That your future husband will take care of you and you will take care of him.


Image by Colin Tian

I think you really need to be determined to incorporate marriage traditions to your wedding as it’s not a matter of purchasing a ‘wedding package’ or hiring a wedding coordinator. I had to organise everything by myself with the help of my parents, aunties and Tristan’s family members. This means countless amounts of texts, emails, photo exchanges as well as posting of items you can only source from Indonesia. I find that the complexity of traditional weddings actually help the two families become more familiar with each other and encourage a stronger bond. In my next post, I will share my actual wedding day- a Christian Western style ceremony and reception with Indonesian touches.

Images by Daily Photo Studio & Colin Tian

Ms Gingham says: I love the fascinating insight into other cultures. We are so lucky in Australia that we get to experience such beautiful diversity. Looking forward to reading about your wedding Angela!

Angela says: “I’m an Indo-Melbournian who recently married an Irish-Scottish background Aussie. As a wedding-holic I ended up with a wedding planning certificate and three wedding events. To be honest, I sometimes still peek inside wedding magazines at the supermarket or wedding blogs on my phone even after I’m married… but then again I still have one more reception to organise! :)”

  • Ella BH says:
    March 13, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Hey Ange, we look at the same wedding blog! Haha. Was an amazing wedding guys 🙂 xx



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