Over the years I have been fortunate to photograph a great many ceremonies from different faiths and religions including Jewish wedding ceremonies, Chinese wedding ceremonies, Roman Catholic wedding ceremonies, Christian church weddings , Civil ceremonies, Indian wedding ceremonies, Traditional Orthodox Greek wedding ceremonies and many more. However this was the first time I have covered a Malaysian Nikah wedding ceremony. The setting was the amazing hotel in the West End of London The Langham Hotel. I won’t go into full detail about the whole ceremony and pre-ceremony rituals as it’s quite involved with several rituals but you can read all about them here http://malaywedding.blogspot.co.uk/ but here are the highlights!
The solemnization ceremony is normally presided by a kadhi, a religious official from the ROMM. In olden days, it was customary for the bride’s biological father to perform this function. A verbal and written contract is made between the bride’s father or his representative (in this case the kadhi) and the groom, in the presence of two witnesses. This is done after both partners are asked separately if they consent to the marriage.
The “hantaran” dowry is an important part of the ceremony and customary consisting of gifts of clothes, toiletries and even prayer mats (to signify their adherence to the religion) presented in intricate boxes or forms known as “gubahan”. These “Hantaran” gifts are displayed on silver trays, they are brought in by the tray-bearers into the ceremony room during the course of the ceremony and placed on designated tray tables in the ceremony room for the rest of the event. Before this, they are displayed for the guests to view. During ceremony there is an exchange of trays and conversations between the 2 wakils/representatives
After the formal ceremony there is the “Bersanding” or sitting in state ceremony consists of a “pelamin” or raised dais, prepared for the bride and groom, to represent their ‘throne’ as they are treated as ‘king and queen for the day’. Relatives and guests who partake in this “tepung tawar” or blessing custom will anoint the couple’s palms with scented water, “pandan” potpourri and rice. These symbolize fertility.
“Bunga telur” (‘flower egg’) or token gifts – The egg signifies a fertile union and the hope that the marriage will produce many children and these are given as gifts to all guests attached to a paper flower.
The beautiful white traditional clothing worn by both the bride and groom is very different to the brightly coloured clothing so common at Indian ceremonies. I did much of the couples photographs before the ceremony in an and around the stunning rooms of The Langham
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