Malay Weddings: What to Wear, What to Give

Have you been to a Malay Wedding? What did you wear? What was your wedding gift?

A few weeks ago, we went to the wedding of my husband’s colleague. Both the groom and the bride are Malays, hence, a traditional Malay wedding was held at the heart of Japanese Garden in Jurong, Singapore.

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It was a scorching afternoon. We had no idea if the venue is open-air or enclosed and air-conditioned, but thinking this might be something formal, I wore a solid black jumpsuit and an open-toed clogs. My daughter wore a sleeveless cotton dress and medium-heeled shoes while my husband wore casual jeans, sneakers, long-sleeved polo paired with an inner shirt.

After reaching Lakeside MRT station, people around do not know where to find the free shuttle to the Japanese Garden, and to make the it worse, there was no available taxi at that time.

We decided to start a “walk in the park” under the hot afternoon sun. We followed the walkway from the Chinese Garden to the Japanese Garden, and boy, it was a long and sweaty walk.

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We managed to reach the venue and tidy ourselves up before proceeding.

They say that the formal ceremonies were already officiated in the morning where immediate family members and close friends have witnessed. The rest of the day would be for the reception and presentation of the bride and groom to other relatives and guests.

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The venue was in an open pavilion with big fans circulating the air. Those wearing the traditional batik, Malay formal clothes appear to be relatives and close friends of the newly weds, the rest of the guests were wearing casual to smart-casual (lucky people!)

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The mood was festive and was made truly lively by a Malay band singing live in a corner and guests happily taking turns in posing for a picture with the newly weds who were like the “king and queen” with their elegant, traditional Malay wedding costumes.

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Guests lined up at the buffet table for a smorgasbord of Malay dishes, most of them were spicy, even the soup. Dessert tables were beautifully dressed up.

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After mingling with other guests and enjoying the music for half an hour, tasting the food for some minutes more, we were ready to greet the lovey newly weds and hand our gift. My husband prepared an amount equivalent to us three eating in a decent restaurant in Orchard Road.

In a nutshell, it was a nice wedding and a good cultural experience even with our little misadventures at the onset.

Best clothes to wear in a Malay wedding? Casual to smart casual. Malays are not very particular with dress codes not unless specifically stated in the invitation. Always consider the venue (void deck, garden, hotel) and of course, the weather.

What to give as a wedding present? Its still practical to give in cash. Malays are also not very particular with the amount. So just give what you can afford and importantly, with all your heart.

Oops, one reminder! This lovely, little, red pot you will usually see on a Malay wedding reception (see below) is not for your tea. As it is common for Malays to use their hands when eating, this plastic pot contains water to wash dirty hands after eating. Now that you know, try and join the fun next time! ;)

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