After resting well and catching a brief sleep in Gallowe and I made our way to the buffet breakfast. We had little on the agenda today as tonight we knew would be ‘a big one’. Tonight was the wedding reception for my friend Fareena to her husband Irwin.
We had no idea what to expect, other than that we had been informed numerous times that there will be much food there. Our loose thoughts were to eat breakfast ‘late’ and fill up as much as possible, then grab a small snack late in the afternoon to tide us over.
In Australia a wedding is somewhat as follows: You are invited to attend at a time. There are the “I Do’s”, then there is a good few hours of loitering before the reception. This second part is a stand-up cocktail affair with hors d’oeuvres or a sit down meal. Plus alcohol, lots of alcohol. Beer, wine, soft drinks, mixed spirits, more beer, cider. You get my drift yeah? The drinking carries on for hours. From the break up of the formalities and “I Do’s” to the wee hours of the next morning there is alcohol. Because #Straya. You show up a bit before the first time on the invite for the ceremony and about on time for the reception. It runs on time basically.
For Malay Muslims (apparently) the ceremony occurs the day before the reception. The day before that the women closest to the bride (and I believe they may need to be Malay Muslims) gather with the bride for a pampering day in which they all have hands and feet Henna’d. The wedding itself is attended by only those closest to the couple (I think) and again (I think) only Muslims (if that is the religion of the wedded couple. The reception occurs on the third/ next day at a function centre style venue. It typically caters for upward of two hundred, and apparently can cater into the thousands. Round tables have big platters in the centre and you sit and wait for the couple to arrive. There is no alcohol. There is a red sweet cherry cordial.
We (Australian’s) were on time, 7:30pm, as were the other 7-9 Australian’s. The Chinese Malays kind of started to arrive twenty minutes later and the Malays just after 8pm. The Bridal Party dribbled in over the next quarter hour and was almost fully there by 8:30pm. A decent 150-250 guests had started to fill tables by this time but this double in the next ten minutes. It wasn’t until 9 o’clock that that we heard the drums. Two lines of men were drumming and walking slowly into the great hall. Between these lines we could see some well-dressed ladies and gentlemen in traditional formal attire slowly proceeding through the drummers and down a central aisle through the tables. Perhaps forty people were in this procession and they were all guided by a man on stage singing a formal Malay prayer/ song/ hymn (?). When this procession had passed the drummers stopped in position and with only the solo singer as a guide my gorgeous and blessed friend made her way down the aisle with her husband.
The sight of her sisters and mother is something I can hardly describe but to then have seen Fareena in her gown would make it so much easier to talk about the others. She glowed with pleasure, she sparkled like diamonds in her dress and the night seemed to me to be a night of celebration and love sharing like she deserves. Few people have more reason for a good life and future that I can think of than Fareena and from this one night I know that everyone around her and her new partner will make this happen.
The night was incredible. The experience was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime and I feel so blessed that Gallowe and I were invited to share and attend this time of her life. I’m saddened to say there aren’t many images I can share with you of this night. What I have I have given to you here.