Thursday, February 22, 2007

Swedes hold Malay wedding reception

THE bride was blond and fair while the groom towered above all the guests. Clad in lilac Malay wedding finery, Cajsa Fel-lerfeldt, 37, and Peter Hellkvist, 43, would have looked like any local couple celebrating their big day ex-cept they are actually Europeans.

This Swedish couple flew more than 9,000km to hold their wedding reception at Kampung Pulau Betong, Penang.

They wanted something more exotic and different from the usual sit-down reception back home.

Cajsa, who was dressed in a lilac kebaya beaded with manik and com-plete with a short train, has always been a fan of Malaysia.

“My family visited Malaysia in the 80s and I followed them. And Peter and I have also visited Sarawak, Sa-bah, Perhentian island and Pangkor island. This is my third time in Pe-nang,” said Cajsa who works as a co-ordinator for an educational organi-zation in Sweden.

Malay custom:Cajsa and Peter sitting at the dais for their merinjis ceremony.
Cajsa chose a Malay wedding be-cause she likes the culture.

”I told Najeeb, my father’s friend here, a month ago that I would like to hold a Malay-style wedding and he said he’ll try to see if that was pos-sible. He then approached the Tou-rism Development Corporation here to search for a suitable kampung. He was given the contact number of Pu-lau Betong village development and security committee (JKKK) chairman Hassim Md Rashid.

“I picked the costume and tiara from the local boutique a few days ago while Hassim arranged my wed-ding reception,” said Cajsa.

She picked lilac as it is her fa-vourite colour, she said.

Her husband Peter was clad in a li-lac baju melayu resplendent with tengkolok and sampin. But he admit-ted he felt hot wearing the costume.

The wedding reception held at Hassim’s house saw nearly 60 villa-gers attending.

“It is fortunate that my only dau-ghter held her wedding reception last week (11 Dec) and the pelamin (dais) was still here. I told the bou-tique not to dismantle it and we just continued renting it,

“We catered the food and set up two canopies,” said Hassim.

Guests feasted on curry fish, stir-fried mixed vegetables, udang masak cabai and egg sambal with white rice at the grounds of Hassim's house.

The whole reception cost RM1,300 which included the renting of the pelamin, wedding costumes and food.

The couple footed half the costs while JKKK paid the rest.

Hassim said this was the first time Pulau Betong hosted such a wedding for foreigners.

“It’s really not a hassle to plan a small wedding reception and we’re happy to do so. It also helps to high-light Pulau Betong as a tourist desti-nation. We will soon be starting our homestay programme which invol-ves 17 kampung houses,” said Has-sim.

The couple arrived at Hassim’s house around 11am and changed in-to their wedding costumes.

Then Cajsa waited at the doorway of Hassim’s house. Peter walked in from the street accompanied by girls in baju kurung carrying bunga manggar and boys beating the kompang.

Cajsa and Peter then went into the house and sat on the pelamin for the merinjis ceremony. Villagers who turned up as guests blessed the cou-ple with rose water.

Next came the kenduri.

“We really like the spicy food. But I don't think I'll try eating with my hands as the food will fall onto the ground and not into my stomach,'' joked Cajsa.

“We registered our wedding in Sweden on Dec 2 and we're not hol-ding any reception back home. Our families are fine with our decision.

“We had a unique wedding and we can look back with memories.”

The next day after their wedding reception, the couple flew to Lang-kawi for their two-week honey-moon.

Source : STAR
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