Wedding days are usually packed with activities, and mine was certainly fully scheduled from sunup to sundown. After completing the tea ceremonies, we made our way to church for the blessing – Gereja Mawar Sharon Satelit Barat – Jl. Sukomanunggal. There is an interesting story to share about the church – initially we wanted to have our church blessing in Adelaide, Australia since our home church is there. However, since Yani’s family wanted us to have the church blessing in Surabaya, we had to find a local church quickly. Thanks to Adi, my friend who used to study in Adelaide, we managed to find a church in Surabaya and a pastor who was willing to lead the ceremony. I felt indebted to the pastor and the church, as well as to Adi – I fully understand the emotional burden that we had put the pastor under. He had to bless a wedding of two strangers who had never set foot at the church before, he didn’t know us at all and moreover, we had never attended any pre-marital counselling sessions at the church before. We had attended the counselling sessions at our own church in Adelaide, however, the church in Surabaya could only rely on our words and our pastor’s words that we had indeed completed the sessions.
The service was short but beautiful – the message was meaningful. The pastor reminds us that love demands sacrifice – that it involves two different characters that will be shaped together for the glory of God. Thank God I could remember most of my wedding vow even though I had to improvise one or two words. I didn’t cry when I said my vow and nor did Yani when she said hers. We exchanged our rings and had our kiss in front of the congregation. The pastor even complained when I kissed her on the forehead only as I thought he would be a conservative pastor. I complied and kissed her on the lips of course. Haha. 🙂
I did lose my composure when I expressed my gratitude to my parents – thanking them of their sacrifice and patience in waiting for me to get married. Yani also cried when she thanked her parents. Her mum looked so sad and I can understand her sense of loss. Losing her only daughter to somebody who will bring her far away to Australia is not ideal at all – especially when daughters are expected to take care of the parents in the latter years.
After the church ceremony, we still had some spare time for our photo studio session as well as for Yani to have her make-up retouched. The photo session was quite comical as Yani and I were requested to strike cheesy poses in front of some cheesy backdrops. In one of the poses, the photographer wanted me as well as the maid of honour and my bestman to lift Yani up. We didn’t manage to do it because her gown was so heavy! Hehehe. 😉
We made our way to the restaurant – Tristar International Restaurant – for our wedding reception at 5.30pm. We were scheduled to have another session of tea ceremony in the VIP room adjacent to the main hall for some of Yani’s relatives who missed the tea ceremony earlier. However, because somehow the coursages for family members were missing in transit, Yani and I ended up trying to find ways to get them to the restaurant, thus losing precious time. We gave up at the end, but we did conduct the tea ceremony for Yani’s cousins.
We were fashionably late when we entered the main hall – the music that we chose at the last minute was Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major. Unlike wedding parties in Jakarta or in Bandung that are usually standing parties with some buffet meal, Surabayans pretty much prefer seated wedding dinners. So to keep the guests amused, the hosts would put entertainments while they eat. Yani arranged all the entertainments so we had the restaurant singers belting some Chinese songs that I couldn’t understand, as well as some children dancing to keep us entertained. Guests were also invited to participate, so we had a 72-year old lady who went to the stage with her twenty-something son who sang and jived on the stage! Whoa! It was quite surreal as this kinda setting was the norm in Bandung in 1960s and 1970s. I had a great time though, even though we couldn’t really enjoy our dinner as we were asked to go to the stage from time to time to do our kiss in front of the guests, to have our pictures taken with friends and relatives, as well as to “cut the wedding cake” (which was actually made out of wood!) Cake slices were distributed later on in the evening from an unrelated cake.
By the time we finished the reception at about 10.00pm we were dead tired. Yani’s feet were killing her because she had to wear 12-cm heeled shoes! We simply made our way to the hotel, and take a rest. I even had a chance to do a midnight swim while Yani had her shower – just to relax my mind. I hadn’t swum for years and it was so relaxing to swim all by myself and rest my tired body.
My married life has just begun.