The Jakarta Post
All in one: Visitors at the Bridestory Fair browse booths of over 100 different vendors, from wedding decorators to tailors. (JP/Frans Snackers)
Wedding trends change dramatically over time. Some couples spare nothing for a once-in-a-lifetime grand ceremony, while others prefer an intimate affair.
Bride-to-be Yerisa, who plans to get married this spring, met her future husband about two years ago through mutual friends. But since she is currently away in Croatia, the groom-to-be and his family are taking care of wedding preparations.
“Actually, I just want a very simple wedding — only at the civil registration office and then later in a restaurant with all my family members and close friends,” said the 30-year-old.
In her opinion, the most important part of a wedding is the ijab kabul (Islamic wedding vows) rather than all that pomp. But she understands why people find it important to have a big wedding.
“A big wedding shows you are proud. But I personally would rather have a small one because I do not want to owe money to the bank and not be happy in the marriage because of it,” said Yerisa, who, in the end, will still have around 500 wedding guests.
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Anita, not her real name, grew up with the hope of having a Disney princess dream wedding in a castle, where she would dance with her handsome prince.
“As I grew up I realized this kind of dream was just too good to be true, so I became more realistic about it and left those thoughts behind,” said the 24-year-old Jakarta resident.
While planning their big day, Anita and her future husband went with a concept quite different from those dreams, opting for a small wedding instead of inviting large crowds.
“I’d rather have a small but more meaningful wedding, surrounded by people who have a close bond with me, rather than have a big wedding where I don’t even recognize half the people. I want it to be just a small beach wedding with fewer than 150 guests in total; we’ll just invite family and close friends.”
Their choice of a smaller wedding does not mean the couple plans to rein in their spending — inviting fewer people means they can spend the money on other things such as traveling together, rather than blow it all in one day.
They have a very clear idea of what they want: the wedding must have a sense of grandeur and modernity — a beach-side wedding with a Javanese touch as an homage to her roots. It will be semi-outdoor, with dim lights and a mostly white and rose gold color scheme.
Sparkling: Colorful lights set the mood at this year's Bridestory Fair in line with its theme, 'Stardust', at the Sheraton Hotel's grand ballroom in Jakarta. (JP/Frans Snackers)
Weddings in Indonesia can be a heavy financial burden for couples.
Yerisa has chosen vendors she found based on a friend’s recommendation for decoration, food, makeup, traditional wedding clothes as well as souvenirs and wedding invitations, costing her around US$4,000 so far.
Anita looked up potential vendors for her wedding on Bridestory’s website, where she could use filters to find those matching her wishes and budget.
“It’s really cool for millennials like me who like to find everything in an easy way,” she says.
The presence of wedding fairs and websites has simplified the daunting task of planning weddings for couples, cutting down the time from months to just days, leaving you more time to focus on the big day.
Bridestory’s annual fair, which took place over the weekend in the Sheraton Hotel’s dimly-lit grand ballroom, was packed with couples in search of their perfect wedding.
The lighting was in line with the “Stardust” theme, which was inspired by the high-tech lifestyle of this generation’s young couples.
“We chose this theme because we wanted to highlight technological innovation reflected in the current wedding industry trend,” said Nathalia Isadora, Bridestory’s event director.
Apart from the fairy lights draped across the many vendor booths, Isadora offered examples of flower-like decorations lit by LEDs and fabrics that could light up on their own to make the bride a glowing centerpiece at a summer night wedding.
For Alice Callista, who put her floral pieces on display, wedding fairs are a good place for vendors like her to show what they have in store. “It’s a facility for us to showcase our creations and designs,” she said.
It was the vendors themselves that came up with most of the creations, according to Kevin Mintaraga, CEO and co-founder of Bridestory. Most of them are local, hailing from Jakarta and Bali — hotspots in the Indonesian wedding industry.
These vendors were picked by the organizer to make the betrothed couples’ jobs easier by streamlining a sometimes arduous process.
“They can come along, take a look, meet the vendors and compare them one by one. And because we have already curated the best vendors, it will make their job easier,” Kevin says.
The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post.