Friday, January 20, 2012

Expensive Word: 'I Do'

This evening, after I arrange my files in order on my desk (and at least I can see it’s surface), I found these wedding invitation cards. These cards already expired and I’m about to throw it to trash bin until I realize that these cards are really beautiful. With all those colorful ribbon, soft glossy paper, sparkling dust, and golden ink letters. I don’t need it anymore, but it’s too beautifull to throw away.

I think, maybe those kind of invitation cards is a common mistake in Indonesian wedding ceremony. I said a mistake because, “Why people have to spend a lot of money for a card that have a very short life cycle?”

Here, take a look at this modest and elegant invitation card of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. It’s only a piece of paper! Well, I don’t know if the emblem or those golden letters printed from real gold ink. But, it’s really just a piece of paper, with a boring brown-yellow envelope. People don’t have to spend a lot of money for that.

Photo by WPA Pool/Getty Images Europe
Another mistake in Indonesian wedding invitation is, they never mention how many invitee that may come by one invitation card. Once you sent an invitation, you’ll never can estimate how many guests that you will have. A single invitation card could brings you one guest and his or her plus one. Sometimes one invitation card could be means one little family that consist of a husband, a wife, and their two little kids. And sometimes, a single invitation could be means a group of people. This could be worse if you use social networks to invite people. It’s hard to plan the wedding ceremony. How many food to serve? How many souvenir to stock? And how much money for all of  them?

I remember a story from my Japanese friend Kayako. In Japan, one invitation card is only for one couple. So it’s not hard to plan how many food should be prepared and how many souvenir should be stocked. In Japanese tradition, the invitation card is also completed with a catalogue which invitee can choose to give as a gift for the groom and bride, or amount of attendance fee for every invitee that come, and an R.S.V.P. card (RSVP stands for France phrase répondez s'il vous plaît, meaning "Please respond"). All sounds so efficient.

Invitation card with Guest Information such as menu, gift catalogue, and request for respond and list of names who will attend the ceremony (RSVP card). Photo by
Three days ago I played this game called wedding dash. The player plays as a wedding planner who provide the party as what the groom and bride wants. And, in that game, the menu that served to the invitee is only one complete meal: appetizer, main course, and dessert. There’s only three kind of menu. Compare it with Indonesia, we will find a long buffet with at least 5 different menu, all the gub and bub from western, oriental, local, plus ice cream, fruit and pudding. No wonder some people calls a wedding ceremony as a nutrition increment or an all you can eat venue
Wedding Dash: wedding cermony with one complete meal
The more extreme example is a story from my Dutch friend, Helga Peters. In Dutch, people prefer to live together with their partner without being married. Their reason is because it’s so expensive to held a wedding ceremony. Not only the ceremony that spend so much money, the marriage administration process at the government office is expensive too. So in there, there is a lot of childrens born with unmarried parents, but Holland Government facilitate it with some kind of certificate to clarify which one is the biological mother and father of the child.

Off course we’re not gonna cross the border that far. The questions are, where are these habit come from? Why are Indonesian people gladly spend their money for one big party which will be forgotten the next day, and why don’t We, Indonesian, arrange a cheap yet elegant wedding ceremony? Because, hello.. it’s only a one day party (except for Bakries or other tycoon family maybe). Life is still goes on the next day and off course the “just married couple” needs an extra money for their new life.

We can make it simple, can’t we? As long as the main purpose of the wedding ceremony which is it’s religious legitimation provided (eventhough it doesn’t mean as what so callled siri marriage. *poke dewi perssik). ^^

**Indonesian wedding ceremony refers to common wedding ceremony held in Jakarta and it's satellite like Bogor, Depok, Tanggerang, and Bekasi.

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