After the sightseeing Carrie and I headed back to our hotel to get spiffed up for the reception. I put on a simple blue button down shirt and slacks and Carrie put on a simple black and white dress. I would say we looked smart casual as that was the attire I was told by my coworker and as this was a wedding in the tropics I knew a jacket was not necessary and a tie shouldn’t be either.
So we were ready to party and hopped into a taxi that whisked us away to the swanky Intercontinental Jakarta where the reception was planned to start at 7pm. When we arrived at the reception site, we were greeted by about ten flower posters similar to the picture below:
We were in such shock that we did not have time to pull out the camera to take pictures, but like I said there were about ten of them from various people that wanted to wish Ronny and Dona congratulations. So we knew we were in for something of a new experience,
We arrived a little early and thus savored a glass of wine in the the bar and then made our way to the grand ballroom about 10 minutes after start time, so that we could be fashionably late. The only real problem with our plan was trying to be discrete and blend in. When we arrived at the welcome table we were ushered in like tourists to fill in the guest book, mark a number on our gift (a packet of money as we were told is traditional, and to collect our party favors which consisted of orchid candles and a pad of paper with Ronny and Dona on it.
We figured we got through that without much embarrassment until we realized that as we walked into the reception room everyone turned around to stare at the only white people at the wedding. Yes, we were there with 1,000 other people who looked nothing like us. I think everyone thought we were lost and our eyes probably looked like the typical tourist looking at a remarkable sight. We were simply in awe with the sight of it all.
Here is also a video of the venue
There was a stage with couches for the bride and groom, seats for the parents, but no tables for eating or for the rest of the bridal party…because there was no bridal party besides a best man and a bride’s maid (singular) and no need to sit down and eat because the bride and groom had to shake 1,000 hands and somehow mingle with all these people. There was a cake that was humongous and beautifully decorated as you can see from the pictures and there were eight separate buffet stations which I will describe in depth later on. There was no seating as it was a stand up dinner and there was no bar as no alcohol was served at the wedding. There was also a red carpet made up of fake roses as you can see below.
After about ten minutes of Carrie and I staring at the decorations, and people staring at us, people lined up around the red carpet and waited for the bride and groom to enter at which time they went on stage said a few words and quickly moved onto the cutting of the cake and the pouring of champagne onto the champagne tower below.
The cake cutting was surreal as the knife was more like a sword and seemed destined to slice through all the layers of cake like butter. However, when the newlyweds went to slice through the cake they actually did not cut it at all. They merely touched every layer and then put the sword down. Later we found out that the cake was not real and was made entirely of cardboard, which would explain the lack of cutting required. Needless to say other dessert was served but not wedding cake, which again I will reiterate looked lovely and it was reusable.
The bride and groom then poured champagne into the tower of glasses and everyone was handed a drink. But let me clarify we were all handed water or soda but no alcohol, despite the tower of champagne there was none to go around (in fact later the tower was taken down with not a drop touched by anyone). Despite this lack of alcohol we toasted the couple and then everyone got a chance to walk on stage and shake the couples hands and then it was off to the buffet lines.
You would have thought the people were starving as each buffet table had something different but each one had a very long line of people devouring the food. Carrie and I were just impressed with the variety of dishes that we had never seen at a wedding before. There was Satay (an Indonesian dish), salmon wellington (from Norway via England), dim sum (Chinese), wonton soup (Chinese), and my favorite Peking duck (with the glass hanging case and all).
We managed to fight the crowds and get our fill of wonderful food including dessert which was a chocolate fountain and some fruit tarts.
The reception carried on after the food frenzy, and there was a bouquet toss…no dancing…but live music, no more toasts beyond the first one, no garter toss, and photo taking sessions with every group that had touched their lives…including the bank where Ronny and I work and thus Carrie and I both made it into the photo album (yes we both had to go up when the bank was called). Actually to be honest Carrie and I were requested to take a picture with the couple much earlier because we were unique individuals.
We had a roaring good time meeting a few people, eating some great food, soaking in the music, and basically having visual sensory overload. It was a wonderful and unique experience. I am so happy that Carrie and I attended and now we are hoping for some other wedding invites…so don’t be shy just invite us…we know next time BYOB.