Wedding Crashing in Indonesia

There is diversity everywhere you look in Indonesia, which is what makes this country so special. The country is made up of over 17,000 islands, 300 ethnic groups and six official religions, making it a place to explore and dive into a whole new culture.

Right when you think that you have learned the basics on the Indonesian culture in one city, it changes the moment you arrive in the next. However, with all of the diversity everywhere you look, one thing remains true:

If you keep an open heart and mind, the Indonesians will welcome and love you with open arms, hospitality and good friendship.

Riding through Jakarta with my host and his son

In my stay in stay in Jakarta, Indonesia I truly got a taste of the hospitality and kindness of the Indonesian people. Not only did I spend my whole stay in Jakarta by staying with a local family using Couch Surfing, but I got the opportunity to be even more immersed in the culture by attending a Javanese wedding.

It is said that “the best things in life come from the unexpected.”

I have found this statement to be true in multiple occasions, and Jakarta, Indonesia being one of them. On my way to a popular attraction, Taman Mini (aka: Little Indonesia), I was lost as usual. After many different attempts to get proper directions, I ended up at what I thought was Taman Mini (given the crowds of people), but instead at place with a similar name and a large wedding party.

Any normal person would of arrived at this type of wedding and would of directly left, especially in my given situation. First and foremost, I was not invited, secondly I was not dressed appropriately and it was a Muslim wedding, thirdly there were guards watching the gate and lastly, I have blondish hair and that is an automatic magnet for unwanted attention.

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However, being the abnormal and curious person that I am, I decided to take a risk.

Already having had the experience to attend two Muslim weddings with success in both Malaysia and Singapore, I felt courageous and confident that I would be able to crash this wedding with my street clothes on. I confidently walked past the guard as if I belonged to the party and with confidence I walked into the front door and greeted each person I saw.

Given that I wanted to take some pictures of this experience, I confidently walked up and stood in line with the family in order to get a good group picture, while preparing in my mind a little speech for anyone who asked who in the world I was.

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I simply made the plan in my head that I would just explain to the bride, groom and members of the family that I was the white American cousin that no one has ever met and was there for the wedding. 

I had no idea how that excuse was going to pan out with the family, but I swallowed my pride, walked up to the bride and groom and hugged and kissed them as if I had known them my whole life. I asked for a picture and they instantly agreed, followed by countless other photos that were taken by her family. Right after the picture, they smiled and demanded that I go load up my plate and eat the buffet wedding dinner.

And of course, I agreed.

The moment I finished my picture with the bride a groom and finished eating, the fun part started.

Almost everyone in the wedding party left their seats, ran towards me with their camera or cell phone begging for a selfie. I spend over 2 hours taking selfies and I honestly couldn’t say who the guests took more pictures with, the bride and groom or with the strange foreign girl.

This experience allowed me the opportunity to better connect with the Indonesian people and get a feel for their culture, food and traditions in a way that I wouldnt of had if I would not of attended the wedding. However, I would of never had this experience if I would’ve chosen to stand at the gate of the wedding with just simply curiosity and an unwillingness to get past the fear, break the rules and take a risk.

In life if we live in fear and constantly worry about what other people will think, we will miss out on some of the most exciting adventures life has for us. In this personal experience, we are talking about a wedding, but how many people actually miss out on amazing, unique experiences because of some type of fear or worry about the opinions of others.

Life’s too short and opportunities are missed too much because of the four letter word: FEAR

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