April 20, 2011

The Wedding

The wedding is over, and what an experience!

A few days before the wedding, we were invited to take part in a premarital counseling session for Orpa and Herry at their church.  They had already met twice privately with the pastor, Pak Niko, but this third session was open for the church elders, family, and anyone else the couple wanted to invite.  Different people, including us, stood up to give advice or words of wisdom to Orpa and Herry.  It was encouraging to see their church family stand behind them as they "launch their ship out onto the sea of matrimony," as Pop would say.

The morning of the wedding I walked in the kitchen and there was Orpa, scooping rice into the rice cooker, and a chicken was defrosting in a bowl on the counter, just like it was any other day.

"What are you doing?!" I exclaimed in disbelief.

"Oh, Ibu, my parents are going to come here to get ready and I have to cook for them," she hurriedly replied. I helped wash up some dishes, then Orpa showed me how to cut up a pineapple as we discussed some weighty matters (yes, after almost ten years in Indonesia, I still didn't know how to cut up a pineapple - I am that pathetic).  We discussed the wedding, what their marriage might be like with Herry spending most of his time working at a rock quarry many miles from Tarakan, and then we got down to the facts of life.  We had lots of laughs as we worked our way through that conversation.

Orpa's phone rang; her brother was on the phone.  "Where are y'all?" she asked, then burst out laughing.  She looked at me and explained, "My brother said they're late, because he's having to teach my parents how to wear shoes.  They've only ever worn flip-flops in their village!"

Orpa's parents had never been on a boat, never really ventured far from their small village in the mountains of Sulawesi.  Her mom speaks only their native dialect.  So for them to travel on a ship for three days to attend their daughter's wedding was a big deal.

Orpa chose her 25th birthday as her wedding day.  I told her - lucky for your husband, he only has to remember one day!  I made her a cake that morning, and we laughed about how it looked like it was a 25th anniversary cake.

After the parents finally showed up and got their meal, the makeup and hair lady from the salon arrived with the dresses.  Orpa's dress, the mom's dress, and my dress were all crumpled up in a plastic bag - but amazingly looked pretty good once we shook them out and hung them up.  Makeup Lady ordered Orpa to lie down on the floor while she applied makeup to her.  I'd never seen this technique before - but considering the amount of makeup she put on her, it was the best position to be in.

My friends Joy and Sarah arrived to start working on me.  I haven't been this gussied up since - well, since my own wedding fifteen years ago, I guess.  They did an awesome job, and it was really fun.  I kept popping out to take peeks at Orpa, and when I first saw her all done and in her dress, I lost it.  I kept thinking of her as this 18-year-old girl, who came to us looking for a job, and how she has lovingly worked for us through the years - cooking for us, rocking fussy babies, helping me navigate cultural dilemmas, hanging out countless loads of laundry - all done with her gorgeous smile.

photo by Dave Forney

photo by Dave Forney

Orpa and her mom
photo by Dave Forney

Orpa and her American mom.  She often calls me "Mami".
photo by Dave Forney

Striking the quintessential Indonesian pose
photo by Dave Forney

After our little photo shoot with MAF teammate Dave Forney, Orpa hid herself in our guest room and waited for the groom and his entourage to come and fetch her, per Indonesian custom.  Herry and his family arrived, knocked on the door, then tentatively came in and inquired after the bride.  A few photos were snapped, a prayer was said, and we were off to the church.

The arrival of the groom's family

Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the actual wedding ceremony in the church.  But here is something different - we all - Herry, flanked by her parents, me, and his parents, walked her down the aisle, and all the entourage, walked in behind us.  It was a fairly typical wedding service - music and exchanging vows - but it was different in that the pastor gave a long sermon, the power went out a few times, and after the church service a man from the Indonesian government held his own civil service and gave them their marriage certificate on the spot.

From the church we went straight to the reception, which was held at Herry's parents' home.  A huge tent had been set up, with a stage for the bridal party, and a buffet line.

The looooong line into the reception.  The ladies in the picture are some of our neighbors.
photo by Dave Forney

The buffet line
photo by Dave Forney

Orpa and Herry changed clothes for the reception, as is typically done here.  They then sat on the stage, along with the parents, to receive guests.  Orpa wanted her dad and me to represent her side of the family.  Sitting next to me was a little girl whose job was to fan Herry (another little girl was on Orpa's side) but after a while she succumbed to the heat and fell asleep and was moved, then David joined us on the stage.  I felt like I shook a thousand hands, at least, and smiled so much my cheeks were sore the next day.

Orpa and Herry, on their throne
photo by Tripp Flythe

They very solemnly fed each other wedding cake...

...then they also fed the parents!
photo by Dave Forney

Two of Orpa's sisters and some of her friends performed a traditional Torajanese dance.
photo by Dave Forney

photo by Dave Forney

Orpa with Dorkas on the left, Abi on the right.  Dorkas lives with us and is about to graduate from high school.  She plans to go to nursing school in Sulawesi.

Orpa with her family.  There are nine siblings all together - only five in the picture.

I'm sure we looked a little out of place (ok, maybe a lot!) but it was such an honor to be a part of the wedding.
photo by Dave Forney


babysandner0809 said...

WOW! Thank you for the pictures! I've been awaiting them ever since you wrote your previous blog. Orpa looks beautiful. Was she happy on the day of her wedding? Thank you for sharing your adventures with me (and numerous other people, too).

Love ya,

Chad and Andi Irwin said...

What an awesome privilege to get to share such a big event with your "daughter". It's amazing that God worked out the timing for all of this perfectly - before you leave.

Oh, and Chad and I had a good laugh over "Testy Time"! Good stuff! We really need to live in the same country some time!

zerry ht said...

You have shared pretty good information on wedding. Couple of months ago, I arranged my nephew’s wedding at one of best NYC wedding venues. Invited all our family and friends and had quite lovely time at wedding.