I've just come back from a wedding! Ainee is one of the teaching assistants who works with our year-group at school, and she invited all the Year 3 staff to her sister Aimee's wedding party today. Here in Brunei weddings go on for many days. The religious part of this wedding happened last weekend, but today was a large party to celebrate the marriage.
As soon as we were arrived Ainee greeted us and asked if we wanted to meet the bride. Of course we did! We were taken to a back room where the bride was having her make-up done.
Her dress and veil were incredible - covered with amazing beading and embroidery. I wondered if gold was a traditional colour for Bruneian weddings, but Ainee told me that you can choose whatever colour you like - she had worn blue at her own wedding.
We then had our photos taken with the beautiful bride:
From left to right - my colleague Barbara, Aimee the bride, Ainee and me. I felt very tall! All of Ainee's family, male and female, were dressed in silver-grey for the occasion.
Back in the hall we sat around chatting. I think that many of the guests were quite curious about us and lots of people came to chat to us and ask who we were. I met a lovely lady who is also married to an Army officer and lives on the same camp as me.
The overall effect was so colourful as everyone was wearing brightly coloured and patterned baju kurongs. I felt very plain in mine in comparison!
These chairs were set up on the stage all ready for the bride and groom.
We weren't entirely sure what the procedure for the day would be, but the timings were thrown into confusion as there was a road accident nearby and the groom and his family were delayed. Now the Bruneians love their food - and if you know me at all, you'll know that I do too! So I was very pleased when it was time to eat. Apparently the groom would usually arrive before the meal was eaten, but the family decided that the guests should eat first as he was late.
Each table was laid out with 2 kinds of rice, a chicken dish, a beef dish, a fish dish and vegetables.
Before too long the groom and his family arrived, all dressed in gold. The groom looked most handsome, and I thought these hats were wonderful!
The bride and groom sat together on the 'thrones' and many photographs were taken. The guests were all invited to come up onto the stage to be photographed with the happy couple too.
I felt very privileged to be invited to such an occasion - it's taking part in events like this that really make you feel part of the community in Brunei, and not just part of an expat enclave.
I wish Aimee and Hilmi all the very best for their married life together, and many thanks for inviting us along to be a part of your special day.