Indonesian beauty vlogger’s low-key wedding at religious office goes viral

From one extreme end of the spectrum — the Crazy Rich Surabayan wedding rumored to cost IDR1 trillion (~US$70 million) — Indonesians are now talking about another viral wedding — one that cost next to nothing.

Popular Indonesian beauty vlogger Suhay Salim, who’s known for her humorous makeup reviews and tutorials, tied the knot over the weekend. But her unexpectedly low-key wedding may just inspire a new trend in Indonesia.

Going against the grain of the “Instagrammable” wedding trend that has been particularly popular lately, Suhay who rarely publishes details about her personal life on social media revealed yesterday that she had married her boyfriend of three years, Sanjay Ponduval, at one of Jakarta’s Religious Affairs Offices (KUA) — Indonesia’s equivalent of a City Hall wedding.

“Thank you for the wishes! To everyone who asked me, I finally realized my dream of getting married at the KUA with jeans, with no hassle,” Suhay wrote on her Instagram Story, alongside a picture of her and Sanjay in casual outfits holding their marriage license.

Suhay mentioned that she had always wanted a low-key wedding. Saying she doesn’t hold anything against those who want their nuptials to be grand, Suhay explained that she’s “too lazy to stand in front of people for hours” as is customary in most Indonesian weddings in which the bride and groom mostly just stand on a stage and shake the hands of every one of their guests instead of mingling with them.

“When things that are supposed to be simple are made complicated just because of society’s expectations, I would challenge that. Why should I pay for a wedding dress? It’s expensive and I would only wear it once,” Suhay wrote in another Instagram Story post.

In addition, Suhay said her husband is a foreigner so it would be “too much effort to hold a wedding reception” since they already have a lot of paperwork to fill out.

According to 2017 Indonesia Wedding Industry Report by popular wedding marketplace Bridestory, the cheapest wedding party with 500 guests in Indonesia could cost IDR125 to IDR200 million. Wedding receptions are usually paid for by the parents of the bride. 

Only a registration fee of IDR30K is required for a simple KUA wedding, but an additional IDR600K is required if the wedding takes place outside of official working hours.

However you get married, it’s the thought (and love) that counts. If you have the budget to hold a big wedding reception, then do so by all means (obviously that’s the preference of most Indonesian parents). But there’s certainly an argument to be made for holding a low-key wedding at the KUA like Suhay and using that money for other thing that could be helpful to a couple’s future, such as a down payment on a house or a new car.

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