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A Guide to the 6 Stages of a Traditional Malay Wedding

We understand that planning a traditional Malay wedding ceremony can be both exciting and complex. At 50Gram Wedding, we aim to ensure couples feel fully prepared and informed before their special day. We guide the cultural traditions and multistep processes involved in Malay weddings tradition. Our guides outline the key stages from engagement through finalising vows.

Stage 1: Pertunangan or Engagement Ceremony

Wedding tradition malay wedding tradition wedding malaysia malay couple pertunangan

The traditional Malay wedding ceremony begins with the engagement or pertunangan. Before the wedding, the couple will progress through six stages of the customary Malay process. This initial stage is the formal declaration of the intent to marry, commonly including exchanging gifts such as rings and traditional outfits.

Families typically plan a meal and gathering for this significant milestone to celebrate with close friends and family. Both families recognise each other’s heritage at this stage by exchanging customary drinks, songs, and dances (known as yassin chanting). Parents also swap rings as a symbol of their blessing of the union.​

Stage 2: Merisik or Proposing Ceremony

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The Merisik Ceremony, also known as the Proposing Ceremony, is an important tradition. Historically, this event involved families arranging a union between their children. Once both parties consented to the match, customary rituals would commence.

These rituals could include kind gestures from the groom towards his bride, such as delivering gifts to her home. Common gifts were foods like cakes, fruits, and homemade treats. The two families exchange presents, such as monetary funds or goods, to symbolise their acceptance of the relationship.
Following the ceremony, preparation would begin for the wedding. The families were expected to formalise the marriage agreement in writing and set a date for the wedding event. A feast called “Makan Berita” would be held to announce the upcoming nuptials and celebrate the occasion. Upon completion of these stages, the wedding ceremony could then take place.​

Stage 3: Sanding or Bridal Shower

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The third stage is often referred to as the bridal shower. At this event, the bride’s family typically hosts a gathering to celebrate the bride alongside her female family members, friends, and colleagues. Depending on local customs, a bridal shower may incorporate wedding games, provide attendees opportunities to guide the engaged couple, or consist of monetary gifts presented by well-wishers in attendance.

Planning platforms can help streamline event coordination. For example, an online wedding planning tool efficiently creates an agenda for the bridal shower that includes classic activities while embracing modern trends, such as presenting marital advice through fun and creative games. The platform can also facilitate tracking RSVPs, organising gift collections, and customising decor elements to coordinate with the wedding aesthetic. A digital planning solution simplifies logistics so participants can focus on celebrating the bride.​

Stage 4: Bersanding or Sitting-in-State Ceremony

Wedding tradition malay wedding tradition wedding malaysia malay couple bersanding

The final pre-wedding ceremony for a Malay wedding is the Bersanding or Sitting-in-State event. This solemn occasion directly precedes the Akad Nikah, where the bride and groom participate in a special procession while seated on elevated chairs. The chairs, often called thrones, are usually decorated with beautiful and colorful fabrics and surrounded by family, friends, and guests.

This important stage of marriage involves formally introducing the couple as husband and wife to their community. During this time, family members may guide the couple while guests present them with monogrammed towels to symbolise affection and blessings for their new life together.
50Gram wedding’s online wedding planning platform enables effortless management of all pre-wedding events. Detailed timelines can be created for each ceremony with a few clicks, specifying arrival times, meal offerings, and desired photographic memories to preserve each special moment.​

Stage 5: Akad Nikah or Solemnization Ceremony

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One of the most important ceremonies in Malay wedding traditions is the Akad Nikah or solemnisation ceremony. This ceremony marks the official and legal declaration of the bride and groom as husband and wife in front of family and friends, essentially serving as a mini-wedding event.

The Akad Nikah is typically led by a prominent local religious figure who will recite prayers in Arabic. Then, the bride and groom will recite Quran verses affirming their commitment to one another. The bride may also use this opportunity to vow her loyalty and devotion to her husband for their marriage.
The 50Gram Wedding platform allows for peace of mind knowing that all aspects of wedding planning are taken care of, from solemnisation ceremonies to dinner receptions to decorations. The ceremony concludes with a du’a, or prayer, by those present, wishing the married couple a blissful union that will last a lifetime. This signifies the romantic nature of the event.​

Stage 6: Hantaran or Dowry Giving Ceremony

Wedding tradition malay wedding tradition wedding malaysia malay couple hantaran

The sixth stage of a Malay wedding preparation is the hantaran or dowry-giving ceremony. During this special occasion, the bride and groom exchange gifts with the bride’s family, offering her accessories, belongings, cash, jewellery, or other items. This exceptional tradition symbolises loyalty and love.

To ensure a smooth ceremony, 50Gram Wedding provides planning services to help organise the hantaran without worries. Gifts are usually presented on beautifully decorated trays and opened during the reception.
Some tips for consideration:

Traditional vs Modern Hantaran – One approach is to keep traditions alive through a traditional hantaran using heirlooms. Alternatively, modernised options are available via 50Gram Wedding’s marketplace for a non-traditional preference.
Vendor Selection – Finding florists, prop rentals, or custom cakes for hantaran can consume time. However, 50Gram Wedding’s vetted regional suppliers and competitive pricing simplify vendor selection. Magnificent hantarans can be created for reasonable costs.
By following 50Gram wedding’s simple guidance, hantaran planning will proceed efficiently.​

Conclusion

To create a Malay wedding ceremony filled with meaningful traditions and cultural significance, begin planning according to the established Malay wedding process. 50Gram wedding is equipped to guide you through each stage seamlessly, ensuring your ceremony and reception are memorable experiences for all attendees. 

Adhering to the four traditional phases of a Malay wedding allows couples to craft the storybook celebration they envision. Contact 50Gram Wedding to commence your journey to married life through their guidance in upholding time-honoured customs. Guests are certain to be impressed by the unique ambience and flow 50Gram Wedding facilitates, making your wedding a highlight that loved ones reminisce about for years.​

FAQ

The first stage of a traditional Malay wedding is the Pertunangan or Engagement Ceremony. It is a formal declaration of the couple’s intention to get married and involves the exchange of gifts, such as rings and traditional outfits, between the families.

he Merisik or Proposing Ceremony is when the two families arrange a suitor for their children. The groom delivers gifts to the bride’s home, including cakes, fruits, and other treats. Both families exchange gifts to symbolize their acceptance, and a marriage agreement is resolved, setting a date for the wedding ceremony.

It is a time for celebration and preparation leading up to the wedding. A3: The purpose of the Sanding or Bridal Shower stage is for the bride’s family to host a gathering for the bride, her female family members, friends, and colleagues. It may include wedding games, advice to the couple, and gifts of money from well-wishers.

The Bersanding or Sitting-in-State Ceremony is the fourth stage of a Malay wedding. The bride and groom are seated on elevated chairs, called thrones, and surrounded by family, friends, and strangers. This ceremony formally introduces the couple as husband and wife to their community. Family members offer wisdom, and guests shower the couple with monogrammed towels as tokens of love and blessings.

The Akad Nikah or Solemnization Ceremony is one of the most important ceremonies in a Malay wedding. It is where the bride and groom officially declare themselves as husband and wife in the presence of family and friends. Prayers are recited, and vows from the Quran are spoken to uphold their commitment. It marks the couple’s legal union and is a significant moment in the wedding celebration.

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