Bruneian weddings getting costly with new trends

Costly dress: A lady worker fixing up a wedding dress in one of the leading wedding accessories shop in Gadong. Picture: BT/Saifulizam

Sunday, December 7, 2008

THE cost of a traditional Bruneian wedding has increased throughout the years due to the rental costs at bridal boutiques and catering services which was non-existent during the 60s and 70s when all preparations for a wedding were done by the help of family members.

Back then, the bride and groom did not think twice about the wedding budget as family members often chipped in to help.

For instance, food was bought by the bride's parents and all the family members would come over to help and cooking would be done by the ladies while the men arranged the seats for guests and built the woodwork for the pelamin (wedding dais) with their own hands.

Nowadays, there are bridal boutiques to rent pelamins and wedding attires and catering services to handle the cooking.

Hjh Halimah, a mother of three, told The Brunei Times that during her wedding in 1975, everything was done by family members. Aunts and uncles would cook and help set up the wedding dais and help sew the wedding attires.

She also said that back then, sometimes the bride would borrow thier older sibling's wedding dress to save cost on buying one.

However, nowadays, weddings are different, she said, revealing that she had to raise some $20,000 for her daughter's recent wedding, which included the Malam Berbedak, a ceremonial event where family members and friends are invited to bless the bride and groom with an ointment made from coloured rice flour and scented oils.

Weddings in Brunei nowadays do not come cheap, even if one minimises the number of events in a traditional Brunei wedding, a handful of cash is still needed to pay for the preparations.

A wedding, with all the three main traditional customs held in one day (hantaran berian, nikah and bersanding), including the invitations would still cost about $15,000.

Atikah Jamain, a banker who is planning on getting married in March next year, told The Brunei Times that she started saving for her wedding since 2005.

She has estimated the cost of her bersanding ceremony to be about $9,730, which includes the necessary make-up artist and hair-stylist, wedding dais, gifts for guests, camps and catering, and her bridal attire. The total amount does not include the invitation cards, photographer and customed paper bags for the gifts.

"At least some of the burden is lessened as some of my family members are sponsoring for some things, like my hand flowers and cake," said Atikah.

Photography is very important nowadays and most couples would hire a photographer to cover all events and even a pre-wedding photoshoot. This would cost around $2,000. Firdaus Hj Mohd, a civil servant, said that he had saved up money with his fiancee to have a pre-wedding photoshoot at the beach.

"It's a bit pricey but worth it to have the wedding documented and to show our children our happiest moments," said Firdaus.

To cope with the expensive budget, some couples would take out personal loans to pay for their wedding. "There is nothing worse than starting off your married life with thousands of dollars in debt," said Hjh Azimah Hj Ali who recently got married this June.The Brunei Times