A Shakespeare-Inspired Wedding in Jakarta
For Tsasya and Ivan, the road to the altar wasn't a quick one: They didn't start dating until 18 months after they met, and their wedding took place on their seventh anniversary, after a largely long-distance relationship. During one of their precious moments together, Ivan asked Tsasya to marry him, and then reiterated his intention in front of her parents, who gave their blessing, a few months later. With her parents' approval, the couple began planning the wedding and set the date for June 30, 2018.
For the pair, who live in Jakarta, Indonesia, where Tsasya is a financial analyst and Ivan works at a consulting firm, the time it took to get from friends to soon-to-be husband and wife was well worth the wait. After their official engagement kicked off, they spent months planning a ceremony that incorporated Sundanese traditions in honor of Tsasya's West Java heritage, followed by a reception that turned their event space into a stunning indoor garden.
"Seeing everything coming together was just surreal," says Tsasya of their 100-guest ceremony and 500-plus guest reception. Her favorite part, however, came long after everyone had gone home: "Later that night, when we reached home, there was a bouquet of roses with a letter inside it waiting on our bed," she says. "This reminds me of another bouquet of roses and letter—the one that he gave me exactly seven years ago when asking me to be his girlfriend." It's true what they say: Good things come to those who wait.
Getting the Blues
The couple set the stage for their garden-themed wedding with a laser cut invitation from Signature Design. They planned a reception styled around Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, choosing navy blue and gold—the colors of the night sky—for their paper suite. "I remember the play for being romantic, playful, and magical, so that is what I wanted to achieve," says Tsasya, who added a tiny heart in the middle of the tree with her and Ivan's initials for a lighthearted touch.
Her Dream Ensemble
Traditional Sundanese bridal attire consists of a gown in two parts: a kebaya on the top and a sarung batik on the bottom. "Ready-to-wear wedding kebaya is almost non-existent," says Tsasya; the usual options are rented or custom. She planned to have hers custom-made, but changed her mind when she saw this tulle version with floral embroidery and two-tone beading for rent at bridal shop Sanggar 27. Since the top is sheer, she added a custom corset underneath. "I love how it is floor-length with embroidery details at bottom and most importantly, it is transparent so the details of the sarung batik is still shown," she says. "It was love at first sight; when you know, you know, right?"
Tsasya wore three customary Sundanese bridal accents: Jasmine in her hair, a diamond-cut betel leaf on her forehead for protection, and a sparkling siger, or tiara, which symbolizes pride and wisdom.
Pretty in Pastels
The six bridesmaids' ensembles followed a similar traditional style—a kebaya paired with a sarung batik—though didn't match the bride's gown exactly. "They wore peranakan kebaya, a type of kebaya originated from Chinese descent in Southeast Asia," says Tsasya. "I am not a fan of bridesmaids that look exactly the same and I knew that I wanted to have as many colors as possible, so I decided to have them wear sarung batik of different pastel colors."
A Perfect Match
Tradition calls for the bride and groom to wear identical sarung batiks, and tops in the same color, so Ivan chose a white beskap that coordinated with Tsasya's kebaya.The groom also wore a traditional male headdress, called a blangkon, in the same fabric used for the sarung batik. Most of his other accessories were also chosen for their customary role—including his necklace (a traditional dagger called a keris) and white slip-on shoes. The exception: His modern Hamilton watch, which had been a birthday gift from Tsasya.
Table for Six
Instead of an altar where the bride and groom stand with the officiant and bridal party, the centerpiece of a traditional Sundanese ceremony is a table for six, where the groom, bride, her father, an officiant, and two witnesses sit. The ceremony took place in the lobby of Sampoerna Strategic Square, where hanging greenery and flowers from Suryo Decor created an indoor garden. "For the ceremony, we wanted to achieve an atmosphere that is serene and peaceful, the kind of feeling you get when visiting a village on a hill," says Tsasya, "so we chose white and green as the main color, with a dash of peach."
A Mother's Love
At the beginning of the ceremony, Tsasya's mother placed a jasmine necklace around Ivan's neck to symbolize their acceptance of him into the family.
After receiving the jasmine necklace, Ivan joined Tsasya's father at the ceremony table as musicians from GSE Ekayana performed traditional Sundanese music on a guitar-like kecapi and bamboo ring flute, called a suling. Tsasya's bridesmaids accompanied her down one of the lobby's grand staircases, and her mother and grandmother met her at the bottom to walk her down the aisle to the ceremony table. A white parasol—historically used to identify a groom during wedding processions that traveled by foot to the bride's home for a ceremony—was another nod to tradition.
Giving Their Blessing
During the ceremony, Tsaysa made a formal request for her parents' permission to marry Ivan, and they accepted. Her father shook Ivan's hand as he recited a traditional consent and Ivan responded by agreeing to the proposed mahr—a gift from the groom to the bride. After witnesses agreed that the vow was valid, the officiant performed the wedding, and then all six people at the table signed a marriage agreement.
A small wooden box held 100 grams of gold used as a mahr. "In Islamic wedding traditions, mahr is a gift given by the groom to the bride after the ceremony. It symbolizes the beginning of a husband's responsibility toward his wife in fulfilling her everyday needs," says Tsasya. "The mahr belongs to the bride and she can dispose it as she wishes. We think of mahr as an equivalent to an engagement ring in Western culture—both of the objects are a symbol of love and devotion."
Bills, Bills, Bills
After the vows, Tsasya and Ivan took part in three Sundanese traditions: One in which they paid their respects to their parents, one in which they fed each other yellow rice, and one in which their parents threw rolled up money that guests ran to collect—symbolizing prosperity and shared happiness. "Before you get the wrong idea," says Tsasya, "the money thrown is in IDR 10,000 and IDR 5,000, and $1 dollar is equivalent to IDR 15,000."
During a two-hour break between the ceremony and reception, Tsasya and Ivan changed into formalwear befitting their evening event. Tsasya's custom Johar Mandrawan gown was a modified A-line silhouette in champagne with gold and bronze embroidery, paired with a laurel-leaf tiara from Olga Delice and matching earrings. Ivan traded his white ceremony attire for a midnight blue tuxedo from Wong Hang Tailor—he'd had his eye on the color since the start of the wedding planning. "I thought it was perfect!" says Tsasya. "I didn't need to find something blue because he was my something blue!"
Their First Dance
For their first dance song, the newlyweds chose "So Close" from the Disney movie Enchanted—a ballad fit for a princess, and one Tsasya had loved since before she and Ivan were dating. "I am a big fan of Disney and when I watched the movie 11 years ago, I knew right away that this song would by my first dance song," she says.
Setting the Stage
The lavishly decorated reception stage offered seating for the couple and their parents as they welcomed guests who came up to offer their congratulations. "We wanted to create a wild garden or an enchanted forest that is romantic and magical, so there were a lot of colorful flowers in the ballroom and the foyer, lanterns and candles in the foyer, and plenty of chandeliers on the reception stage," says Tsasya.
Love in Bloom
The couple's loveseat was backed by a wall of lush greenery accented with purple, green, and white hydrangeas; pink, peach, and white roses; and pink lily, peach amaryllis, white iris, and green amaranthus.
A Buffet Feast
With Indonesian weddings commonly accommodating 500 guests—or even double that—dinners are served buffet style. At Tsasya and Ivan's wedding, friends and family chose from a menu created by Al's Catering: truffle-scented mushroom soup, peking duck with bao, Indonesian fire pit lamb called kambing guling, pan fried salmon with pasta, and Japanese beef bowls. In lieu of a cake cutting ceremony, the newlyweds offered a dessert table spread with mini opera cakes, macaroons, and mousse, while the bartenders poured a non-alcoholic selection of mixed drinks including virgin mojitos, baby bellinis, and fruit juice.
Since the number of reception guests can climb into the thousands, most Indonesian weddings aren't seated events. But the couple did provide a few long tables for guests, dressed with white linens and sporting lanterns surrounded by hydrangeas and roses as centerpieces. A seating area closer to the reception stage offered round tables set aside for family.
The newlyweds sent guests home with favors of stacked matcha-flavored shortbread cookies decorated to look like mini wedding cakes from Ivoire Cake Design. White and peach sugar flowers were a nod to the day's floral design, and a heart with the couples' initials bookended the same icon on the invitation.
Photography, Voir Pictures
Location, Sampoerna Strategic Square
Event planning, Amaya Wedding
Catering, Al's Catering
Flowers, Suryo Decor
Videography, The Broom Pictures
Stationery, Signature Design
Bride's ceremony attire, Sanggar 27
Bride's reception gown, Johar Mandrawan
Hair and Makeup, Archangela Chelsea
Groom's reception tuxedo, Wong Hang Tailor
Groom's reception shoes, Ted Baker
Traditional attire, Sanggar27
Ceremony music, GSE Ekayana
Favors, Ivoire Cake Design
Pre-Wedding Videography, Awala Pictures
Wedding Ring, Tristar