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Makassan Wedding

Our first stop on our round-the-world adventure was Makassar on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Makassar, also still referred to by its former name Ujung Pandang, is not only an interesting place to visit in its own right, but was also the location of our friend's wedding, making it a special stop for us.

In days of tradition and ritual mixed with glitz and glamor, from intimate ceremonies to a huge party to remember, here is a window into some of the Makassan and Bugis ethnic traditions we were lucky enough to witness and even be a part of.

The bride-to-be enters the Mappasili, a cleansing ceremony to prepare her for entering married life.

The bride-to-be enters the Mappasili, a cleansing ceremony to prepare her for entering married life.

The beautiful ornate gold table settings filled with a number of moist and sweet Makassan desserts only eaten during wedding celebrations.

The beautiful ornate gold table settings filled with a number of moist and sweet Makassan desserts only eaten during wedding celebrations.

The bride-to-be is blessed by a shaman who was present to ensure a smooth spiritual transition into married life.

The bride-to-be is blessed by a shaman who was present to ensure a smooth spiritual transition into married life.

The bride-to-be is blessed by a shaman who was present to ensure a smooth spiritual transition into married life.

During the Mappasili, the bride-to-be is showered with holy water by close family members, cleansing her in preparedness for this new chapter in her life.

During the Mappasili, the bride-to-be is showered with holy water by close family members, cleansing her in preparedness for this new chapter in her life.

The bride-to-be is given a small amount of the water in the palms of her hands to drink before the rest of the ladle of water is showered over her head. Jessica was very honored to be invited to partake in this very intimate ceremony by the family.

The bride-to-be is given a small amount of the water in the palms of her hands to drink before the rest of the ladle is showered over her head. Jessica was very honored to be invited to partake in this very intimate ceremony by the family.

Blessings from big brother.

Blessings from big brother.

Mappasili details.

Mappasili shower.

After receiving a thorough showering and being carried away by her brother, the bride returned to the ceremony area a short time later dry and wearing this lovely headscarf and dress.

After receiving a thorough showering and being carried away by her brother, the bride returned to the ceremony area a short time later dry and wearing this lovely headscarf and dress.

During this part of the Mappasili more rituals were conducted.

During this part of the Mappasili more rituals were conducted.

Including this lovely tradition of the parents feeding their child sweets and vice versa.

Including this lovely tradition of the parents feeding their child sweets and vice versa.

Bride feeding her father.

Bride feeding her mother.

Love this one of father and daughter.

Love this one of father and daughter.

Then it was time for the same exchanging of sweets to take place between her and her brothers.

Then it was time for the same exchanging of sweets to take place between her and her brothers.

Verses from the Quran were then chanted.

Verses from the Quran were then chanted.

These pre-wedding rituals were for the bride only. The groom was simultaneously having his own pre-wedding ceremonies at another location with his family.

These pre-wedding rituals were for the bride only. The groom was simultaneously having his own pre-wedding ceremonies at another location with his family.

During the evening of the same day, another bridal pre-wedding ceremony known as the Mappacci took place. This ceremony too is also one for very close family so we were very blessed and honored to be invited. The bride-to-be emerged with this stunning outfit and this wasn't even the wedding day yet!

During the evening of the same day, another bridal pre-wedding ceremony known as the Mappacci took place. This ceremony too is also one for very close family so we were very blessed and honored to be invited. The bride-to-be emerged with this stunning outfit and this wasn't even the wedding day yet!

During the Mappacci, very close family members and special guests are invited to give blessings to the bride and place henna on her hands.

During the Mappacci, very close family members and special guests are invited to give blessings to the bride and place henna on her hands.

What her hands looked like after the ceremony.

What her hands looked like after the ceremony.

Friends for 12 years. Jessica wearing the traditional "baju bodo" with the stunning bride-to-be.

Friends for 12 years. Jessica wearing the traditional “baju bodo” with the stunning bride-to-be.

After the pre-marriage rituals the day before, the day of the actual wedding ceremony (Akad Nikah) had arrived.

After the pre-marriage rituals the day before, the day of the actual wedding ceremony (Akad Nikah) had arrived.

Guest book.

Guest book.

So you want to marry my daughter? Groom before the bride's father. This was the first time we had seen the groom and interestingly he gave the vows without the bride being present. She was listening to the proceedings upstairs via mobile phone in her hotel room.

So you want to marry my daughter? Groom before the bride's father. This was the first time we had seen the groom and interestingly he gave the vows without the bride being present. She was listening to the proceedings upstairs via mobile phone in her hotel room.

Once the groom had completed his part of the ceremony and officially vowed to take the bride as his wife, he and close family went upstairs to collect the bride. They returned to the ceremony area together, the bride wearing an even more elaborate and heavy dress than the night before, weighing around 20kg!

Once the groom had completed his part of the ceremony and officially vowed to take the bride as his wife, he and close family went upstairs to collect the bride. They returned to the ceremony area together, the bride wearing an even more elaborate and heavy dress than the night before, weighing around 20kg!

Ornate table detail.

Ornate table detail.

Ornate table detail.

Hand in the krupuk jar. Like the ceremonies the day before, there was plenty of food provided for guests and the kids took free reign over the prawn crackers :)

Hand in the krupuk jar. Like the ceremonies the day before, there was plenty of food provided for guests and the kids took free reign over the prawn crackers :)

Guests wore amazing outfits adorned with sparkly accessories befitting the special occasion.

Guests wore amazing outfits adorned with sparkly accessories befitting the special occasion.

The wedding reception was held two days later in a fabulous ballroom that had been transformed into a spectacular garden party. Flowers and trees shipped from Jakarta, wood from Sumatra and every kind of food you could possibly want. Formal wear was the dress for the occasion and, you guessed it, the couple shone with more amazing outfits. During the evening, the couple were on the stage where guests could come up and extend their congratulations.

The wedding reception was held two days later in a fabulous ballroom that had been transformed into a spectacular garden party. Flowers and trees shipped from Jakarta, wood from Sumatra and every kind of food you could possibly want. Formal wear was the dress for the occasion and, you guessed it, the couple shone with more amazing outfits. During the evening, the couple were on the stage where guests could come up and extend their congratulations.

The entertainment for the evening was Indonesian singing legend Vina Panduwinata.

The entertainment for the evening was Indonesian singing legend Vina Panduwinata.

Butterfly Kingdom of Bantimurung, Sulawesi
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Throwback Thursday: Advice Gurus - Notes of Nomads

Thursday 26th of June 2014

[…] the course of the wedding week, they delighted in all that a large and elaborate wedding of an only daughter can bring, unlimited krupuk (prawn crackers) and sweets, wearing fancy new […]

Top #5 Travel Tips for Makassar, Indonesia - Notes of Nomads

Sunday 25th of May 2014

[…] first destination on this round-the-world trip was Makassar, Indonesia. In amongst the wedding celebrations which were our main purpose for visiting, we were able to squeeze in some time getting out and […]

2013: Our Year in Review - Notes of Nomads

Tuesday 31st of December 2013

[…] I was re-united with an old friend after 12 years and spent some of the most important days of her life with her during her wedding week. […]

avraham edelstein

Wednesday 31st of July 2013

Hy Jessica, I have been after You on Mount Fuji, two years ago, and now in Makassar. We stayed in hotel Singgasana for two nights 14 and 15 of july. From Makassar we continued to Tana Toraja, whewr we witnessed several burial ceremonies. Very strange, even barbaric, but worth seeing once. We saw a wedding to in Tana Toraja, but much simpler then the one described by You, which seems almost European. Aniway the photos You have posted on Your blog are senzational.

Jessica Korteman

Tuesday 6th of August 2013

Hi Avraham, Thanks so much for your message. Tana Toraja sounds amazing. We really wanted to get there but we didn't have enough time around the wedding celebrations. We'll definitely have to go back to Sulawesi. Yes, the wedding was very elaborate. Some of the ceremonies even followed rituals done by royalty! I'll pass on your comments about the photos to Hai :) Thank you and happy adventuring!

Leon Bailey

Thursday 25th of July 2013

Incredible wedding photography. Man! That table of the desserts, I wish I had a crack at those foods.

Hai Huynh

Tuesday 6th of August 2013

Many thanks Leon and regarding the desserts, they all tasted as good as they looked.

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