A Wedding And A Quest For The Perfect Dress

So I am going to a wedding next month.

It’s my cousin’s wedding out of town in Kupang. He’s my late aunt’s eldest and will be the first to get marry from her three children.

My mother had asked me to fly there with my other aunt and my uncle.

Followed by that was whirlwind of wedding prep craziness.

You see, for us Indonesians, weddings are huge. Literally! Granted, it will be big for everyone since it’s a lifetime of commitment bla bla bla. Let’s not go there, let’s stay within the wedding ceremony and reception.

My late Aunt and her husband was and still are one of the most respected pastors in Kupang. Her husband, my uncle, is the head of the churches organization for the whole island. With such status it is to be expected that the wedding of their son to be big with invitations as many as 600 invitations. Formally, one invitation is equal for two right? So roughly we’re talking about 1,200 guests here! *Faints and opted for a quicky Vegas chapel wedding*

Ok, you guys still breathing?

When my aunt told me about the size of this wedding I nearly rolled my eyes and willing to bet that there will be more than 1,200 people showing up at the venue.

The Dress Drama

The most common thing to do would be for all women from brides and the grooms families to dress in traditional dresses of Kebaya. I knew this. Yet, when my mother said “Ok, we’re going shopping for the fabrics this Saturday.” I felt suffocated!

Don’t get me wrong, Kebaya is really really pretty looking and I am so darn proud of them. But to get into one? Laces, heavy beads and sequins on the laces, plus a bustier? I.really.am.suffocating way before the tightness of the Kebaya wrap me up.

Can’t I just modified mine to be a mini dress or something?” I pleaded to my aunt. Hey, at least my legs would be breathing!

Are you crazy? The wedding is not in Jakarta! It will be in a small town.” She laughed and there goes my hopes of wearing a cute little mini dress of Kebaya.

I was actually thinking of something like this:

                                                               Source: google.co.id via Helentina on Pinterest


Saturday came and my aunt came armed with my two college fresh year teenage cousins. Off we went to the famous market of Tanah Abang to start fabric shopping.

The first shop we stopped by had this really pretty looking lacey Kebaya of black with intricate red tiny glittery things making the pattern very modern and young. It was glamorous and just gorgeous. One of my teenage cousin is the sister of the Groom. Normally she would be expected to wear something formal but one glance at her, I knew she would rather go all out hajaruku style than suffering wearing those pretty girly girl Kebaya.

Sure enough after going from one store to the hundreds more…she just couldn’t find one that she liked. She wanted to wear black!

After a tiring day – my mom and my aunt had successfully bagged God only knows how many fabrics and ready to wear Kebaya sets for the families to wear. I seriously had lost count!

With only 30 minutes before the shops are bounds to be closing down, I went back to the first shop we visited. I just had to give that black & red Kebaya a try. With my black polo shirt still on, the shop attendant strapped the tight bustier and pulled the straps tightly. The results? I looked amazing! – too bad in my excitement and between trying to figure out how to breath normally because boy, were they tight – I didn’t think of reaching into my purse and snap a picture or two. The Kebaya fit me like a second glove. My stomach had never looked so flat!

But then it dawned on me…

There is no way in the world I can go around taking pictures of the wedding wearing this tight bustier under albeit a very pretty Kebaya. I can’t even bent down for Pete’s sake! So, I half heartedly take them off.

My aunt had asked me to help out documenting the wedding using my camera so yeah, I think I’d go with something more comfortable instead.

Oh and against all odds, my little cousin had persuaded her aunts to let her got away with a black dress and after seeing her tormented face during the entire shopping day I sure can’t blamed her.

In the meantime…I’m still pretty much dress-less or Kebaya-less. Maybe I’ll just grab something simple on the last minutes.





Lifestyle and travel blogger, founder of Single Moms Indonesia on a quest of finding joy in everyday life and living life to the fullest with kindness, compassion, grace and a bit of sass.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Facebook



  1. January 23, 2012 / 11:38 am

    It was fun reading about your adventure in finding the perfect dress. Those traditional dresses sound pretty uncomfortable! Reminds me of the traditional Chinese wedding dress I wore – I couldn’t sit down as it was so tight! I can’t fit into it anymore, but then again it was hard to breathe in it so I’m okay with that. Good luck with finding your dress!
    Bicultural Mama recently posted..Can a Non-Celeb Win a Shorty Award?My Profile

    • Maureen
      January 24, 2012 / 9:05 pm

      Thanks Maria. Is that true for the traditional Chinese wedding dress? It looks so pretty tho. If you didn’t tell me I wouldn’t know that it’s uncomfortable.

  2. January 23, 2012 / 4:49 pm

    But the dresses are still so pretty, why can’t traditional things be comfortable!
    Mirjam recently posted..Not your average songMy Profile

    • Maureen
      January 24, 2012 / 9:06 pm

      I know but what’s underneath the dress is what kills hahaha. Thanks Mirjam 😀

  3. January 24, 2012 / 8:27 am

    The dress in the picture is AWESOME! Don’t understand why you are not allowed to wear..but well being an Indonesian, I totally understand what you are going through. I designed my own wedding dress, for akad my kebaya was not the long one like normally people would wear but it was only below the waist just above the hip. I had it made in Lombok because I was working there but the wedding (and my home) was in Jakarta. And my mom was sooooooo much fussy about it. Bla bla bla…on the DAY, people complimented the kebaya and asked where I had it made and my mom could not say anything but to agree LOL!

    And yeah everytime there is a wedding in my big family (cousins, niece, nephews) my mom and my aunts will definitely go to tanah abang or mangga dua or pasar baru or everywhere to get the kebaya uniform for everybody hehehe…(even for someone who clearly won’t be able to attend)!

    • Maureen
      January 24, 2012 / 9:08 pm

      Well because Kupang is a small town unlike Jakarta. And people might not be very happy about a mini skirt. So to respect my uncle’s position there as a respected pastor I’ll have to just go with a pair of slacks 😀

      Thanks for sharing your experience. Super cool you got to designed your own wedding dress. Those Kebaya are pretty but such a hassle isn’t?

  4. January 24, 2012 / 11:53 am

    Twelve-hundred people?! That’s like the Javits Center. How about 3 inch pumps, jeans and t-shirt and be remembered among all 1,200 as the one who came looking like a rock star! Yes, by all means – go comfortable, at least it’s not a Kimono.
    Nami recently posted..Beauties And The Midget BeastsMy Profile

    • Maureen
      January 24, 2012 / 9:09 pm

      Hahahaha I love that! I might wear that during the day of the church wedding ceremony so I can take pictures better but I might have to slip into something more formal during the evening/afternoon for the big reception.

    • Maureen
      January 25, 2012 / 9:40 pm

      I know, right? Would love to just pick something up off of a rack 😀

  5. January 25, 2012 / 9:25 am

    Hi Mau, i’m here thru Nami. I enjoyed reading about your quest! 🙂 You have a really nice narrative voice.

    • Maureen
      January 25, 2012 / 9:49 pm

      Hi Ava. Thanks for stopping by and your kind words 🙂 Do stop by again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.