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Malaysia has three main cultures, Malay, Chinese and Indian, each with its own distinctive wedding traditions. Approximately half of the country's population is Malay, about 9% are Indian and roughly 30% are Chinese, located predominantly in the main cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Kuching and Penang. Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and its largest city with a population of 1.6 million in the central area and 7.2 million in greater Kuala Lumpur, an area known as the Klang Valley.
Malay weddings traditionally take place on two days side by side, however nowadays there is often a gap in between. On the first day the Akad Nikah (signing the marriage contract) is performed, this is the legal and religious part of the wedding where the groom signs the marriage contract and agrees to provide the bride with a dowry (mas kahwin). The Akad Nikah is an Islamic ceremony that is required for any Muslim marriage to be valid. On this day the bride and groom will also perform several rituals such as the berinai besarceremony where their hands are painted with henna. During the henna staining ceremony an oil that is extracted from henna leaves is applied to the fingertips of the couple by relatives and friends to signify their forthcoming unity. On this day the bride's hair is cut and her eyebrows shaped by a beautician known as the mak andam.
The second day of a Malay wedding features a family celebration known as bersanding (enthronement) where the couple are treated like royalty. On this day the bride and groom sit together on a traditional bridal seat called a dais. Family members and friends go up to the dais and sprinkle yellow rice and scented water on the couple as a sign of blessing. After the bersanding ceremony, the couple and their guests will participate in a celebratory feast (makan beradab) that will conclude the wedding.
A Chinese wedding in Kuala Lumpur is conducted according to Chinese culture and traditions and closely resembles a Wedding in Hong Kong or Weddings In Singapore. Traditionally, the groom’s family will pick an auspicious date for the wedding and also for the Betrothal Ceremony(过大礼 Guo Dà Lǐ) which is the day of a formal meeting between the couple’s parents prior to the actual wedding day. During the Betrothal Ceremony the groom’s family will give proposal gifts to the bride's family. These are known as the "Grand Gift" and include items such as Chinese wedding cakes, fruits and jewelry, property or money in red envelopes.
On the morning of the wedding day the couple and their bridesmaids and groomsmen will take part in the traditional Chinese bridal door game. This involves the bride's family and friends making it hard for the groom to reach the bride, symbolizing the fact that she is precious to them and they do not want her to leave. During the game the groom is blocked from entering the bride’s home while her friends ask him to perform physical challenges or answer questions about the bride. After the bridal door game the couple will conduct a traditional Chinese tea ceremony with each others families in their respective homes.
In the afternoon some couples choose to have a religious wedding ceremony in a Church where they may also have their marriage registered if the Church is authorized to register marriages by the goverment. In the evening (or on a separate day) it is traditional to have a wedding banquet in a hotel ballroom or a restaurant. To find a location for your wedding banquet you can visit our section of wedding venues in Kuala Lumpur. Guests that attend a Chinese wedding banquet are expected to give the couple a red envelope containing a cash gift that typically covers the cost of the attendee's meal at the wedding reception.
How To Get Married In Kuala Lumpur
In Malaysia there a two different types of legal wedding procedures, a civil wedding registration for non-Muslims couples and an Islamic procedure when either the bride or the groom are Muslim. A formal process of marriage registration is required for both type of weddings, following which a civil or religious ceremony can be conducted according to the couple’s culture, tradition or religious customs. Couples can register their marriage at a National Registration Department (NRD) location based on their place of residence.
If either the bride or groom is not a citizen of Malaysia they must have a letter from their home country that verifies their marital status and is certified by the Malaysian representative in that country or the Malaysian consulate of their country and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
For more details about non-Muslim weddings please visit the government's National Registration Department website (click here)
Muslim couples are required to follow administrative marriage procedures according to Islamic law and must also complete a marriage course at a certified centre of the State Religious Affairs Department.