Are post-pandemic weddings returning to lavish extravagance?

Prior to the pandemic, Indonesia was known for the tradition of celebrating weddings with large-scale parties.

Sylviana Hamdani

Sylviana Hamdani

The Jakarta Post


Wed in style: Henri Winata poses beside his bespoke double-breasted jacket from Bridestory at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) in BSD city, on March 3. (JP/Sylviana Hamdani) (JP/Sylviana Hamdani)

May 3, 2023

JAKARTA – Designers and experts in the industry talk about emerging wedding trends in Indonesia after the pandemic. Indonesia’s penchant for big weddings, which often host thousands of guests in luxurious settings, is likely to return now that the COVID-19 pandemic is ending. As seen in a string of wedding expos in Jakarta since the end of last year, beaming brides-and-grooms-to-be have thronging vendors’ booths as they plan for their perfect day.

“The industry’s been steadily looking up since 2022,” Tono Raharja, chief executive officer of the Indonesian wedding community, Weddingku, said when interviewed by The Jakarta Post at the Indonesia Dream Wedding Festival 2023 (IDWF 2023) at the Jakarta Convention Center on March 31.

Prior to the pandemic, Indonesia was known to be among a few countries in the world that maintains the tradition of celebrating weddings with large-scale parties.

“I think Indonesia has the largest [scale] of wedding parties in Asia, after India and Thailand,” Tono added. “And I’m optimistic that these [large-scale] weddings will return as soon as the pandemic ends.”

Here are some new trends the pandemic has brought into weddings:

Venue: Hotel ballrooms with a dreamy decor

“Business is going back to normal now,” Priyanto, representative of the wedding organizer Anastasia Project, said at the IDWF 2023. “We’re handling weddings with 400 to 1,000 invitees every week.”

While outdoor parties were the preference at the height of the pandemic, many brides and grooms choose to host their weddings in hotel ballrooms again these days.

“[Having weddings in hotel’s ballrooms] has always been the main preference of many Indonesians before the pandemic,” Priyanto added. “It seems that the trend’s returning now.”

Mey Lie, a representative of Michelle Paris Decorations, agreed.

“Hotels have [all the facilities] that clients need for a big wedding,” Mey Lie said. “Plus, [hosting weddings in a hotel ballroom] is weather-safe.”

Ayana Midplaza Jakarta has seen the number of wedding reservations almost return to normal.

“[The number of reservations] are getting almost normal,” Silva Rosalia, senior sales manager of Ayana Midplaza Jakarta, said at the IDWF 2023. “We’ve been seeing an 85 percent increase in ballroom bookings for weddings [since the pandemic],”

But there is a slight change in behavior among customers due to COVID-19.

Beautiful: Petrick Sutrisno showcasing his semi-ball gown wedding dress made of crinoline and silk. (JP/Sylviana Hamdani) (JP/Sylviana Hamdani)

“Before the pandemic, customers usually made their [ballroom] bookings at least a year before the planned event,” Silva said. “But these days, they book the venue just three or six months beforehand as many of them are still worried that [the infection rate of COVID-19 will rise again.”

Aston Sentul Lake Resort and Conference Center has also received many ballroom wedding bookings these days.

“Our clients are excited that there are no more social restrictions,” Novita Sari, sales executive of the hotel, said. “Many of them now request for [weddings with] a full decor, which includes lots of flowers and [indoor] pergolas.”

Mey Lie of Michelle Paris Decorations greatly enjoys the hike of exciting new client demands.

“It’s been so long since we’ve created such exciting wedding decors,” she said. “And now, our artistic brains are exploding with new ideas.”

During the IDWF 2023, the decorator presented a platform designed like a storybook page, embellished with carved wooden horses and lighted wire butterflies. A mix of blue and magenta ambient lighting creates a dreamy feel about the decor.

“[The blue, magenta ambient lighting] is trending now in Jakarta,” she said. “It’s quite a departure from the warm-white wedding [decor] glow during COVID-19.”

Wedding dresses: simple with discreet embellishments

While wedding decors are getting more extravagant, wedding dresses are becoming simpler.

“After the pandemic, everyone prefers a simpler outfit while still maintaining their signature [fashion] style,” bridal designer Hian Tjen said when interviewed at the launch of a new jewelry collection by Adelle Jewellery x Hian Tjen at Bridestory Market at the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) in BSD city, Tangerang, on March 3. “Thus, many brides now favor flowy, loose-fitted wedding gowns with discreet beadings and embroideries.”

Bridal designer Petrick Sutrisno confirmed this new, more straightforward trend of wedding dresses.

“Full-blown [wedding] gowns are so last year,” Petrick said. “Customers prefer simpler, lighter wedding dresses that allow them to move freely and dance.”

During the IDWF 2023, Petrick showcased two structured semi-ball gowns made of crinoline and silk.

While sexy, plunging necklines are still preferred in wedding dresses, many now request to have them covered with semi-transparent panels.

“The semi-transparent panels, subtly adorned with sequins, add more class and decorum to the dress,” Petrick, who is based in Pluit, Karang Barat, North Jakarta, said.

Wedding suits: slim, double-breasted, convertible tuxes

Many men still prefer to play it safe regarding wedding attire.

“The classic black tuxedo is still the main choice of our clients for their weddings,” Tika, representative of Wong Hang Distinguished Tailor, said at the Bridestory Market at ICE BSD, Tangerang, on March 3.

The renowned bespoke tailor also offers tuxedos fitted with detachable satin lapels and pockets.

“By taking out [the detachable parts], they can convert the tux into a formal jacket and wear it to many other occasions,” Tika added.

Besides the classic tux, slim-fit, double-breasted jackets are becoming popular as men’s wedding attire.

“Many of my customers now prefer Italian-style [double-breasted] jackets with relaxed shoulders,” Henri Winata said at the Bridestory Market at ICE BSD, Tangerang, on March 3.

Wedding suits, made of patterned wool materials, are also becoming a favorite.

“Among the preferred patterns [for wedding suits] are Prince-of-Wales, Puppytooth and Herringbone,” the designer [Henri Winata], who studied at Savile Row Academy in London, said. “They’re classics and yet show more character.”

Wedding rings: Trilogy and diamond-laced 

Rings are small yet essential items that bind these once-and-forever love affairs. In this matter, men also opt for the more classic styles.

“[Men’s] wedding bands are usually plain and embellished with a combination of glossy and matte finishing,” Andre, sales representative of Mondial, said at the IDWF 2023.

Trilogy, a new style of wedding ring featuring a string of three medium-sized diamonds, is very popular among Gen Zs and millennials.

“The three diamonds [in the Trilogy rings] represent the past, the present and the future,” Andre said.

Besides the Trilogy, diamond-laced wedding bands, known as Tennis Rings, are becoming a favorite among many Indonesian brides.

“The slim [Tennis] ring, adorned with small, symmetrical diamonds all around, looks very sweet and adorable on women’s hands,” Michael Surya, CEO of the local jewelry brand Adelle Jewellery, said at the Bridestory Market at ICE BSD, Tangerang, on March 3.

During the interview, Michael also shared some tips for choosing the perfect wedding ring for you and your spouse.

“First of all, determine a style that you both like and will like for a long time,” Michael said.

With style in mind, you and your spouse can now visit jewelry houses and see if they have anything suitable to your liking.

Alternatively, you can design your own and make them with a jeweler.

“If you’d like to order a specific pair of rings, don’t forget to allow some time to have it made,” Michael said. “A jeweler usually takes three to six months to produce them.”

Last but not least, you should always choose to purchase your wedding rings from a reputable jeweler.

“There should be no regrets in these precious, once-in-a-lifetime items,” Michael concluded.

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