A destination close to my heart is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been here and every time I seem to fall more and more in love with it and my amazing Malay ‘family’. The people, the weather, the city, the culture.
Kuala Lumpur (KL), Malaysia’s sultry capital packed with historic monuments, steel-clad skyscrapers, lush parks, mega-sized shopping malls, bustling street markets and trendy nightspots. Also an essential part of the vibrant mix are incense-wreathed, colourfully adorned mosques and temples of the country’s Malay, Chinese and Indian communities. A reverence for these ancient cultures is balanced with a drive to be plugged into the contemporary world, as evidenced by an exciting contemporary art and design scene and a buzzing digital economy.
I had the privilege of attending a wedding this month in Kuala Lumpur for a very close family friend and I couldn’t have said yes quick enough.
Arriving late on a Thursday evening, it’s straight into open arms from my amazing Malay family and onto wedding duties. It was my first time attending a traditional Malay Muslim wedding and a beautiful custom that I will remember for quite some time.
Weddings are a big deal no matter what culture you’re in but Muslim weddings are a step above. Hosted over two very long days, the brides family hosts the first day while the groom’s family hosts the second.
The bride’s wedding ceremony on the Saturday was a lavishly themed in red and gold; flowers, decorations, carpet, drapery, table settings – a rich explosion of colour. There is no formal ceremony but an acknowledgment of their love and commitment to each other and each side of the family (hence why it’s split over two days). The short formality was followed by non-stop feasting and socialising for the remainder of the day.
In the early evening, a group of us travelled north to the groom’s home town of Shah Alam to prepare to host day two.
Blue, white and purple ‘everything’ – including our clothes – was the theme of the day in Shah Alam, and it looked like a winter wonderland in the tropics. A fluorescent walkway, white baby’s breath flowers, white and crystal table settings and a kids candy bar adorned with blue pom-poms were prepared for the impending arrival of our special guests. No official ceremony is conducted on the second day, the focus again being all about feasting and meeting the in-laws.
Malaysian weddings are bright, colourful, theatrical, beautiful occasions and I loved every moment. The most remarkable experience for me was the profound importance placed on family unity and establishing deep bonds with new members. And everyone from both sides of the family were in attendance – we’re talking 1000+ people – just incredible and an event I’m so honoured to have been apart of.
A necessity whilst in Kuala Lumpur, a visit to a shopping mall, one thing they have in abundance. My favourite being Suria KLCC. The epitome of high end luxury encompassed in a shiny seven story tower. Somehow my feet found their way into Chanel and positioned themselves in front of the most beautiful black quilted handbag – it really would be rude not to bring it home with me.
We followed up the hustle and bustle of Kuala Lumpur with a quick trip to Bukit Lawang, Indonesia to visit an Orangutang Sanctuary. Check in for my next post on this magical place!