By any standard it was a grand wedding in Pekan Nanas, Johor when local lass Haslinda Zainal got married to KL born and bred Norazrin Md Noor (better known as Bob) at the local surau (formerly the Mesjid Jamek) on Sunday 3 March 2011.
I was tasked to lead the groom’s entourage just as at the engagement last year when it was agreed on the “hantaran” (the gifts) by both families. It made my job easier. The burden was much lighter as the bride was always in contact with groom’s family. Both are from the mainstream media, Bob from Kosmo of the Utusan Group while Linda from Bernama.
We left KL early Saturday morning for the 400 km drive, to have a relaxing day in P.Nanas for the rest of the day. We decided to rendezvous at Pagoh R&R on the Plus North-South Highway. The main group left Jalan Peel, Pudu while Jun and I from Subang Jaya via the KLIA-highway. It was tiring driving as the weekend traffic was heavy. I was glad when nephew Jeli took over the wheel for the rest of the journey.
We exited at Karak Jaya for the remaining 40km drive and straight to the homestay at Taman Sri Damansara. It was a comfortable place in spite of the shortcomings. The bride’s family provided lunch, tea and dinner at their home. At night there were some entertainments by two local bands, one of them consisting of the younger family members of the host. They were good but we decided to quit early in preparation for the next day.
We went to the bride’s house early next day for a light breakfast and then to the surau next door for the solemnised ceremony which went smoothly. I noticed Johor Religious Department has made the ceremony more meaningful by adding pledges by the “wali” (bride’s father), the groom, the bride’s mother as well as the bride herself making it quite emotional for the family and audience, beside the normal pledges. Even the “taqliq” (wedding pledge by the groom) is now romanised alongside the “jawi”.
The Johor religious department made sure more people are mentioned in the certificates. The bride and the groom got to bring along two witnesses each while the Tok Naib or jurunikah has his two set of witnesses. The other states just make do with 2 witnesses only. I stand corrected on this if they have made the necessary amendments to streamline the procedure through the National Religious Council.
The only part of the ceremony that never change from days gone by is the “emas kahwin” (wedding fees) which remain at RM 22.50 – the jurunikah said “dua-puloh dua ringgit setengah” while the groom mentioned “dua-puloh dua ringgit lima-puloh sen” which never disputed. The traditional and the modern ways of saying the figures. I suppose this figure make Johor the most affordable state for Muslim marriage destination in the country.
After the ceremony we had the exchange of gifts between both sides which was symbolically done.
Then we had to wait for the next part of the ceremony – the wedding lunch. The groom was expected to be around at 2.30 pm, another 3 hours away. So off we went back to the homestay nearby for some relaxing moment.
There was a big crowd already at the luncheon in the bright sunshine when the groom arrived to the accompaniment of the Kompang and the usual “traditional Johor toll” for the groom to enter the compound and meet the bride. When the friendly banter ended the couple was led to the “bersanding” dais followed by the “merenjis” ceremony by close family members of both sides.
The bridal lunch followed with the groom’s family taking their place at the special tables laid out. Then it was back to the dais for family photo session.
Finally it was the long journey home for the groom’s family. I had the comfort of a driver in nephew Jeli who was good on car being a mechanic. So we were in good hands in the heavy traffic all along the way.