Malay weddings take place
over the course of several days, so it ends up being kind of like a countdown.
T-3 days has the bride showing off her trousseau, making enough costume changes
to rival Lady Gaga for the benefit of friends and family. T-2 days is when the
Henna-staining ceremony takes place and both bride and groom get their
fingertips painted. T-1 days is the all important Nikah ceremony, which legally and religiously legitimizes the
marriage. T-0 is, of course, the actual wedding day. Called Bersanding, literally “sitting together of the bride and bridegroom
on the bridal couch,” the day features precisely that; two bridal couches,
called pelamin, are placed in the
houses of the bride and the bridegroom. The bridegroom will visit his bride’s
house first, where he sits with her on the couch in front of an astakona, a giant tiered
tray full of yellow rice and red-dyed eggs, after which the same thing is
repeated at the groom’s house. Merry feasting and frolicking follow.