Balinese Wedding Ceremony
(Nganten) is belonging to the last Manusia Yadnya ceremony that most Balinese are likely to experience is that of marriage, Pawiwahan, less formally called Nganten. The most common form of marriage in Bali is elopement Ngerorod or Melaib. The man and women arrange to meet somewhere out of sight of the girl’s parents and spend the night together at a friend’s house, with sufficient publicity that people find out what is going on. Under these circumstances the girls can not return to her parents and resume her normal life.
In almost all cases the girl’s parents are not in the least surprised. They pretend to be outraged at the impoliteness of the boy and his family for plotting the downfall of their daughter. But usually the whole thing is planned to avoid the very expensive ceremonies that would have to have been put on had the couple been married by the mutual consent of the two families. This “arranged” sort of wedding is called Memadik, and it is expensive because of the large ceremonies and offering involved. An elopement usually requires only modest ceremonies.
The morning after the event a local Pemangku performs a simple ceremony called makala-kalaan, which is something like a small civil wedding in the west. It is a very private affair, and the couple wears only the simplest of traditional Balinese clothes. They are now legally married. Normally, however, the family of the boy puts on a more elaborate and formal wedding ceremony in which everyone dresses up in traditional Balinese clothing and a Balian or Pemangku presides. This ceremony is not as important as the private one, and is devoted mostly to purification.
But it does involve a mandatory offering called Jerimpen tegeh. The name means different things in different part of Bali. The boy’s family generally has a reception for friends of the couple who were not invited to the traditional ceremony. The reception is strictly western style. Everyone wears ordinary clothes, there is socializing and good fun, presents are brought by the guests, and buffet dinner is served. The family of the girl in not invited to either of these ceremonies-of course they are mad at the boy for stealing their daughter. Three days after the wedding the family of the boy visits the family of the girl, at whose house the Ketipat Bantal ceremony is performed.
At this ceremony, the two families make up. The general philosophy of a Balinese wedding ceremony is not much different from that of one held in the west. The priest or Balian in charge asks Ida Sang Hyang Widhi to witness the union of the couple. It is made clear that the two unite freely and take full responsibility for the consequences of their wedding.