I personally think that the uniqueness of Malay wedding lies in the hantaran (sets of decorated gift items that sometimes include a ring, fruits, cakes, biscuits, clothings etc which are exchanged between the two families.) The word 'hantar' means 'send' in English, and the additional suffix 'an' refers the word as a noun, which derived the meaning as 'the items that are sent'. Basically, hantaran are a must during engagement/ wedding ceremony, and were always exchanged in odd numbers. For example, if the man's family brings 5 trays of hantaran, then the lady's family will have to reply with 7 trays of hantaran, if it's 7 trays, then the lady's side will have to prepare 9 trays etc. All the hantaran decoration are hand-made, and usually use lots flowers (fresh/ artificial) and ribbons, and always in theme colours (Try image googling "hantaran" and you'll see what I mean).
For the past few months, I've been quite busy juggling between my day job and preparing for my sister's engagement ceremony. Seriously, my sister is a hopeless soul when it comes to the art of making hantaran, or any other types of DIY decorations, so I completely took over :P. We were going for a more modern design, and I couldn't help but included quilling on each of the hantaran. Yes! Quilling! On hantaran! :)
We gave out 7 hantaran, which include:
a fondant cake (home-made by my cousin, Najwa)
Urat Jati (literal translation= wood teak texture), a Terengganu delicacy by my aunt, Teh Lah.
Sampin Songket (hand-woven fabric worn as part of Malay wear) and Songkok (traditional cap)
Baju Melayu (traditional Malay outfit worn by men - this one is for the upcoming wedding)
a box of chocolates (with quilling-adorned box)
biscuits (almond biscotti, chocolate chips & raspberry viennese)
a tray of fruits with sparkling red grape drink
I had a blast making these, even though it was my first time trying my hand at flower decoration. :P The 7 butterflies were a huge hit and stole the limelight of the hantaran haha. I'll write in details about the butterflies in the next entry! Watch the space for more details (Part II) on the DIY Engagement Ceremony, okay! :)