The night before the ceremony, my mum’s side of the family gathered at Sabrina’s place for a last-minute briefing. Not everyone went to Ipoh for Raya a few days earlier, so Sabrina’s parents figured that it was a perfect time for a family get-together prior to my engagement day.
Past the briefing, we didn’t reach home as early as expected. The bulk of door gifts have not been thoroughly packed. In fact, I only managed picking up the gifts and the packaging right after the briefing. My childhood friends who planned on helping and sleeping over got lost from driving at night. I only had Lisa (a friend who flew from Dubai and touched down earlier on the day) and my cousin Ika, to help me do the packing. Talk about last minute drama. At the end I was told to sleep and let them handle the door gifts.
Ika was telling me to get up over and over again in the morning. I resisted,“15 more minutes, please! Let me sleep!” With my swollen face, I got up to shower, grabbed my dress and shoes and left the house early, while everyone else (a few families from the northern region slept over) was either packing the door gifts or chit-chatting over breakfast. Swore I won’t hold anything in the morning again.
It was pouring lightly, a very cloudy morning. Nobody was at Felda Villa yet, except for the young photographer, who was spotted carrying his bulky DSLR, walking around and snapping pictures of the venue and my mum’s friend, who was preparing the hantaran trays.
The lovely dais greeted me as soon as I stepped inside the hall. I wasn’t able to observe the setting up the previous night, so I was a bit eager to know how it had turned out. Breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of it.
I settled down inside the prep room and arranged my things as I waited for the makeup artist, who was late. When she finally came, she reiterated what she had mentioned on the phone just moments before, “Don’t worry, we are professionals. Professionals don’t take hours to do makeup for you!” No point pondering or debating. I let her continue doing her job.
She swiftly made my face up, while my hair was curled by her trusted assistant. My closest friends turned up, one by one, accompanying me in the room. At the time, I had no idea what was happening outside. The noise outside the room got louder and my only assumption was that everybody had finally gathered.
The ceremony began without me noticing.
Dolled and dressed up, I was good to go. The door was opened and my aunt came, telling me to get ready, “Anytime soon!”. I was already hearing the men outside berbalas pantun. That fast?! Shit, it’s time!
I’m not one who’s usually nervous, but I admit my heart was pumping faster at the time. The idea of being at the center of attention on the day nauseated me. “Ceremonies like these are for narcissists!”, I told my mum many months ago, going against the idea of having an engagement ceremony. “To you it may be narcissistic, but nowadays, it’s a necessity.”
The door was opened once again. Now, here we go.