Counting down to your Bruneian Wedding: Part 1

Especially for all the future Bruneian brides out there 😉

So, you’re getting married? Congratulations!

I can imagine most of you having a wedding to-do list already, so you can finally cancel off the first thing on that list of yours–“Find a husband”. Oh joy!

Now, there are so many things to consider before both of you walk down the wedding aisle, and Lizzy’s here to guide you on your journey. When the hubs and I planned our wedding a year ago, I realised how difficult it was; we were basically clueless.

What do we do? Do we even do anything? When do we start doing something? Yup, super clueless.

I admit, I am one of those people who need clear instructions on anything–be it an arduous three-hour long slow cooker recipe or a simple how-to on tying a neck tie. So, with the absence of proper instructions–along with the fact that I’m a born scientist, our whole journey towards the perfect wedding was filled with improvisations and organisations.


To start, some of you may already be engaged, and some have not.

In our culture, an event called Merisik will be done where the groom’s parents (a.k.a. your future in-laws) and/or elder representatives will come to your house to meet your parents and the elder members of your family, to properly ask if you (the eligible bachelorette) are available, and if you would be interested in marrying their son (it’s just part of tradition to ‘ask’–of course you want to marry him!). The folks from both sides may then consider setting only your engagement dates during this event and have a another date to discuss the other wedding events, but some do set the dates of the engagement, solemnisation and others simultaneously during this time.

In the olden days, the young couple would have no say in this, other than agreeing or disagreeing to the marriage. Now, wedding events are usually discussed together with the couple, and most opted to plan the entire matter themselves.

Before the Merisik, you may have already discussed the marriage settlement (Mas Kahwin), monetary gift as out-of-pocket expense (Belanja Hangus) and other things with your parents. These requests vary in quantity and quality, but the marriage settlement is a must in Islam’s accordance. The bride’s family may only wish for a number of extras from the groom, such as an Al-Quran, a roll of Jong Sarat (a breathtaking gold or silver-threaded material considered as a compulsory gift for the bride in the Malay culture), and two rings; one that symbolises her engagement (a.k.a. Cincin Tanda Bertunang) and the other as a token that the bride has been ‘asked’ or risik (a.k.a. Cincin Pembuka Mulut). However, some families may demand more, but each to their own.

Below is a list of what my family requested from hubs as a guide:

1. Mas Kahwin (BND$350)

2. Belanja Hangus (BND$6000)

3. Cincin Kahwin (Wedding ring)

4. Cincin Pembuka Mulut and BND$100

5. Cincin Tanda Bertunang and BND$150

6. Al-Quran

7. Jong Sarat

The amount for your Mas Kahwin depends on the stipulation by the Religious Office, but it seldom fluctuates more or less than the amount above.

On the other hand, the amount of your Belanja Hangus is entirely up to you, but it is wise to not ask for too much from the groom. This is, after all, what you will spend on when you start your new life as newlyweds. There are many incidences out there where the bride’s family attempted to extort tens of thousands of dollars from the poor groom to be used to pay for the extravagant wedding events, and he ended up cancelling everything as he was unable to have the said amount in time for their solemnisation. So, ladies, please have mercy on your future husbands!

To finalise:

– Set a date for the Merisik agreed by both sides so that the bride’s family can prepare their conditions and such

– Have possible dates for your other events (engagement, solemnisation and reception just to name the common ones done) ready so both sides can discuss and agree on certain dates during the Merisik

– These dates are important; changing them in the last minute will affect most factors such as the venue, catering and invitations

– Print and have the list of wedding conditions in a see-through folder, or have them decorated and framed

– Make sure you have enough time to prepare for the wedding–you wouldn’t want to have them too far ahead i.e. in four or five years because believe me, unforeseeable things can happen and ruin your beautiful pursuit of matrimony. 

That is all for Part 1!

Do check back soon for the next part.

Good luck, and congratulations, bride-to-bes! 😀




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