As the biggest archipelago country in the world, Indonesia is blessed with a diverse culture—each region even possesses its own unique wedding customs. Traditional Indonesian weddings are festive and vibrant, mainly thanks to its beautiful attires. Today, we're shining the spotlight on several stunning wedding headpieces and crowns that can be found across the country.
Although they are heavy and difficult to put on, these headpieces add a certain dose of elegance to the brides who wear them. The symbolic meaning embedded in each headpiece also makes it much more than just an accessory. In fact, the wedding crown is as important as the bride's attire itself!
Click through the slideshow below to see some of the most beautiful wedding headpieces that Indonesian brides have had the honor of wearing.
Balinese brides are characterized by their colorful clothes made of vibrant prada textiles topped with an golden headpiece. Inspired by Badung Kingdom royalty, Ayu Thari wore a set of Payas Agung attires complete with an intricate and heavy crown made of real gold. “It weighed around 3 kilograms and I had to wear it for two days in a row,” recalled the bride. But after seeing how regal it made her look, we’re sure it was worth it!
Betawi culture was formed in the old port city of Batavia, now known as Jakarta. It’s especially rich in colors and traditions, as the culture combines Chinese, Arabian, and Dutch influences. The Betawi bride’s headpiece itself consists of the Chinese-influenced siangko kecil or sisir galu crown paired with hong bird or Chinese phoenix hair pins. Slightly covering the forehead and face is a siangko besar headpiece inspired by Arabian veils.
Colorful and festive, the Gorontalonese bridal headpiece is made of several different elements. The baya lo boute headband symbolizes the bride’s devotion to her duties as a wife. Next is tuhi-tuhi, a set of seven hair pins that represent the kingdoms of Gorontalo. Made of red and white feathers, the lai-lai crowns the head as a symbol of purity, nobility, and courage.
Although they look similar, paes Solo putri and Yogya putri bridal ensembles are slightly different. In fact, the Yogyakarta up-do is wide on the bottom, while the Solo one is reversed. The paes forehead makeup also has sharper angles in Yogyakarta. The Solo up-do can weigh more than 2 kg, as it’s adorned with up to nine cunduk mentul hair pins, as opposed to only three or five in Yogyakarta. Topping the Solo putri look is a long cluster of jasmine flowers called tibo dodo.
Inspired by princesses of Yogyakarta royalty, the paes ageng ensemble is notable for its sharp black paes makeup outlined in prada or gold foil. On opposite sides of the head, centhung hair accessories represent the bride’s readiness in entering a new stage of life. Crowning the bride is a gunungan headpiece that symbolizes the husband’s respect for his wife. As in the Solo putri and Yogya putri bridal looks, the cunduk mentul hair pins come in odd numbers. All in all, the entire hairdo and accessories can weigh up to 1.5 kg.
Shaped like a water buffalo’s horns, this grand headpiece comes from the Mandailing culture in North Sumatra. Traditionally, the bulang crown is made of real gold and can have up to five or seven layers depending on the bride’s social status. For convenience and comfort, the modern-day bulang headpiece is only plated with gold. The headpiece’s weight itself symbolizes the bride’s willingness to endure her new responsibilities as a wife.
Hailing from West Sulawesi, the Mandar wedding headpiece may look quite simple compared to those from other cultures. However, there’s actually more than what meets the eye. A Mandar bride wears a wide hair bun at the back of her head, which is adorned with flowers and circular golden hair pins shaped like flowers called gal. The number of flowers and floral headpieces varies according to the social status of the bride’s family.
One of the heaviest traditional Indonesian headpieces, the sunting or suntiang is worn by Minang brides from West Sumatra. The traditional suntiang gadang crown is put together from up to 11 layers of flowers, gold, and aluminum, no wonder it can weigh as heavy as 5 kg! These days, however, you can easily find a lighter, more practical, yet still beautiful suntiang made of brass.
Brides from Palembang, South Sumatra can choose between the similarly beautiful aesan paksangko and aesan gede ensembles. The aesan gede crown is traditionally paired with pink dodot attires and gold accessories to reflect the grandeur of the Sriwijaya Kingdom. Meanwhile, the aesan paksangko or pak sangkong headpiece is usually worn with a long-sleeve baju kurung in red.
As with other ethnicities in Indonesia, Palembangese wedding attires may differ depending on the region. Pictured above, Diny is wearing an especially heavy and intricate golden crown from the Komering Ulu region of South Sumatra. “I wore the real deal, it was huge and very beautiful,” said the bride. Don’t you agree?
Palembangese brides who want a smaller and simpler crown that is no less lovely should take notes from this bride. Lala managed to simplify her bridal headpiece to match the traditional attires passed down by her grandmother.
The siger or sigor crown from Lampung, on the southern tip of Sumatra, steals attention thanks to its massive size. The crown itself represents the bride’s nobility and femininity. Lampung’s nine rivers are represent in the siger pepadun crown’s pointed tips, some of which are adorned with metal floral ornaments. On top of the siger is a smaller three-layer crown, and to wrap it all together are clusters of jasmine that represent the bride’s purity.
Bugis brides are easily recognizable due to their black forehead makeup called dadasa. Their hair is also done in an unusual way, with an upright bun on the back of a head that acts as a crown-like frame for hair ornaments to sit on. Metal floral ornaments called pinang goyang are placed on top of the bun, while simpolong flowers are set on the sides. Then, the saloko crown stretches over the head like a hair band. Altogether, the Bugis bride’s headpieces resemble a glorious peacock.
The graceful siger crown lies across the forehead and symbolizes the wisdom, honor, and dignity of a Sundanese bride. Flowers are set strategically on the hair bun, forming a butterfly pattern that represent the bride’s loyalty to the groom. Five kembang goyang floral headpieces are placed facing forward, while two others face backward so that the bride will look beautiful from all sides. Last but not least, a cluster of jasmines cascade down to the bride’s shoulders as a symbol of purity.
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