Wedding fairs have always evoked images of cream lace, tulle, and organza; of white calla lilies and doves, of pastel-coloured macarons and a string quintet playing out their sombre rendition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
This year’s Wedding Romance Week, an annual wedding fair put together by Bella Donna Group and Grand Indonesia Shopping Town that took place between n April 4-7, has completely turned the tired and age-old “fairy princess bride” concept on its head by going with an unconventional circus theme. The week-long affair featuring forty-seven vendors (a meteoric rise from last year’s twenty-six!) is titled East Meets West, and it fully committed to its circus theme by opening the first day with jugglers, gymnasts, and clowns. While it was certainly a very unconventional take on the traditional wedding fair, it was at this point that I remembered I was, in fact, terrified of clowns.
VIP guests and the media were treated to canapés and an interview featuring four people who have put plenty of weight behind the show, now in its third year: Kantoro Permadi, Event & Promotion Manager of Grand Indonesia; Diany Pranata, head of Bella Donna Group; Bryan Tilaar, head of the Martha Tilaar Group; and Ivan Gunawan, home-grown designer and event partner. I tried my hardest to focus on the interview but kept getting distracted by how amazing Ms. Pranata looked in her truly East meets West-inspired dress by Ivan Gunawan: a red cap sleeve kebaya top lovingly sewn into a delicate, tulle-filled floral A-line skirt. Next to my interview notes, I wrote LOVE THE DRESS over and over. She reminded me of a modern-day Disney princess with her pixie haircut, standing out among a panel of men in crisp suits. She was especially endearing during her thank-you speech in which she profusely expressed her gratefulness for the popularity of the fair, and for support from her family (her aunt is beauty industry mogul Martha Tilaar).
LOVE THE DRESS.
When asked by reporters why the panel decided to go with a circus theme, Ms. Pranata explained that, “There is no such thing as a wedding trend. Weddings should be about the bride and groom and reflect their personalities.” She further divulged that while wedding were traditionally elegant, graceful affairs, she wanted to encourage brides-to-be that they could also be fun and fantastical, suggesting bold colours such as red, yellow, and fuchsia instead of traditional whites and creams.
When asked about his new collection, Ivan Gunawan divulged that he has opted to pair traditional West Sulawesi tenun with stretchy materials instead of classic organza and duchess satin to achieve a less heavy look to outfits while catering to a larger pool of consumers as the material is less expensive. He also insisted that it was still possible for fun to be injected into a traditional wedding, and when a reporter asked how to implement the circus theme to tradition, Mr. Gunawan incited laughter from the audience by replying: “We’re not trying to suggest that having a circus-themed wedding is the new trend! I’m not saying go out and have a Palembang circus theme wedding, but you should if that’s what you want.”
Outside, a seemingly endless row of vendors offering bridal dresses, men’s suits, and even souveneirs stretched from end to end. This was one-stop wedding shopping at its best.
Guests and media sat through a fashion show of twenty-two gorgeous dresses from eleven boutiques participating in the fair. Now, I’m not a particularly romantic girl who always dreamed of having the perfect wedding. I can’t stand The Notebook and have no plans to get hitched for a long time (sorry mom), but once I trick some poor guy into proposing, I wouldn’t mind walking down the aisle in any of the dresses that walked down the runway by Intan Avantie, Deden Siswanto, and House of Martha Tilaar. Check out this video of the fashion show that took place!