Malay Weddings: Pre-wedding Traditions


Living in a multiracial country like Malaysia means being able to experience more than just our own culture. These cultures, while being uniquely different, have one similarity – pre-wedding practices. Weddings are when we relive the traditions that matter most, the practices that make weddings timeless. Today, we will be walking you through significant Islamic marriage rites and the commonly practiced customs of Malay weddings.

Before every Malay wedding ceremony, the couple will have to go through the stages of merisik, meminang dan bertunang, akad nikah, and bersanding.


Merisik: Visit and Observe

Back when the practice of arranging marriages were common, this was the most crucial step. Merisik is when the family of the man pay a friendly visit to the family of the woman whom they have in mind as his potential bride. On top of knowing the woman and her family better, it is also to ensure that the woman is not already engaged, as Muslim men are not allowed to propose to another man’s fiancé.

Till today, Muslim families still find this pre-wedding custom relevant, but it is more of a formality instead of a prerequisite. Doing so implies that the Muslim man is ready to take the relationship to the next level and requires their blessings.


Meminang dan Bertunang: Proposal and Engagement

The proposal is next (meminang). An elder family member of the man’s family will pay a visit to the bride’s family to seek her hand in marriage. The bride will be given ample time to decide, as Malay culture teaches them to not rush into decisions when it comes to choosing a life partner.

Once accepted, both families will exchange betrothal gifts before the senior female member of the groom’s family presents the engagement ring to the bride. After that, the groom gifts the bride’s family with duit hantaran (bride price). Usually, a big feast will be held to proclaim and celebrate their engagement.


Akad Nikah: Solemnisation

Akad Nikah (Solemnisation) is a ceremony to hand the bride away. It is headed by a Wali, who is customarily the father of the bride. This matrimonial ritual is done in the presence of two witnesses and an Islamic official, a Kadi.

Before starting, the Kadi is to summon the bride and get her consensus for the marriage. Once she agrees, the prayer commences, followed by a sermon on marriage in Islam. The groom will then sign the marriage contract and read his vows. Shortly after, the groom will gift his wife-to-be Mas Kahwin (dowry), which will rightfully be hers and only hers. After a customary handshake between the groom and the Kadi, the Kadi will announce them as husband and wife.


Majlis Persandingan: Enthronement Ceremony

The enthronement ceremony takes place on the actual wedding day, which is usually one day after the solemnisation ceremony. During this special Malay wedding ceremony, a beautifully-decorated couch can be seen on top of an elevated platform. This is called the Pelamin, which is the centre piece of the ceremony.

The bride will be waiting on the Pelamin with her face hidden by a hand fan, held by her Mak Andam, a close female relative. The groom will have to complete a series of light-hearted and charming challenges prepared by the bride’s relatives and friends in order to reach his bride. A band of male musicians will escort the groom while singing various verses from the Qur’an. This is the Islamic way of seeking blessings for newlyweds. Once the groom reaches her bride, the guests will be invited to express their well-wishes.


Your wedding day will definitely be full of joy and laughter, especially when watching the enthronement ceremony challenges. However, planning for it is no easy task, and a professional and experienced Malay wedding planner isn’t easy to find either. Fortunately, Concorde Hotel Shah Alam’s wedding package has more than you need.