A wedding can be one of the most complicated events that you will ever have to organize. In Javanese tradition, the big day is a major cause of celebration for both extended families and their neighbors.
“Once in a lifetime” becomes a catchphrase for many future brides and bridegrooms, as they make meticulous arrangements for their wedding day. But the pressure for everything to be perfect can sometimes take away from the newlyweds’ enjoyment of the big day.
Roemah 7a is a wedding venue run by a young couple, Anthon Novianto and Dewi Syarah, who have anticipated this problem by providing a list of wedding organizers, photographers, caterers and decorators.
“Before, the bride- and the groom-to-be would come to us, looking lost about how they should organize their special day,” Dewi said. “Now, they can simply choose from our list of vendors.”
Located in a leafy residential area, Roemah 7a is designed like the home of a traditional Javanese noble family. A magnificent Joglo (traditional wooden Javanese house) stands by the terrace between a pair of stone gupala (mythical creatures that guard the entry of a house) on each side. A delman (traditional horse carriage) stands on the corner of the front lawn, accompanied by a pair of old cars, a three-wheeled Reliant Regal MK1 from 1953 and a Mazda R 360 from 1960.
The parking lot in front of the house can accommodate up to 40 cars. “For large weddings, we usually rent the vacant lot next door for the guests’ cars,” Dewi explained. In total, the venue can accommodate up to 600 people.
In the foyer stands a magnificent teak table topped with Italian marble, adorned with a fresh flower arrangement and old kerosene lamps.
The room also features a collection of old projectors for 8 millimeter, 16 millimeter and 35 millimeter films. “My dad used to play movies for my birthdays with these projectors when I was a little boy,” Anthon said.
On the right side of the foyer stand floor-to-ceiling cupboards featuring Anthon’s collections of Indonesian vintage comic books from the 1950s. Among his collections are “Si Buta dari Gua Hantu” (“The Blind Man from the Haunted Cave”), by Ganes T H, and “Jaka Sembung,” by Djair. The prize of his collection is the original manuscripts for a Medan comic book.
The dining room boasts of a long dining table made entirely of teak. An antique crystal chandelier casts a romantic yellowish light over the room. On a side table is a vintage Victrola phonograph from the 1920s, which Anthon said he “bought from an old man in Japan.”
One side of the wall features a brightly-colored 1950’s enamel signboard for Prijaji cigarettes, featuring a noble Javanese man smoking a cigarette, while the other side of the wall is decorated with dada peksi (long intricately-carved wooden beams often used for hanging crystal chandeliers).
“I salvaged them from ruined Joglo houses in Central Java,” Anthon said.
Wedding ceremonies usually take place in the spacious room at the back of the house. Adorned with an intricate teak panel from Demak, Central Java, and antique hand-crafted Javanese doors with a Loro Blonyo (a Javanese sculpture of a couple) standing in front of them, the room possesses a sacred and solemn ambience.
The homeowner’s collection of traditional weapons, such as kris, daggers and javelins from around the country, is also displayed in this room.
“In this room, the couples usually perform temu [a Javanese ceremony in which the bridegroom and his family meet with the bride and her family], ijab kabul [the marriage ceremony] and sungkeman [where the bride and the bridegroom ask both sets of parents for their blessings at the end of the wedding],” Dewi said.
On one of the walls is a wide teak carving depicting an episode in the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu epic.
Two bedrooms are also provided as dressing rooms for the bride and her bridesmaids. The larger one features Anthon’s collection of handmade Japanese dolls in glass boxes. The smaller one features an intricately hand-crafted daybed from Madura Island, East Java.
“The Chinese influence show in the dragon and phoenix-like patterns on the carvings,” Anthon said.
The room also boasts art deco furniture from the 1920s and jengki furniture from the 1950s.
Wedding receptions usually take place outdoors in the leafy backyard, which boasts bamboo shoots, a giant rambutan tree, frangipanis and a large traveller’s palm tree. A Joglo gazebo from Kudus, Central Java, functions as the center stage where the bride and groom are seated for the reception.
A tandem bicycle from the Netherlands and a pair of becaks (tricycle rickshaws) stand by lagoon pools, as if promising to take the newlyweds safely through their life journey together.
“The becaks are male and female,” Anthon said. Brought from Solo, Central Java, the steps of the becak wadon (female becak) is slightly lower than the becak lanang (male becak) to accommodate women wearing a traditional jarik (tight wraparound batik cloth).
“At Roemah 7a, we provide a unique ambience for your wedding,” Dewi said. “One that is homey and intimate, as well as rich in tradition and history.”
Jalan Lebak Bulus 1 no. 7A
Cilandak, South Jakarta
Tel. 021 751 2332