December 20, 2022  •  8min read

Traditional Javanese Wedding Procession – A Complete Guide

javanese wedding guideline - photo by Ditta Alfianto

If we have to choose 3 words that describe a traditional Javanese wedding ceremony, they would be – traditional, beautiful and fragrant. A traditional Javanese wedding consists of several processions, and every step works towards creating a new bond between two families. 

The Javanese couples and their families prepare the special ceremonies carefully as it entails many details and steps, no matter which tradition they’ve chosen. They usually form a small wedding committee consisting of close relatives and friends of both families. The size depends on how big the celebration will be and how many guests will be invited. 

In a Javanese society, a wedding ceremony is the most important event and reflects the social status of the families. This is why families sometimes borrow funds to make grand celebrations for their children’s weddings. 

The role of a Pemaes, a traditional make-up artist who will lead the ceremony, is crucial in any Javanese wedding. She won’t only take care of the makeup and the bride and groom’s attire but also the offerings required and the different ceremonies during the special day. 

A Javanese wedding has several variations, depending on the couple’s customs and social status. The wedding rituals include Siraman, Midodareni, Peningsetan, Ijab (for Muslim couples) or wedding sacrament (for Christian couples). 

Need a Professional Wedding Planner?

"(Required)" indicates required fields

✓ Valid number ✕ Invalid number

"(Required)" indicates required fields

✓ Valid number ✕ Invalid number


The word ‘siraman’ is derived from the Javanese language ‘siram’, which translates to ‘take a bath.’ A Javanese wedding ritual means cleaning the couple (their bodies and souls). The Siraman ceremony is usually organized and performed in the afternoon, the day before the Ijab rituals. 

The Siraman ceremony for the bride-to-be takes place in her parent’s house. There’s a limit to the number of people that give this ritual, usually only up to Deven people. 


The name of this ritual is derived from the Javanese word ‘Widodari’, which means goddess. The bride-to-be turns into a beautiful goddess the evening before the wedding. The bride has to stay in her room from the afternoon until midnight and is accompanied by elder women who will give her useful life tips. 

The groom’s family and her close friends should also visit her once in a while (all must be women). This is also the last time the bride has dinner with her parents, as she will be taken by her husband the next day. 


‘Srah-srahan’ or ‘Peningset’ comes from the word ‘singset’, which means ‘to tie up.’ This procession is usually conducted after or during Midoderani. During this time, the groom’s families visit the bride’s family to bring some gifts, such as Suruh Ayu (beautiful betel leaves), some batik cloths, kebaya and makeup, waist sash for women, fruits, staple fruit (rice, tea, sugar, cooking oil, etc), and ring sets for the couple. 

The groom cannot visit the bride in the beautifully decorated wedding room. He would later arrive with his family but isn’t allowed to enter the bride’s house. He must sit on the house’s veranda with friends and relatives and isn’t allowed to eat until midnight. After his family leaves the house, the groom is then allowed to enter the bride’s house, but not the wedding room. 

Ijab Kabul

The Ijab ceremony is a crucial step for legalizing marriage and the implementation is based on the couple’s religion. A ‘sajen’, which consists of flowers and food, is placed at the place of the Ijab. 

The bride wears traditional Javanese makeup and ‘gelungan’, which is a special hair bun. She also wears golden pieces of jewelry and a special kebaya (traditional Javanese women’s clothes) for a wedding. The groom also needs to wear a special traditional outfit for this ceremony. 


‘Panggih’ or ‘temu’ is Javanese for ‘meeting.’ This is the moment when the bride and groom finally meet each other. The meeting is accompanied by traditional gamelan sounds played in front of the bride’s house. 

There are many processions in Panggih, which start with the bride coming out of the bridal room, followed by rituals that involve both the bride and groom. Then ends with the couple asking for their parent’s blessings. Below are the details of each procession:

1. Balangan Suruh

This is when the bride walks out of the bridal room, accompanied by two older women. Her parents and close relatives also follow behind her. 

The bride meets the groom. And when they’re a distance away, they start throwing seven bundles of betel leaves with lime inside tied with white yarn to each other. 

2. Wiji Daji

The groom cracks a chicken egg with his right foot and the bride washes his foot with water mixed with various flowers. This shows that the groom is ready to become a father and the head of the family, with the bride faithfully supporting him. 

3. Kacar Kucur

The couple holds each other with their pinky finger with the help of the Pemaes. Here, the groom offers soybeans, paddy rice, peanuts, corn, herbs, yellow rice and coins of different values to the bride. 

This symbolizes that the husband should offer his income to his wife, and the bride should be a loyal and caring housewife. 

4. Dahar Klimah or Dahar Kembul

The wedding couple feeds each other. The Pemaes offer the bride a plate consisting of yellow rice, fried eggs, tempe, soybean and fried bean. The groom makes up to three small balls of rice with his right hand and feeds it to the bride. After she has eaten, she’ll do the same for the bridegroom. Finally, they’ll drink sweet tea together. After the procession, the wedding reception will follow.


A traditional Javanese wedding ceremony is truly a magical moment. It’s a sacred time when two different persons from different families come together and tie in a sacred marriage bond. 

It’s also a symbol of a new life for the couple. And besides that, this Javanese wedding ritual is one way to preserve Indonesia’s rich culture.

Guntur author at Bali Wedding
Guntur has been writing tips and tricks for weddings in Bali since 2020. He has written everything from preparing a pre-wedding in Bali to the best wedding dress and makeup you should choose for a wedding in paradise.

Related Articles

Have to decide how your dream wedding will look like?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consetetur sadipscing elitr.