The Indonesian city of Solo and many parts of the country came to a standstill for more than an hour to witness President Joko Widodo marry off his only daughter Kahiyang Ayu to property firm director Bobby Nasution.
More than 7,000 guests, comprising the who’s who of Indonesia, attended the akad nikah, an Islamic solemnisation ceremony yesterday, while millions tuned in to the live broadcast of the event on TV.
In addition to the official guests, thousands of ordinary people from Solo, as well as many who travelled from the capital Jakarta, Bandung, in West Java, and elsewhere were at the grand Graha Saba Buana hall, hoping to join the celebrations.
Among the guests were Singapore’s Ambassador to Indonesia Anil Kumar Nayar and his wife Peck See, Mr Joko’s Cabinet members, former presidents Megawati Sukarnoputri and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, as well as the late former president Abdurrahman Wahid’s wife Sinta Nuriyah.
The wedding guests also included religious leaders and politicians such as House Speaker Setya Novanto, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, Nasdem Party chief Surya Paloh, businessman Chairul Tandjung and celebrity chef Arnold Poernomo.
Mr Joko’s family members were dressed in traditional Javanese formal wear as they welcomed guests. Mr Joko and his sons Gibran Rakabuming Raka, 29, and Kaesang Pangarep, 22, wore “beskap” shirts while Mr Joko’s wife Iriana wore a kebaya dress. The bride and groom arrived separately in horse-drawn carriages, accompanied by presidential bodyguards.
Security was tight, with about 5,500 police officers and soldiers deployed around the city. That was where the other celebrations and traditional ceremonies leading up to yesterday’s main event were held, starting at the weekend.
Ms Kahiyang and Mr Bobby, both 26, were officially married at 9am local time, with Vice-President Jusuf Kalla acting as the witness for the bride. Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Darmin Nasution was the witness for the groom.
Mr Joko, speaking after the ceremony, said: “Thank you sirs, madams, relatives and friends, for your prayers and blessings for the wedding of Kahiyang Ayu and Muhammad Bobby Afif Nasution. May Allah be pleased with our prayers.”
His predecessor, Dr Yudhoyono, who was at the wedding with his son Agus, praised the way local traditions were celebrated during the marriage ceremony. “This is a way to cherish and respect our culture,” he told reporters.
“Congratulations to the bride and groom, may they be together for eternity and be blessed, and congratulations to Pak Jokowi and Ibu Iriana,” he added.
The couple first met in 2015, when they were in graduate school at the Bogor Agricultural University in Bogor, West Java. They are said to have dated for about a year.
Ms Kahiyang is Mr Joko’s middle child while Mr Bobby, who is of Batak descent, is the son of the late Erwin Nasution. The former director of the state-owned plantation firm Perkebunan Nusantara IV died in January.
The Bataks are an ethnic group predominantly from North Sumatra. The couple will travel to Mr Bobby’s home town in the provincial capital Medan later this month for celebrations.
Yesterday’s nuptials dominated social media in the country, with many tweets, posts, videos and photos going viral with the hashtag #jokowimantu. Mantu is slang for acquiring an in-law, in this case, Mr Joko’s new son-in-law.