No, I'm not talking about mine. But rather about the one that I tagged along. No, party does not meant those funky fiesta function. Party as in a bunch of people getting together (like political party?). It was a Malay engagement party.
Generally, in Malay culture, there are a few 'steps' to take before actually getting hitched. The first is being 'merisik' (literally translates into 'spying'), followed by 'bertunang' (engagement), then 'akad nikah' (solemnization), and 'bersanding' (very much like wedding reception).
In the 'merisik', family member from the male side would visit the girl's family house. The family member(s) could be the guy's parents or uncle and aunt. As the name suggest, it is very much like a spying mission. The male family would 'attempt' to investigate the girl. Main objective is to find out whether the girl is suitable match for the guy. Typically, a ring called 'cincin tanda' (loosely translated into 'marking ring') would be given to girl's family. If the girl agrees to marry the guy, she keeps the ring. Otherwise the ring is return as soon as possible. The ring is sort a marking to tell the rest of the village that someone will send an engagement party.
The guy then send an engagement party to the girl's house. The party would be bringing gift that might be use for the impending marriage. The girl's family would prepare gift as a 'reply'. the During this ceremony, a spoke person from the both family would discuss and 'negotiate' almost all things related to the pending marriage. This include the 'term and condition' of the engagement (i.e. what to do if either side to break the engagement, how long the engagement, etc.). Also discussed things related to the pending marriage.
However, since the two family are from different part of the country the 'merisik' was not done. The guy is from west coast of peninsular Malaysia, while the girl is from east coast of peninsular Malaysia. It would be kind of costly to make the trip twice. Plus, the two love birds already know each other. So after the negotiation, typically, a female member's (mom/aunt/grandma) of the guy family would put the 'cincin tunang' on the girl's finger. The girl was calm when the guy's grandma put on the ring. The guy, however, made a suprise. He bought two rings, one for the supposedly 'cincin tanda' and another for the 'cincin tunang'. So, when the guy's mom came up to her, she was a bit shaken.
'Akad nikah' and 'bersanding' is beyond the scope of this entry. Maybe when it happened, I'll blog about it.