family and sister’s waterfall wedding

I have always been inspired by the people around me and that are closed to me; my sister, Asri Saraswati and her husband, Andhika Mahardhika is no exception.  Asri and Dhika met through Indonesia Mengajar – a program where they recruit top new or recent graduates to be sent to dedicate their one full year teaching in some of the most remote areas across Indonesia. My sister, Asri was sent to Muara Enim in South Sumatra to teach basic elementary school subjects while Dhika also went through his teaching journey in North Sumatra.  Mind you that most of these remote areas doesn’t have any electricity and in drought season, clean running water often are not available. During her placement, Asri shared her ups and downs and she, every now and then sent me beautiful photos of her surroundings, the life with the school-aged children she taught.  Fast forwarding to today, Asri and Dhika has founded  Agradaya- a social enterprise working with local farmers in the area of Sendangrejo, Sleman Jogyakarta to better their working condition. Agradaya connects the city directly to the farmers providing urbanites with high quality, small holder, organic ingredients. Agradaya actively collborates with fellow young farmers in Jogyakarta; together, they have been doing an extensive research for building an agricultural system that are environmentally sound.

After Indonesia Mengajar, my sister worked for Toraja Melo and Dhika was also doing his full-time job with Samsung before finally they found Agradaya together with two other fellow Indoensia Mengajar participants. Since the start of Agradaya, their diet has changed tremendously and I was influenced a lot by the information they  found in the field.  We eat more of the plant-based diet than anything because some of the findings that they encountered as they work with the local farmers. I was so thrilled when they decided to went ahead to tie the knot. When we brainstorm ideas on how they want they wedding to be, I knew that the way food is done has to be the most important and thoughtful element of the ceremony. Asri was initially want to do their wedding ceremony at the rice field; since that was the closest to her and Dhika’s heart. But when we were pitching this idea to the farmers – they said that the ceremony could disturb farmer’s activities when it comes to harvesting their crops. My dad proposed the waterfall as the alternate location. Waterfall is another important landscape in the family. Our parents has been building a micro-hydro electric plant for a living  using turbines that generates electricity from running water.

The wedding ceremony and vow exchange was held in the morning and continued by reception at lunch time – the food during this afternoon celebration is put together by Ibu-ibu PKK,  local women’s organization of Desa Panaruban where the weekend house that my sister and I grew up located. They have prepared all the dishes for the guests using the most immediate ingredients found in Desa Panaruban. The event it self run in a two-day stretch. The Javanese tradition requires the bride and groom to go through a set of rituals before the actual ceremony day. Ibu-ibu PKK was cooking for both days. The youth in the village of Panaruban was participating in this festivity. Most of them are students in hospitality major and were in charge for making sure that the guests are welcomed.

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