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Monday January 19, 2009
By KEE HUA CHEE
SINGER Mawi’s wedding reception at the Palace of the Golden Horses was like a scene from the 1,001 Arabian Nights as fire-eaters, hula dancers and snake women welcomed the event’s 1,200 guests to the exotically lavish Middle Eastern setting.
Rumours swirled that Mawi was paid RM5.5mil by Astro for exclusive coverage rights, the catering bill was half a million ringgit, the staging of the event alone was RM700,000 and Ekin’s make-up artist was the same used by the Sultan of Brunei’s wife.
Most guests paid serious attention to the stipulations on the invitation card.
Beautifully dolled-up ladies from the glamourous world of entertainment came dressed to impress in stunning, Middle Eastern-inspired gowns.
Men arrived as Sheikhs, Bedouins, Tuaregs, Pharaohs, grand viziers while a few could pass off as Sinbad the Sailor or Ali Baba.
The only things missing were flying carpets and the roc but the night was magical enough.
Finally at 9pm, the bride and groom arrived by boat with Ekin’s face covered by a veil and showing only her sparkling eyes.
At the jetty, they boarded a carriage where the nervous white horse almost reared and tried to bolt away from the lights and music.
But all went well as its reins were tightly held by members of Mawi’s entourage.
Belly dancers led the way as the pair swanned onto the spectacular pelamin (wedding dais) as groomsmen scattered gold coins everywhere.
A mini-melee almost started as guests swooped to the floor to grab the gold coins before it was discovered they were merely chocolates in golden foil.
After the doa selamat, the couple were blessed by Tunku Bendahara of Kedah Datuk Seri Tunku Annuar Badlishah, Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar, Ekin’s parents, Mawi’s mother Ramlah Salman and a representative from Felda Taib Andak in Johor where Mawi hails from.
The bride was resplendent in a shimmery white gown with flowing train by Rizalman while the groom looked like Sinbad after winning the princess’s hand and the throne.
Gorgeous Anita Sarawak serenaded the newly weds with Selamat Pengantin Baru accompanied by dancers followed by long-haired Yasin who spent nine years in Mecca and was formerly with the nasyid group ‘Brothers’.
A special, rousing performance came from Mawi’s former colleagues — the finalists from Akademi Fantasia 3.
Mawi of course emerged triumphant in AF 3 which sealed his fame and fortune. Mila, the petite winner from Akademi Fantasia 5 which saw her making history as the first female winner, also sang. Riz and Heriza were the final act.
There was a touching moment when Mawi’s ex-fiancee Nordiana Naim and her husband Muhd Suhaimi Saat carrying their baby went to pay their respects to Mawi’s mother and congratulate Mawi. After their well-publicised split, Nordiana soon married the nasyid singer but remained on good terms with Mawi.
For the cake-cutting ceremony, Mawi changed into a western suit and Ekin into a red gown with a 4-metre train by Indonesian designer Yamin who also handled the interior design of the marquee.
The bridal cake was composed of what seemed like a series of tasselled cushions perched precariously atop each other. Mawi held Ekin’s chin tenderly as he fed her the cake.
She returned the favour and they wiped the crumbs off each other’s lips.
Mawi then gave a short speech but did not sing despite requests. Neither did he kiss the blushing bride.
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