MORE than 10,000 wedding guests gathered expectantly at the Balik Pulau Sports Complex in Penang to await the arrival of 18 Muslim couples who tied the knot in a mass wedding ceremony.
The couples, who went through the akad nikah a day earlier, arrived on the Penang Hop-On Hop-Off Bus in full regalia for their Walimatulurus Perdana 2015 wedding banquet.
A loud roar arose from the crowd when the double-decker pulled up at the venue with the newlyweds sitting on the open deck waving at them.
The organising committee and a kompang troupe greeted the couples as they alighted.
The couples also watched a silat demonstration before walking down the red carpet into the hall through a beautifully decorated arch at the entrance.
Newlyweds Mohd Hafiz Azizan, 29, and Norhidayah Che Din, 28, found the ceremony exciting.
“We wanted a private ceremony but were convinced by my parents to join in the mass wedding,” said Norhidayah, who is a reporter with a Malay daily in Kuala Lumpur while Hafiz runs his own business.
“We found the ceremony to be cost-effective as we needed to fork out only RM1,000.
“We paid only for our clothes and jewellery,” added Hafiz.
Production operators Mohamed Hisyam Ismail, 25, and Nurul Fatin Abdul Razak, 22, said they opted for the mass wedding as they could not afford the huge expenses of a private ceremony.
“We discussed with our parents and agreed that it would be a good idea to join in the ceremony.
“We were pleasantly surprised to find such a warm welcome at the sports complex,” said Nurul Fatin.
“We decided to get married after dating for three years, and this ceremony helped us bring down the wedding cost,” said Mohamed Hisyam.
Ceremony director Mohd Tuah Ismail, who is the Pulau Betong PKR coordinator, said it was a joyful event for the couples.
“This is the first time the people in Balik Pulau have seen such a ceremony, and the crowd today consisted of the parents and relatives of the newlyweds and community members in Balik Pulau,” he said.
The event was organised by Mohd Tuah and Penang municipal councillor Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik, and supported by the state Islamic Religious Council.
Also present at the ceremony were PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon.