Sealing their love, Malay style

Darna and Bernozzi (in maroon kebaya and baju melayu) with family and friends at their wedding in Bentong, Pahang earlier this month. — AZLINA ABDULLAH/The Star

WHEN the time came to tie the knot with his Malaysian sweetheart, American Jeremy Bernozzi chose to have a traditional Malay wedding, amid a simple yet elegant kampung-like forest setting.

Bernozzi, 44, said he never wanted a Western-style wedding so when planning for the “big day” with his bride, 43-year-old Darna Aminuddin from Kuala Lumpur, it was an easy decision to make.

“I wanted a Malay wedding and we found the perfect venue for it.

“Seven of my closest family and friends from the US are here to witness the ceremony,” he said after the event, which was attended by some 150 guests in Puncak Rimba, a luxury resort in Bentong, Pahang, on Aug 13.

Bernozzi donned a maroon baju melayu and Darna wore a matching kebaya with lace trimmings.

The couple met in Penang through mutual friends and had been in a long-distance relationship since 2015.

They joked about how they could have crossed each other’s paths much earlier – between 1999 and 2002 when Darna was studying and Bernozzi working in an adjacent building in Boston, US.

The Covid-19 pandemic brought the couple closer, as Bernozzi was in Malaysia when the movement control order (MCO) started on March 18, 2020. He was here until the end of that year.

The food and travel writer stayed with Darna’s family and made the most of his time during the lockdown, expanding his culinary repertoire with Malay cuisine.

“I learned how to make dishes like rendang and asam pedas, as well as desserts like kuih ketayap,” said Bernozzi, who is also a photographer.

Darna, who is a post-audio producer, said her family was lucky to have had a good cook with them during the MCO.

“Having worked in the food industry, he can cook a wide range of dishes. It is a wonder that none of us are obese, as he cooked a lot for us during that period.

“One of the many things that I like about him is that he adapts and appreciates Malay culture and Malaysian food,” said Darna.

Bernozzi observed that there was a real sense of diversity between Malaysia’s ethnic groups, as many more elements were retained and borrowed from one another.

On planning the wedding, Darna said it was relatively easy as the couple had both wanted a small one and were on the same page about the venue and theme.

“The only problem was the groom had difficulties getting into Malaysia from the US.

“He finally arrived here in December last year and we finalised everything within two months,” she said.

Though the newlyweds are still undecided about their long-term plans, Darna said they would for certain be indulging in travel and food.

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