-by Najiah Najib and Halim Said –
THE wedding reception of pop princess Siti Nurhaliza Tarudin and Datuk Khalid Mohamad Jiwa, billed the ?Wedding of the Year?, lived up to expectations.
The event, which was telecast ?live? over TV3, saw almost 3,000 guests, comprising royalty, political figures, celebrities as well as fans, thronging the main hall of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre last night.
True to the ?garden wedding? concept, the hall was spectacularly decked in fresh roses and white carnations, while white drapes and green creepers adorned the ceiling.
Guests arrived as early as 6pm while royal well-wishers, including Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah and Sultan of Terengganu Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin, arrived at 8.40pm.
The ceremony began at 9pm when the newly-weds made their way to the dais for the merenjis (blessing of bride and groom) ceremony.
First to bless the newly-weds was Sultan Ahmad Shah, followed by Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.
Khalid?s elder sister Zaiton Mohd Jiwa was next followed by the Yang diPertua of Sarawak, Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Ahmad Barieng, and his wife before the Yang diPertua of Malacca, Tun Khalil Yaakob and his wife took their turn.
Siti?s parents Tarudin Ismail and Siti Salmah Bachik gave their blessings after Khalid?s mother Siti Zainab Hanafi gave hers.
However, if anyone was expecting this to be a normal wedding, they would have been surprised when entertainers took the stage.
The performers included children?s dance troupe Swatari, singers Nash, Ezlynn, Too Phat, Ziana Zain, Datuk M. Daud Kilau, Nora, Indonesian diva Kris Dayanti and Cat (Siti?s protege from the TV3 talent show Mentor) on podiums which were set up on either side of the hall.
Following a change of clothes, the couple made their way out of the banquet hall to watch the video presentation of Siti?s journey as a singer, courtesy of TV3, followed by the cake-cutting ceremony.
While most were expecting the traditional speech from the newly-weds, they were surprised when Siti decided to take the show into her own hands.
Thanking the crowd, she then launched into a song, Cahaya Cinta, a song she composed for her ?suami tercinta? (beloved husband).
Later, Zaiton told The Malay Mail that Khalid had called her every half an hour before the wedding to check on the preparations.
?We had a lot of last-minute calls from people who wanted to attend the wedding, and Khalid insisted that we fit in everyone as he didn?t want anyone to be left out,? she said, adding that they had to make arrangements to accommodate an additional 500 seats.
Siti?s youngest brother, Mohd Hafiz Tarudin, 19, said he was happy for his sister and prays for her happiness.
When asked if he had a partner and if he was anywhere near to following his sister?s footsteps in tying the knot, he laughed and said, ?Who doesn?t have a partner these days? But at this point, I think I?ll worry about my studies first.?