Johor royal wedding: Marriage ceremony steeped in custom

A Rolls-Royce belonging to the Sultan entering Istana Bukit Serene, the official residence of the royal family, for the wedding ceremony, which was steeped in traditional Malay customs. Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim and groom Dennis Muhamm
Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim and groom Dennis Muhammad Abdullah receiving blessings from Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar at the sitting-in-state ceremony at Istana Besar yesterday.PHOTO: ROYAL PRESS OFFICE, JOHOR

Johor Sultan's only daughter marries Dutchman in traditional ceremony attended by family, close friends

JOHOR BARU • Johor Princess Tunku Tun Aminah Sultan Ibrahim and Dutch-born Dennis Muhammad Abdullah were dressed in resplendent Johor Malay baju as they wed yesterday at Istana Bukit Serene, the official residence of the royal family.

The ceremony, steeped in traditional Malay custom, was witnessed by Johor Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar and his consort Raja Zarith Sofiah Idris Shah, close family members and friends, said a statement from the Royal Press Office (RPO) of the Johor Palace.

Also present were the groom's parents Martin and Henriette Verbaas, his brother and sister, as well as close family friends who had flown in from the Netherlands.

Tunku Aminah, 31, is the second of six siblings, and the only daughter of the Johor ruler and Permaisuri Johor Raja Zarith. Tunku Aminah is president of the Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) Football Club, which is owned by her brother, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim.

Mr Dennis Muhammad, 28, was born Dennis Verbaas in Lisse, a town near Amsterdam. He converted to Islam in May 2015.

He was a semi-professional footballer and a former marketing manager of Singapore's Tampines Rovers Football Club. He also previously served as manager of the JDT Concept Store and Cafe.


Mr Dennis Muhammad (above) reciting his marriage vows in front of Johor Mufti Muhammad Tahrir Shamsudin before he was led to a special room on the first floor of Istana Bukit Serene, the official residence of the royal family, where his bride was waiting for the ring-placing ceremony. PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/ ROYAL PRESS OFFICE, JOHOR

 

He now works with a property developer in Johor.

At the ceremony yesterday, Mr Dennis Muhammad, who wore a traditional white Johor baju and donned a black Malay songkok on his head, solemnly uttered his wedding vows before Johor Mufti Muhammad Tahrir Shamsudin.

The groom was then led to a special room on the first floor of the palace, where his bride was waiting, for the ring-placing ceremony.

Tunku Aminah was dressed in a traditional Johor baju kurung with a white selendang, or head covering.


Mr Dennis Muhammad reciting his marriage vows in front of Johor Mufti Muhammad Tahrir Shamsudin before he was led to a special room on the first floor of Istana Bukit Serene, the official residence of the royal family, where his bride was waiting for the ring-placing ceremony (above). PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE PHOTO: ROYAL PRESS OFFICE, JOHOR

In keeping with Malay wedding custom, the groom gave her a mas kahwin, or dowry - a sum of RM22.50 (S$7.15) - the RPO statement said.

The couple then paid their respects by kissing the hands of their respective parents, as well as their aunts and uncles, in the main lobby of the two-storey palace.


The newlyweds arriving for the sitting-in-state. Tunku Aminah was dressed in a Johor baju kurung, while the groom wore a baju melayu with a gold-embroidered sampin around the waist. PHOTO: ROYAL PRESS OFFICE, JOHOR

The families of the bride and groom had earlier exchanged wedding gifts, with trays laden with the items carried into the hall by soldiers of the Johor Military Force, the security unit under the Sultan.

The gifts from the Johor royal family to the groom included a copy of the Quran, a prayer mat, a gold ring and a set of traditional Malay men's shirt and trousers with sampin, a special cloth worn around a man's waist.


A Rolls-Royce belonging to the Sultan entering Istana Bukit Serene, the official residence of the royal family, for the wedding ceremony, which was steeped in traditional Malay customs. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

 

In the evening, the couple participated in the Istiadat Bersanding (sitting-in-state) ceremony inside the Throne Room of Istana Besar, which was restricted to only royalty and very important guests.

They included representatives from the Pahang, Perak and Selangor royal families; Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah and Queen Saleha; Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor; and Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

The newlyweds later made their first public appearance as husband and wife on the steps of Istana Besar, or the Grand Palace, smiling and waving at the 1,200 guests gathered at the garden terrace for the wedding reception.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2017, with the headline 'Marriage ceremony steeped in custom'. Print Edition | Subscribe