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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Expensive Wedding: Sultan of Brunei celebrates marriage of daughter, 32, with spectacular ceremony straight out of Arabian Nights

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Princess Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah

The daughter of the Sultan of Brunei, one of the world's wealthiest men, wed groom Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini today in a dazzling ceremony at the monarch's 1,700-room palace.
Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah, 32, the fifth child of the Sultan and his wife, Queen Saleha, and her groom Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini, 29, exchanged their vows this afternoon in front of scores of gathered family and friends, royals and international dignitaries.
Both the bride and groom work in Governmental roles as employees of the Sultan of Brunei, with Hafizah, who has a degree in business administration, working as an officer in the finance ministry, and Ruzaini a civil servant in the Prime Minister's office.
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The cost of clothing for such a series of events is enormous. Here, the groom, Pengiran Haji Muhammad Ruzaini, wears a formal outfit that Tiampo says "cost $10,000, off-the-cuff." The fabric, she says, appears to be pineapple fiber woven with golden thread. "The pineapple fibers are a bit sheer," she says, "and in warmer climates people want to wear something that's cool but formal. With the gold thread it would be in the hundreds of dollars a yard."

The Sultan is Prime Minister of the small oil-rich Muslim sultanate that has been governed for 600 years by the same royal family, and also holds the roles of finance and defence minister.
The sultan has 12 children, five sons and seven daughters, from his three marriages, and the wedding is the first involving one of the sultan’s children since 2007.
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The princess's dress in this photo, Tiampo says, could cost around $20,000. Considering that the bride will change outfits around three times a day during the week of ceremonies, that could be up to $420,000 in wardrobe. This dress uses around 20 yards of custom, elaborately beaded lace. The lace alone would cost between $100 and $200 a yard and the fabric appears to be custom dyed.

Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei prepared to give his daughter away in a lavish ceremony yesterday, which saw the family attend a service at the Throne Hall of Istana Nurul Iman palace in Brunei yesterday.
The couple then exchanged their vows in front of some the most powerful people in the region including Prime Minister Najib Razak of neighbouring Malaysia.
The couple will now be officially presented to the royal court in an elaborate ceremony on Sunday that marks the climax of more than a week of wedding-related festivities.
Southeast Asian leaders and foreign royalty are expected to be among the guests at a lavish royal banquet in honour of the newlyweds in the Islamic sultanate on Sunday night, hosted by the bride’s father, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, 66.
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Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah, right, and Queen Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha at the pre-wedding ceremony yesterday
This week’s festivities have included nightly vigils at the palace to bless the couple, but the monarchy will forgo a traditional public procession through the capital in the royal family’s gilded Rolls Royce.
Such weddings are typically a rare source of excitement in Brunei, which is known for its slow pace of life and lack of nightlife.
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See all those guests? They're "a huge planning challenge to move around," Kalman said. Heads of state do not ride shuttle busses. If you needed only 1 car for every four guests, at a typical rate of $200 a car, it would be $100,000 in cars alone per event. The Sultan also might be sending private planes for important guests, which can cost about $10,000 per person.
The wedding of Crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah in 2004 attracted large crowds in the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, and a guest list of over 2,000 people including members of the royal families of Japan, Jordan, Britain and Malaysia.

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