Princess bride! Crowds celebrate colorful royal Indonesian wedding

by J. Gordon Julien /  / Updated 
Princess Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hayu and her groom, KPH Notonegoro
Princess Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hayu and her groom, KPH Notonegoro, share a laugh during the wedding ritual at Kraton Place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.Ulet Ifansasti / Today

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A lavish three-day affair steeped in traditional rituals in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, was the final flourish to a 10-year romance between the fourth daughter of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X and her new husband, a United Nations worker stationed in New York.

Princess Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hayu, 29, also known as Hayu, married KPH Notonegoro, 39, known as Noto, from Mon., Oct. 21 through Wed., Oct. 23 in Indonesia’s center of Javanese art and culture. Twelve horse-drawn carriages brought them to the palace in a parade reminiscent of ancient celebrations, except for the thousands of iPhones held aloft to record the event. 

KPH Notonegoro and Gusti Kanjeng Ratu Hayu
The couple participate in a procession during the ceremony, in one of many rituals and costume changes over the course of the three-day event.Ulet Ifansasti / Today
Crowds gather on the street during the wedding ceremony
Throngs of well-wishers crowded the streets, taking photos of the horse-drawn carriages ferrying the couple to the royal palace.Ulet Ifansasti / Today

As part of the three-day affair, the parents, in an age-old ritual, bathed their children. Costume changes were plentiful; the bride and groom rode to the Kraton Palace in complementary blue velvet outfits, then changed into elaborately beaded costumes for the palace portion of the wedding. They wore black for the reception. The palace, a popular international tourist attraction and home of the royal family, is a complex of buildings filled with symbols of ancient beliefs and traditions. 

The pair attended the same high school 10 years apart and met on a school chat site. There, they discovered their mothers had been best friends from elementary to high school, according to the official wedding website for the Indonesian royal family. 

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A distinctly modern and well-traveled couple, their romance began in the United States. Despite years of living far apart, Internet and cell phone conversations kept it alive. 

Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X's fourth daughter Princess Hayu, 29, covered with a cape of flowers is bathed with water during a purification ritu...
Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengkubuwono X's fourth daughter Princess Hayu, 29, covered with a cape of flowers, is bathed with water during a purification ritual as part of the royal wedding ceremony.LALA / Today
KPH Notonegoro’s family joins in to cleanse him as part of the ‘Siraman’ bathing ritual, done before the formal wedding vows take place.
KPH Notonegoro’s family joins in to cleanse him as part of the bathing ritual, done before the formal wedding vows take place.Today

Princess Hayu attended Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. and has degrees in computer science and information systems management; Noto attended Washington State University’s School of Economic Sciences. He works in the U.N. Development Program, while she works for Tepas Tandhayekti, a division of the palace focused on information technology.

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Of his new bride, Noto said he is most captivated with her mind. “I am always impressed by her intelligence during our discussions and the way she gives me advice and input I never even thought about," he told kratonwedding.com. "It all puts me on an even keel to choose her as my lifemate.”

From Prince William and Kate Middleton to Prince Rainier II and Grace Kelly, commoners have married into royalty more often than you might think.


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