The Big Turkish WeddingApril 7 in Turkey
So the day has arrived and I don’t even know what time the wedding is so hopefully Mustafa hasn’t forgotten about me. I take breakfast early and make my way to the shop downstairs to buy a throw top put over my shoulders and my head if needed. I should have done this yesterday as they only have carvalla or Chanel cashmere and silk and they want 100 euros for it. I pretend he hasn’t the colour I want. I google map for a local mall and it informs me there’s one 15 minutes away so map in hand I set off. The route takes me a strange way and I end up walking through a factory yard with some unforgiving stairs but carry on with a smile on my face saying marahaba which means hello. Eventually I arrive at the destination but no mall in sight just a few random local shops, but there is one that sells scarves/ throws and they’re only 2 quid. I purchase a couple it would be rude not to and make my way back to the hotel when Mustafa calls to say his friend Ahmet will pick me up at 2pm I jump in the shower and get myself ready a little unsure what I’m wearing is correct but I look ok and I’ll worry about it when I need to . Ahmet is fashionably late but that’s just the way it is here due to the traffic. Thankfully Ahmet speaks fluent English and when we arrive at the home it’s pandemonium so he suggests going for tea. We sit in a little bar around the corner and to my surprise a short while after Mustafa walks in looking petrified. I give him a mummy cuddle and tell him to take deep breaths I even offer him a cigarette but he refuses. As he disappears in the distance we can hear the sound of drums and after finishing our tea we make our way down to the house. There is quite a crowd gathered and I’m introduced to multiple members of the family, how I’m going to remember their names is beyond me.
The drums start getting louder and as they come up the hill they are followed by traditional Turkish dancers who are similar to the English version of Morris dancers, they dance in the street to the music being played by the pope and drums and have a hankerchief/cloth in their hand. The music and the drums play for about 10 minutes before Mustafa suddenly appears being driven bu his brother. Everyone runs to their cars and we all follow in a large procession heading towards Elifs house. All the cars are adorned with a ribbon and has we drive through the streets everyone beeps their horns intermittently for the whole 15 minute journey. We arrive at Elifs who conveniently lives opposite a mosque. Before collecting his bride Mustafa and his male family head into the mosque to pray while we are entertained by the dancers. The boys and I hide around the corner so we can have a cigarette and after 30 minutes Mustafa is ready to take his bride.
The street is in chaos as people are hanging out of the tower building to catch a glimpse of the bird but the whole road is held up as the dancers continue to dance in the middle of the street. As they come down prayers are offered and were on the road again - convoy has nothing on a Turkish wedding. The traffic is really busy and it takes us over an hour before we actually arrive at the venue which is decorated by huge flower displays sent by multiple companies and banks which stand in the foyer as well as outside. The two sides of the family stand either side greeting the guests but the bride and groom are absent.
Ahmet has driven well and we are some of the first guests to arrive so we’re seated quite quickly in a room that must have taken so much to plan with over 25 pages of seating plans. All the names are in alphabetical order and although I’m not meant to be with Ahmed and Mohammed they tell me I should sit with them. We are all hungry and attack the bread rolls like we haven’t been fed for days.
The venue is breathtaking with tables beautifully decorated and in the centre of the room a platform on one side decorated with beautiful flowers two chairs and a table and stage on the other with a band playing turKish music, a huge boom video camera overlooks all the proceedings recording the images to screens throughout the room. A photographer moves throughout the room taking pictures. The starters are put out on the tables as the guests sit down as there are a lot of tables to cover it really is seamless. Mustafas dad takes to the stage and gives the only speech of the night the lights go down and the music plays and the bride and groom enter the room pyrotechnic fountains start flowing and the couple make theyre way down the red carpet. Taking a seat at they’re table they sign a register and take they’re vows. Once all the formal stuff is done it’s time for the photos. They both look really tired at this point but still have so much to do as they go around every table to greet their guests everybody wants a picture and a little chat and after an hour or more they are still meeting and greeting, her bridesmaid follows behind with a basket in which gold coins with red ribbons attached are placed in the basket which was traditional as the men who went to war if anything happened to them the bride had the gold to take care of her financially, There is no dancing until the very end of the night when various groups of men took to the stage from very young to very old dancing to each song slowly first then building with speed at each verse. It’s time to head back and after saying goodbye to the remaining guests the boys drop me to my hotel .Read more