Monday's post was all about weddings in Fethiye - but weddings of the foreign variety; people from countries other than Turkey who decide they'd like to get married in Fethiye. Today's post is about our Turkish friends - Turkish friends from Fethiye who have opted to get married in Fethiye. Well, it's not such a bad choice is it?
A common question we get asked as expats living in Fethiye is, 'Have you ever been to a Turkish wedding?' Well, we've been to three and they've all been very similar but that doesn't mean we can write an all-knowing blog post about the details of 'the Turkish wedding.' For example, we've never been to a village wedding and I know they're very different to the ones we've been to.
With regards to the weddings we've been to, just as our friends in the UK plan and arrange their weddings to their own taste and add their own little extras, so our friends in Fethiye have done the same. So, this post is only about the Turkish weddings we have attended.
Meze and wine at a recent Turkish weddingIn the Turkish weddings we have been invited to, the bride and groom have already attended a civil ceremony a few days earlier (in one case, 6 weeks earlier) so they're actually already legally married when the wedding party takes place. But, it's the wedding party where the bride and groom wear their full wedding regalia of suit for the guy and white wedding dress for the lady.
The Wedding Party
When our friends got married three years ago, they told us it was going to be a small wedding. 'Only 500 people,' they said.
'Only 500?' we said. Wow. That would be a huge wedding in the UK. Immediate family, cousins, second cousins, cousins twice-removed, friends - the Turkish wedding tends to be a large affair and, at a guess, the wedding we went to at the weekend at the weekend probably had around 1,000 guests - all of whom were fed and watered in a pretty impressive logistical operation.
And of course, rakıAnd for those that wanted it, as you can see in the photos, there was wine and rakı on offer. The serving of alcohol is not usual at a Turkish wedding but our friends enjoy a tipple so all the weddings we have attended have had alcohol available.
Not that alcohol is needed to encourage wedding attendees to get onto the dance floor and take full part in the festivities. The live band sing the night away, the bride and groom dance the night away...and all the guests dance the night away while a drummer weaves his way around the dance floor beating out rhythms to keep the dancing in check. Attendees of a non-Turkish background - as in, us! - are very grateful for the afore mentioned drummer. He does help us to keep to the non-Western beat and prevent us from looking like complete idiots!
The Wedding Venue
One thousand guests is a lot of people so how on earth do people choose their wedding venue? We've been to weddings in the grounds of larger hotels and the one we attended at the weekend was in a school yard. This is perfectly normal in Fethiye. If you walk around the streets during the summer evenings, don't be surprised to see school yards filled with hundreds of plastic chairs and tables, set up with various colourful bows and frills attached to them. Some couples also have their wedding party in the street where their family live, closing the road by filling it with plastic chairs.
The Wedding Cake
Oh my! Well, if you have to feed so many guests, you need a pretty big wedding cake to feed them with.
Turkish wedding cakes are hugeThe Turkish wedding cake is brought out to a round of applause by the guests and it's not surprising. I don't envy the guys who have to wheel out these colossal constructions while the eyes of the guests and the bride and groom are upon them. I applaud them just because they manage to deliver it to the bride and groom without it teetering and tippling.
This is the biggest Turkish wedding cake we've seen - 10 layersThey're nervous moments for me and you can probably see why from these photos!
Well, should we ever get round to tying the knot ourselves, we're going to make sure we do it in Turkey. After the dancing and the cutting of the cake, the bride and groom will drape a red or white ribbon around their neck and the guests queue up to pin either pieces of gold or paper money to the ribbons. I rather like the idea of leaving at the end of the night with a nice little booty!