Turkish Wedding

Turkey includes some types of marriage that are quite unusual for many other countries. Most of them are nowadays quite rare. They are mainly present in the countryside. Let's mention few examples. Weddings among cousins can happen. So called "sororat" is the wedding where a widower can marry the sister of his dead wife.

In Turkish cities most people find their spouse themselves. Still in many parts of Turkey the key role is the one of the "goeruecueluek" or wedding mediator. When a single man asks for his service he first organizes search for the suitable woman. The actual meetings are performed by women. After finding a potential bride her family collects information about the potential groom and his family.

When two families agree that the wedding should take place it is time for the joyous event called "soez kesme" ("agreement to marry"). Everything ends with an attaching of a ring and a scarf. This scarf is a present brought by the potential groom's family. A special cake is also brought. Each person gets a piece of it.

In some parts of the country potential groom does not come to this event. When he is there he kisses the hand of old people present at the event. The potential bride does the same.

The actual engagement ceremony is organized in the bride's home. A bride is dressed in a traditional engagement clothes. Her mother-in-law and groom's cousins give her a special jewelery called "taki".

She also gets various other presents like make-up, clothes, shoes etc. On the other side a groom gets engagement presents from bride's family. Apart from clothes, shoes and some other things he also gets a Muslim prayer rug.

Engagement rings are worn on the ring finger of the right hand. They are traditionally presented by the old man. In some parts of Turkey the groom is not present at the engagement ceremony. In this situation a woman from his family temporarily gets the ring instead of him.

All Turkish couples have to get married in the state office. The religious ceremony is optional and it is usually held couple of days before that civil one.

Turkish weddings traditionally last for three days - from Tuesday to Thursday or from Friday to Sunday. Weddings are often quite expensive. They are financed by the groom's family.


A bride and her family organize sort of exhibition of the objects included in her dowry. The objects are placed in the largest room in the house or apartment. The dowry usually consists of bed linen, cookware, small kitchen devices etc.

A Turkish version of the hen party is known as the "kına gecesi" ("henna night"). It is held in the night before the wedding day. Women of both families can participated in the party. The bride is wearing a garment called "bindallı". She is sitting on a chair with her head covered with a piece of red cloth. The traditional henna tattoo is applied on bride's hands. Songs about this tattoo are performed too.

The whole event combines joy and sadness. A bride is going to get married but also she is going to leave her home. In some parts of the country there are stag parties too.

What follows is the event called "gelin alma" or "fetching the bride". People first go to the bride's home. The bridal procession created there moves then to the groom's home. Musicians performing on drums and pipes accompany the procession. The bride wears a red "bekaret kuşağı" ("maidenhood belt") over her wedding dress.

When everyone arrives at the groom's house they are welcomed by the groom's mother. She gives the bride a present. Then the groom arrives to fetch his bride. There is more. There is a boy with a Turkish flag standing at the front door. After some money is given to the boy the couple can finally enter the house.

As most people in Turkey are Muslims the couple gets married in a religious ceremony performed by the local imam. In case of a divorce the bride gets the "mehir". It usually includes some jewelery or golden coins. These things give her some sort of temporary financial security.

After the wedding ceremony the couple traditionally goes to the nuptial room called "gerdek". The groom says a prayer and then removes a veil from the bride's head. They have a meal made by the members of the bride's family.

Wedding reception is usually organized in the wedding hall. Each guest who arrives there has to give some money, golden coins or jewelery to the newly weds. There are special golden coins made for the occasion. They are attached to a small piece of red silk.

One of dances that can be seen at the Turkish wedding reception is the "dance of the fathers". Both bride's and groom's father dance together and people throw banknotes and golden coins towards them.

In central Anatolia and in the south of Turkey the couple often dances "kaşık oyunu" ("spoon dance"). A dancer holds two wooden spoons in each hand. During dance a clicking sound is created. The newlyweds cut the wedding cake together. Slices are shared among the guests.


One of the most famous dishes consumed at the wedding reception in Turkey is "düğün çorbası" ("wedding soup"). This soup is made of mutton or lamb. It is especially famous in Anatolia.


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"due?uen ?orbas?" ("wedding soup") (photo by E4024)


Turkish wedding (photo by Pi Istv?n T?th)