Wanting to fully and quickly immerse myself in Turkish culture, I attended a Turkish wedding this past weekend. The wedding was for a college friend of my roommate’s and she was nice enough to invit me as well. I’ve only attended American weddings until this point and was excited to see how things were different.
We went to the henna night on Friday, which my roommate explained is similar to a Bachelorette party, though slightly less risque. It was in an upstairs event room of a swanky hotel about 15 minutes from us. Though I’d never met any of the people before, everyone was incredibly nice and welcoming. I tried my limited Turkish and if I didn’t speak too much, most people assumed I was Turkish. The first, and most major difference, I noticed, was that while there were mostly just women there (friends and family members), the groom and the bride’s father were there as well. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me rewind.
We took the minibus to a nearby neighborhood and were one of the first ones to arrive. After greeting the groom, the bride, and the bride’s sister, we picked a table and sat down while other guests trickled in. And though I shook most people’s hands when first meeting them, I had to get used to kissing them on each cheek. My British grandmother always does this, but it’s not something I’ve grown to expect from strangers. Kiss, kiss, “Merhaba.” Yes, nice to meet you too. Handshake, kiss, kiss, “Merhaba.”