Now to continue the story. After the ceremony, we went to lunch and met with friends to carpool to the reception. The reception was at a beautiful venue on the outskirts of Istanbul. If you went outside and upstairs to the top, you could see the bridge between the European and Asian sides. Downstairs, we walked in to where dinner was going to be. (I felt quite special, because they were checking names of guests–not just everyone gets to go to to these things.) We walked into a large, square room lined with decorative mirrors. The tables were set with gold chargers and silverware and white plates and napkins, with pink and white flower centerpieces. Towards the front of the room was a dance floor, which seemed to be set in an intricate, tile pattern. Much to our pleasure, we were placed at the table closest to the dance floor. Everything was beautiful, and so far, not too unlike the Western weddings I’d attended.
But then the food came. We were served a five course meal. The appetizer was a sampler of a sort of bean soup, cheeses, various meat salads, a potato salad I was told is called “American” or “Russian” salad, and bread. We were then given a light greens salad, an entree of lamb and rice, a fruit platter, and then slices from the wedding cake for dessert. Unfortunately, I’m not a huge fan of lamb, but everything else was delicious. It wasn’t until we were served the entree that the bride and groom showed up and immediately went into their first dance together. After they finished dancing, they went around to all the tables to greet their guests. In the meantime, photographers went around each table, taking pictures and later printing and placing them in cardboard foldouts and selling them for about 10 or 20 Liras.
And then there was the dancing. Traditional dancing, modern dancing, group dancing, couple dancing. Lots and lots of dancing. They had a dj most of the night, but for a while, a band came in and joined the fun as well. I danced little while, always making sure to make my way back to my plate when a new course was served. Towards the end of the night, I was beginning to get tired (I had to get up for work at 5:30 the next morning). But this is not exactly the place where people let you rest. The groom dragged me to the floor for the bouquet toss–a tradition I don’t even participate in at Western weddings–and then there was more dancing.
All in all, it was an enriching experience and a great way to spend my first weekend in Istanbul.