A big fat village wedding?

As much as I loved our wedding day back in April, I was relieved when it was all over. I no longer had to worry about the day going well, fitting into my dress, having my hair and makeup done, looking good for the photographs, socialising with the guests, being centre of attention… Since I only plan on getting married once in my lifetime, I never expected to be worrying about that all again so soon.

Now, 4.5 months later, Berkay’s family have decided that we need a village wedding party. Not a quiet, family get-together – a real, big, fat, Turkish, village wedding.

It’s normal in Turkey for the bride and groom to get married weeks or months before the big wedding party, so the fact that we’re having a 2nd wedding is not unusual, its the norm. Berkay’s close family came to our actual wedding and ceremony in Fethiye, but on their return to the village they felt a bit awkward when everyone asked when the ‘proper’ wedding was going to be, it’s not normal for them not to have a big village party so they were embarrassed that they hadn’t yet put on a big, loud, party for us in the village for everyone to come to…

So last week when I spoke to Berkay he told me that his family had called him begging for us to have a village wedding party. It seems to be more about the family showing off to the neighbours than a celebration for the bride and groom, but it’s their culture and it’s important to Berkay and his family so that’s what we’re doing.

As usual with Turkish things, it’s all last minute yet everyone is so laid back. Since Tuesday when I first heard about these new wedding plans, they’ve booked the village market place out for the 2nd October (I only land at Dalaman the day before….) they’ve found a hair and makeup lady, a drummer and music player, and sent out invites to people.

This is the part that terrifies me – Turkish village weddings involve hundreds, or thousands of people. They literally invite anyone they’ve ever met, anyone the family has ever met, even if the bride and groom have never met these people themselves. Berkay’s family are well known in the village as they have their own business selling animal feed, everyone in the village owns a farm so they have a lot of customers. They have sent invites out along with little tea-towels as it’s tradition to give out little gifts like that as invitations. They haven’t invited 100 people, not 500 people, not even 1000 people…they went to the local council offices, got a list of every person in the village and surrounding area and are delivering the invites out on motorbikes to EVERY SINGLE PERSON on the list, 5000 people. Five thousand people. FIVE.THOUSAND.PEOPLE…..

Let’s just let that sink in for a minute. Those 5000 invites don’t even include the people Berkay knows from Fethiye who might make the journey to the wedding… and a lot of the guests will never have even seen an English girl before, so I suspect even more people will come than usual just to be nosey! I don’t think I’ve met 5000 different people in my lifetime, I have 3-4 close friends, I keep myself to myself and I’m very shy. I get nervous around 5 strangers, let alone 5000 people who I’ve never met and can’t communicate with! It’s literally my worst nightmare come true, but hey, at least it’s an experience… what other ‘normal’ English girl can say 5000 people attended her 2nd wedding party? It will be a great story to tell the grandkids, right? I think I’m past the original ‘oh my God’ stage and now I’m in the ‘I have to roll with it and laugh or I’ll cry’ phase. (I say as I type this in the middle of having a mental breakdown…)

I land on the 1st October and will spend the afternoon rushing around going to Fethiye to try on a different wedding dress. I am taking my old one out with me, but it’s just been neatly cleaned and packed ready for storage and it seems such a shame to get it dirty again.. the problem is I’m too fat to be able to walk into a wedding dress shop in Turkey and pick one off the hanger to rent – Berkay has found one and reserved it but I don’t think it will fit.. so we’re going to try that the day I land and if all else fails, we’ll get the woman in the dress shop to show Berkay how to lace my original dress up. I have no idea how the women in his family are going to get me into that dress and lace it up correctly.

We’ll head to the village on Sunday 2nd, which is 4-5 hours away in a remote village an hour and half away from the nearest city of Denizli. During the day on the Sunday the family will be serving traditional Turkish food to everyone in the market place – on the menu will be dishes made from a few sheep from the family farm! They’ll lay out tables and chairs and have huge pots of food and bread for everyone and a steady flow of people turning up for food throughout the day. We’ll go for a couple of hours and then go back to his family’s house to get ready and go to the hairdresser… Berkay will go off and leave me with the women in his family. I can understand a bit of Turkish and usually can get the gist of the conversation, but village-speak is totally different, a whole different accent and dialect and I can’t understand or speak a word, so that will be interesting. Around 8pm we’ll be reunited and drive through the town in the car decorated with balloons, ribbon and flags and beep the horn to let everyone know about the wedding… then we’ll go to the market place and spend the night dancing. I only done one dance at our other wedding but I won’t be able to get away with that this time, not with potentially 5000 eyes watching! Drummers, musical instruments, the traditional Turkish music that sounds like a swarm of angry bees…and the traditional pinning on of gold coins and money.

I’m trying to think positive, but I’m absolutely dreading it…. as if I didn’t have enough things to worry about with the visa application and getting all that paperwork ready, I now have the stress of a big fat village wedding to add the to mix! I suspect I’ll be walking around in a daze with absolutely no clue what’s going on… but hey, it’s all part of the craziness fun that comes along with marrying a Turk eh?

3 weeks today … 

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15 comments

  1. Oh Danni….. I will pray for you.

    I wish I was coming to watch the whole event.

    Que sera sera. you will enjoy the whole day, I am sure of it, and of course Berkay will be happy, that his family are happy and he will be guiding you all the way.
    Good luck with the visa.
    Kind Regards
    Jan

  2. You will be alright you will have your husband by your side try not to get to stressed and enjoy the moment xx

  3. carol sole · · Reply

    It will be amazing what a memory to have enjoy and hope all goes well lots of love and best wishes to you both xxx

  4. Marlyn Merriman · · Reply

    I’m sure it will all go well and you’ll enjoy it on the day, it shows how much the family think of you! Just go with the flow and enjoy, you’re with the man you love so what can gô wrong xxoxx

  5. Sharon Hollister · · Reply

    Wow what an experience that will be, hope you enjoy it! Wishing you both a very Happy healthy long life together x

  6. Wow what a day to look forward to.Berkay will be so proud you have decided to have your 2 nd ceremony.have a wonderful day and good luck for the rest of your lives together hope the visa application goes through ok.love to you both….xxx

  7. Remember the Big, Fat, Turkish wedding is a right of passage for a Turkish Housewife. My tidbits of advice

    – eat. There’s never any food.
    – booze. Get it. Hide it. Consume it.
    – earplugs. That freaking music does my head in.
    – comfortable shoes. There will be dancing. Lots of dancing (oh and learn a few of the dances if you don’t know them as it will embarrass the family).

    And have the time of your life!!! You will have a ball!

  8. Janegundogan….. You are sooooooooooo hilarious.

    (this is keeping me going until your next blog!)
    waiting with coffeein hand.

  9. I was nervous about our wedding party too,but you’re gonna have a great time! We didn’t have 5000 people though(!),but the whole village came :p We live just outside of Dalaman 😉 Enjoy your wedding party! 🙂

  10. You will be just fine Danni embrace it and enjoy x x x

  11. Hello, I hope its okay to ask this but is your husband from a full-practising muslim family or non-practising? I read in one of your earlier blog posts that you are not religious yourself and was just wandering how you and Berkay were able to get married, as a lot of what I have read on the internet about relationships in Islam clearly states that it is forbidden for a Muslim to marry an atheist. I hope you dont mind me asking this question! Im just curious as Im an atheist myself and in a relationship with a Turkish Muslim too, we hope to get married someday but Im concerned that my lack of religion will be a problem so just wondering how you managed to get around that.

    1. Hi im sorry ive only just seen these comments from so long ago!They are muslim and traditional but its not an issue for us.. are you partners family really strict? x

  12. Oh, poor you! But I am sure it will turn out all right, a one of a kind life time experience! Looking forward to hearing all about it. We will all be with you there in spirit. Love your posts! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

  13. I got married in Pummukale, I was so nervous but loved every minute sounds like you did!

    1. Sounds lovely, I hated our village wedding lol 😦 x

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