Weddings!

This weekend was a busy one. On Saturday, my mum got married!
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It was all a bit of a whirlwind romance really.  She split up with her previous partner last year and moved into her own house, my uncle helped her move in with a few of his friends, one of them, unbeknownst to her, would be her future husband! He helped her move in, sent her a ‘new home’ card, got her number from my uncle and started talking. Two months later they told me they were getting married! Won’t lie, we all thought she was nuts. Bat-shit-crazy nuts. But so far, they’ve proved us all wrong, her new husband is lovely and I’ve never seen her so happy.. Who are we to judge? (:

Anyway, Saturday 29th March, 7 months after meeting, they officially tied the knot!

After doing some last minute wedding preparations and getting the venue ready for the reception, me and Berkay stayed at my Mum’s house on Friday night, along with my aunt.
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We had a 7am wake up call, ate breakfast and spent the next 4 hours getting ready, helped along with a glass of bucks fizz of course! Poor Berkay was stuck in a house of girls. Mum was having her hair done by her hairdresser, my aunts friend was doing her hair, and then there was me… Berkay was just sat downstairs flabbergasted by what was going on… so much so that he took himself off on a long walk around the town for an hour! Bless.
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Mum had 3 pairs of wedding shoes – decreasing in height and increasing in comfort! I also took along a ‘back-up’ bra, dress, shrug, and shoes, which quickly made an appearance after stuffing myself with the buffet! 

When he came back, all our hair was done and we were all fighting over the only mirror with good-lighting in the house so we could do our make-up.  “Hurry up and get ready Berkay!” we nagged…  “I’ll only take 10minutes”… he said. He wasn’t wrong either. He was all suited and booted within minutes while us 3 girls were all rushing around like sweaty headless chickens upstairs.
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The photographer arrived at 11, by then luckily we were all ready, and began a mammoth photo shoot in the garden, what a lovely sunny day it was, thank God! I can’t wait to see all the professional photos, she took hundreds! The only thing I don’t like is how posed they all were, “til your bouquet towards me a bit, move your hands down a bit, now stare up at that tree” – I’m not a fan of cheesy posed photos like that, candid shots are best, they capture the special moments best.

Berkay went off to the register office in a different car, and Mum, grandad, my aunt and I followed in the wedding car. We got stuck at every set of traffic lights, and the sunny warm weather meant the streets were full of people walking, so everyone kept stopping and pointing “oh look, someone’s getting married!”
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We got to the register office and had a 15 minute wait until the part I was dreading most – walking into the actual register office room. Anyone who knows me knows how shy I am, walking into that room with everyone turning to look is the worst thing I can imagine! I know everybody was looking at how lovely mum looked, rather than at us two bridesmaids following, but it was still very scary. Uhhhh.

I took my seat next to Berkay, and a few minutes and the wedding vows later, it was official, they were Mr & Mrs Gormley! It’s so weird now that mum has a different surname to me, even after her and dad divorced she still kept his name, so we’ve had the same name for as long as I can remember!  I was a witness and had to sign the book, so once again I had to stand at the front of the room of 70 people all watching… my worst nightmare!
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After all the necessary paperwork was completed, and marriage certifcate all signed and handed over, it was time to head outside for more photos! We were there for ages having lots of photos taken by the photographer, all 70 guests managed to squeeze in at one point. I’m sure the photographer got some nice shots.  After the photos were all done, it was time for the traditional confetti throwing, some people had bubbles to blow too –  the groom’s family couldn’t resist a little rendition of  ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ – most of them are West Ham fans!
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All us guests headed off to the reception venue, and waited at the bar for the guests of honor to arrive. Everyone grabbed a glass of Bucks Fizz to raise when they walked in.
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When the speeches were over and done with, and presents given out, it was time for the buffet! Pride of place on the buffet table was the wedding cake – which everyone was admiring. As you can see from the photos, mum didn’t have a red dress, she wanted a claret one, so claret was the theme of the day, the cake, roses, ribbons, banners , balloons. Our bridesmaids dresses were blue. Has anyone figured this out yet? Claret & Blue? West Ham. Ewwwwwww. The groom even had West Ham cufflinks and there was an alternative bride and groom cake-topper, with co-ordinating claret dress and West ham shirt!
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After the buffet it was time to cut the cake, then the first dance, which was to Ellie Goulding’s ‘How long will I love you?’ – a few other people joined in the dancing, but me and Berkay were too shy. He did eventually get up and do one dance with mum, but I just sat down all night!
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The reception was lovely, but it was a very long day. The wedding was at 12, so we were all sat in the reception venue from 1pm til very late evening – this meant everyone had plenty of time to get nice and drunk – resulting in some pretty hilarious dance off’s! I didn’t really speak to anybody most of the night, people were coming up to me and saying hello and I had no idea who they were – ours is one of those families who only gets together for events, which doesn’t occur very often, so I’m so glad Berkay was with me.

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After chatting, eating and dancing the day away, it was time for the bride and groom to leave – everyone formed a circle on the dance floor, had a kiss and a hug and wished them well – and then off they went. We followed literally 2minutes afterwards as we had a taxi waiting. We were so knackered from the day that we were in bed snoring asleep by 10.30pm!

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Mum & Berkay enjoyed a little boogie.

Click here to compare to my experience of  a Turkish wedding last year.

A Turkish wedding..

Turkish weddings are spectacular occasions, I’m pretty certain they invite every person they’ve ever met, literally, hundreds, even a thousand people all gathered together to celebrate, the Turks do know how to throw a party.
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The wedding celebrations go on for days, and it’s not unusual for the legal wedding ceremony to take place months before the actual wedding party, the equivalent of what we would call the ‘reception’. This was the case for our friends. They were legally married in April this year, and had a very small family get together in a restaurant. They held the actual wedding party, and everything else that goes with it, a month later at the end of May. I have their permission to share their photos so thought I’d do a post sharing my experience of a Turkish wedding.

The days and weeks leading up to the big wedding party were spent planning, we went to their house often and each time they were doing something wedding-related. On on particular occasion, they came in with a massive box of invitations to send out, ”how many people are they inviting?!” I asked, ‘not too many, just 500”….

500 people, and that is considered a fairly small wedding by Turkish standards! I don’t even know 50 people, let alone 500. The wedding party was taken very seriously, the groom’s father spent an awful lot of money on it, with the help of credit cards!

The night before the wedding, they had a henna night, I’ve heard this is normally a women-only thing, but both bride and groom attended in this case.
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The next morning, the day of the wedding party, Berkay headed off to our friends village where they had sacrificed a cow and were serving up traditional Turkish meals to everyone who happened to be passing by. There was a steady flow of hundreds of people throughout the day, all coming to eat the food being offered as part of the celebrations. This carried on until late afternoon when it was time to get ready for the big party..

Typically, wedding parties are held in the late evenings, and can go on until the early hours of the morning. They are often held in large halls, ‘wedding salons’ or school yards. In this case, it was the school yard directly opposite their house. It seems so bizarre to me to hold a party in a school playground, when we think of traditional British wedding receptions, they are held in fancy halls or venues, all beautifully decorated tables and chairs, balloons, seating plans, perhaps a buffet or meal, and plenty of alcohol flowing. This was not the case here at all. Everyone was sitting on plastic garden chairs, hired from the local council, there was no food, no alcohol, not many decorations. It was all very simple, yet completely bonkers at the same time. We arrived at 8 o clock, just in time to see the bride and groom’s extravagant-looking car speeding through the village beeping its horn loudy to let everyone know there’s a wedding going on. The bride and groom’s names were written on the banner draped over the car, and it was covered in streamers and huge ribbons, I wish I had taken a photo!

After greeting the bride and groom’s parents, we found a couple of spare chairs and sat down, completely overwhelmed by the amount of people and the noise of the drums, something that is ever-present at Turkish weddings.

The bride and grooms close family and friends stood up and lit some sparklers, held them in the air and formed a little walkthrough archway with their arms, the bride and groom arrived and walked hand in hand through them, it all looked quite romantic with the sparklers! They walked straight into the middle of the yard and stood opposite each other, the bride had a veil over her head and a red ribbon tied around her waist, this is a ‘maidenhood belt’ or bekaret kuşağı which is tied around her by her family before leaving for the wedding. The groom said a prayer and removed his bride’s veil, revealing her face. Small fireworks were lit in the background and they then had their first dance, a typical slow dance, and then other couples started to join in.
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After the first dance, the real party begins. Loud drums, all kinds of musical instruments, live music and singing and A LOT of dancing. The dancing goes on all night and is crazy, traditional Turkish dancing. The wedding we were at had only Turkish music, but many are more modern and include western music, I can’t count the number of times I heard wedding parties in the school yard behind my house playing gangnam style last year!
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After a while, it was time to bring out the cake. The cake was HUGE, 7 tiers (yet still nowhere near enough to go around all the guests) and had yet more fireworks lit on top. The bride and groom placed some lira notes on the cake and it was cut up and distributed to guests, we didn’t stay around long enough to get any, unfortunately, as Berkay had to get to work!
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Just before we went, the dancing was put on hold for a while and the bride and groom stood at the front of the seating area with ribbons draped around their shoulders. Guests are expected to pin money or gold coins to the ribbon, instead of giving presents. This was one of my favourite parts, I think it’s a good idea and a nice little tradition that looks great on the photos! We were near the front of the queue to pin money on, right after the groom’s family. Each person that pinned money on got a photo taken with the bride and groom and then went back to their dancing.
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We had to go home after this as Berkay had work, but I’m certain the wedding carried on until the early hours with plenty more fun and dancing.

It was very different to any wedding I have ever been to before, but it was an experience to say the least. If we ever get married, I’m sure we’ll incorporate elements of both traditional British and Turkish weddings, or maybe we’ll do as many of my friends have and have two, they are very different after all. (: