Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wedding in Buyukada

Alright, so back to where I left off, if I can remember what I was going to say...

We arrived in Buyukada just before 3 p.m., well in time for the evening's wedding. We walked around a bit, had pide (Turkish pizza, my favorite food) next to a fish stand with some of Cagatay's friends, and had just settled in at the hotel pool when we got a message from the groom to join them asap at the wedding venue, a beautiful b&b (their words: intercultural relaxation center) called Naya. It was too far to walk so we went by horse-drawn carriage.

As it turns out, Turkish weddings are apparently a little more interactive (though of course this is based on my one experience). When we got there, the bride AND the groom were up on the balcony with various close friends and family just hanging out, having some drinks, and enjoying the time all together. The bride was in her wedding dress; I was shocked even though I am not generally one for superstitions. After awhile, everyone drifted downstairs to the lawn and bar area where wine was being served, and more guests arrived. About an hour later, the ceremony started - the bride and groom came down together, arm and arm, and made their way to the dais on the lawn. The actual ceremony lasted about five minutes - the officiant asked them each a couple of preliminary questions (name, place of birth, and father's name, I believe), the "do you take" part, and that was pretty much it.

That part finished, things went back to cocktail hour as the bride and groom then circulated among the guests, receiving congratulations. The bride had a little bag in which she collected gold coins (in pouches), the traditional wedding gift.

From then on, the wedding resembled an American affair with a buffet dinner and dancing to a D.J. I think we went back to to hotel around 1 a.m.

The next morning, after breakfasting on the balcony of our hotel, we spent most of the next day back at Naya with the bride, groom, and friends. The island was still packed with tourists and as a result, there were at least 100 people in line in the relentless heat waiting for a carriage. As I mentioned, Naya was too far to walk so we ended up renting a bike...a tandem bike. Oh yeah.

We spent most of the day at Naya, just hanging out around the garden and chatting. It was an enjoyably lazy Sunday. At 4 p.m., everyone (about 20 people) headed back into the main part of town for a late lunch/early dinner at a fish restaurant. (Not being a fish eater, I may have made a pide pit-stop along the way.) I've been to fish restaurants here twice and both times, instead of separate meals, the waiter just brings a slew of dishes - some fish, some veg - and keeps the raki flowing, and everyone digs in to the communal offerings.

But alas, all things must come to an end...we took an evening ferry, crossing the Sea of Marmara back to Istanbul
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