Turkish Bridal Traditions

Interested in Turkish wedding traditions? Want to know about the responsibilities of bride & groom at a traditional Turkish wedding? Rad on for more facts & information…

Although most of the population in Turkey is Muslim, weddings are often secular affairs performed by local officiates rather than clergy. A cosmopolitan country straddling Europe and Asia, Turkey has elements of both Western and Eastern culture in their celebrations. Many Turkish women favor Western dress and modern brides often forgo many of the traditional wedding customs. Turkish bridal traditions are also influenced by the area where the couple resides. Some traditions are constant including the gifts received by the bride and groom.

Turkish Wedding Coins

The color red, considered auspicious in many Asian cultures, is prominent at Turkish weddings. The traditional bridal gifts are gold coins that are attached to a red silk ribbon and pin. Wedding guests pin the coins to the bride’s gown and the groom’s clothing. Since the turn of the 20th century most Turkish brides have followed the European tradition of dressing in white, but traditional Turkish bridal clothing is in jewel tone colors with intricate embroidery in gold thread. Bridal guests wear bright colors and the wedding has the atmosphere of a festival.

Long Celebrations

While modern urban weddings may last only a few hours, traditional Turkish weddings last for at least 3 days. In the past, affluent families would continue the celebration for up to 40 days. In some areas both the bride and groom were veiled and the veils would remain over their faces until they were led to the nuptial chamber. The actual marriage ceremony just involves the signing of the legal documents. Following this, the couple leads the guests in the first dance.

Turkish Wedding Dinners

Turkish wedding dinners are lavish affairs with many courses. During the dinner professional dancers may perform to entertain the guests. One unique custom is the dance of the fathers where the fathers of both bride and groom dance around each other while guests shower them with coins and banknotes. The wedding cake is cut at the end of the dinner and the bride and groom remain at the reception until the guests leave.

Wedding Invitations

It is an honor to be invited to a Turkish wedding and it is an insult to refuse the invitation. This is true whether the wedding takes place in Istanbul, London or New York. While many Turkish bridal traditions have changed over time and exposure to other cultures, some remain firmly in place so it is wise for guests from other cultures to educate themselves before attending the celebration.