Traditional Turkish Wedding Ceremony

Interested in Turkish wedding ceremonies? Want to know what rituals comprise a traditional Turkish wedding? Read on for facts & information…

Since most residents of Turkey are Muslim, Turkish wedding ceremonies are usually conducted according to Islamic law and local traditions. Islamic marriages are considered civil contracts, not sacraments, and they are not conducted in a mosque and have no prescribed religious ritual. Although the Quran describes marriage as the ideal state for Muslims and weddings are extremely important, couples entering into marriage are not required to be blessed by any religious authority.

Turkish Henna Parties

The rituals which precede and follow the marriage ceremony are as important in Turkey as the actual wedding. It is not uncommon for Turkish parents to arrange for the union between their children, although it is forbidden to coerce either party into a marriage they do not want. Once the couple agrees to be married, a lavish party is thrown to celebrate the upcoming nuptials. Following the engagement party the families of the bride and groom gift the couple with household goods and furniture. In some areas of Turkey a henna ceremony is held for the bride the night before the wedding and friends and relatives of the bride decorate the palms of her hands with henna designs.

Wedding Celebrations

The actual wedding typically takes place in a hotel ballroom, community center or rented hall. The couple and their witnesses are seated at a table with a local official. The official conducts the legal proceedings for the marriage and the bride, groom and witnesses sign the relevant documents. This is followed by a dinner made up of many courses, music and dancing. Alcohol is forbidden to observant Muslims, but Raki, a regional alcoholic beverage is sometimes served.  It is rumored that celebrations lasted up to 40 days  but  most  traditional Turkish weddings continue for two to three days.  Modern, urban weddings in Turkey may only last several hours.

Turkish Wedding Clothing

Traditional Turkish wedding dress fell out of favor at around the turn of the 20th century and most Turkish brides and grooms opt for European style formalwear. Grooms wear tuxedos and brides wear white wedding gowns. Orthodox Muslim brides must wear gowns with high necklines and long sleeves and cover their hair with veils, headdresses or shawls, but the majority of Turkish brides wear the same styles as European and American brides.

Turkish Wedding Gifts

During the wedding celebration it is customary for Turkish wedding guests to pin gold coins attached to red silk bows or banknotes to the clothing of the happy couple. The fathers of the bride and groom perform a dance together and guests shower the men with coins and banknotes. The gifts are intended to insure a prosperous start to the marriage.

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