Last night I attended the second day of a Turkish wedding..the actual ceremony. Both the wedding and the reception are typically held in the same venue and last night's was no exception. My friend Seda and her parents gave a ride to the wedding salon (salonu) and I was so appreciative to not have to walk in alone. This was a very large wedding..I'm estimating 500 people. The men and the women sat separately so when we walked in the salon, I saw only a sea of men.The men's reception line was near the front door. Seda's father joined his male friends and the three of us walked to the back of the salon to give Turkish kisses and hand shakes to the women's reception line and find a seat at a woman's table.
About 15 minutes after we arrived, large Roman candles (yes, the fireworks type) were lit to line the entry way. A video screen recorded the entry of the bride and groom and followed them to their seats of honor on a stage at the center of the room. At the wedding couple's table sat the mayor and three male witnesses. The mayor or one of his representatives attends all the weddings. The mayor welcomed us to the wedding, signed some papers, had the wedding couple sign some papers and said some words.. The bride said "evet" loudly. The mayor said some more words and the groom said "evet" loudly. Then we clapped and the groom kissed the bride quickly on the forehead. The mayor the turned his attention to the other men at the table and asked each if he was a witness and each said "evet" loudly. All this time was food was being served. Then the iman started chanting a verse from the Koran all while children were running wild and playing hide and seek under the tables. A wedding song was sung and a prayer was said and I could understand the frequent "amens".
We finished our meal, stood in line to greet the new couple, and left about 1 1/2 hour after we had arrived.
By the way, the bride was beautiful. She is a English teacher colleague at my school. A wedding is a five day paid vacation for the couple from work. Also, you can see the leaf-type floral arrangements behind the bride. There were probably 25 of these arrangements around the room. They are from friends and businesses that cannot be at the actual ceremony but send happy wishes via flowers.