Your eyes do not deceive you. The yabanci bride who only wanted one small, simple, intimate wedding ceremony will have had THREE celebrations (of varying degrees) before the end of 2015. But hey, at least the first one was small, simple, and intimate. 🙂
We eloped for practical and romantic reasons. Practical: Housing. It’s a long story, but I was going to have to change (read: DOWNGRADE) my apartment and we were tired of living in two different cities, so in an effort to keep things helal (or halal or kosher or whatever you want to say), we decided to be married on paper so we could live together without feeling a black cloud of ayip looming over us. Romantic: There was no way we could wait until January to be husband and wife. We’re each other’s best friends, partners, teammates, all of that good stuff. To us, engagement is not about figuring out whether or not your fiance is “the one”. That’s what dating is for. I told Canim not to propose unless he was prepared to marry me the next day if need be (why would “need be”? I don’t know but I had to be dramatic to make my point). So, we were ready to be married as soon as we got engaged. Engagement (again, to us) is about planning, preparing, and making arrangements for the future. Where will you live? How will you balance finances? Blah blah blah boring adult things.
In July, we got my parents’ blessing to go ahead and be married on paper as long as we will still have the reception in January and the American reception in July. Fair enough. Everybody gets a little bit of what they want. I bought a simple lace sheath, my brilliant and artistic friend made me a brooch bouquet (which will be used at all three weddings), I Pinterested a hairstyle, ordered some pink shoes and sixpence coins, and two weeks after I returned to Turkey (August 30th), I became Mrs. Canim.
In another post, I will explain the process for an American-Turkish marriage ceremony. Most of that was a blur, to be honest, because Canim is SUPER efficient (a quality that did not really shine until I returned to Turkey), so I just had to sign along the dotted line for most of it.
The Wedding Day:
Canim took me to the kuafor for hair and make-up at 10:30. Before that, we made a stop at Platin to buy new nail polish for my “professional” manicure. I had a meltdown the night before over my inability to successfully apply two coats of nail polish to any of my 20 nails. I just can’t do it when I’m nervous!
After I was dolled up, my brother-in-law (BIL) and mother-in-law (MIL) picked me up. I was disappointed to learn that the bozos at the jeweler had failed to have my wedding band ready in time for the ceremony. However, I opted to not go Bridezilla on said bozos because, to quote my husband (hehehe), “Darling, here is Turkey. Every time something is wrong.” The end. Full stop. There’s always something wrong, so don’t sweat it.
One hour before the ceremony, when we were less than 1 KM away from the house, the bozos called and told my BIL that the wedding band was ready. So, BIL turned around to go exactly where we had just come from. He drove like a bat outta Hades to get the ring. While MIL and I waited in the car, she turned to me and said, “The box in the bag is yours.” So I opened it and discovered a SIX PIECE lingerie set. Gorgeous white satin. I was flattered, humbled, and then REALLY embarrassed to think about what must have been going through her mind as she picked out the set. I mean…you know. And she’s his MOM. Agggh. Anyway.
So, I got ready at his parents’ house, and sat on a bed staring at the clock thinking,”30 minutes until I become Mrs. Canim. This is a big deal.” And I started shaking a little and my eyes were welling up with tears, so my darling MIL swooped in with some baklava (I had 3 pieces – sue me) and helped me buckle my shoes because I couldn’t do it myself.
I’m not gonna lie to you guys. The Turkish marriage ceremony is rather…unceremonious. Canim’s father and two best friends walked me into the belediye wedding salon (aka city hall). He was pacing and waiting anxiously for me to arrive. When we saw each other, we hugged and tried really hard not to cry. After taking lots of pictures, everyone left us alone to say our vows to each other (Turkish couples normally don’t do that, as it is assumed that by showing up for the ceremony, you already promise to be the ideal spouse until you die. But I’m American. I like contracts and having things spelled out explicitly and without confusion – plus I thought it would be more romantic than “evet”). We said a slightly tweaked but mostly traditional version of American vows, but I said them in English and he said them in Turkish. Then, we walked upstairs where everyone was waiting. We sat down, the officiant sat down, said a lot of things that I barely understood because I was waiting (and maybe even leaning in very closely) for the question that sounded something like, “[Yabanci Bride], Canim eş olarak kabul ediyor musunuz?” And I said,”EVET!” But I was too eager and she held up the microphone so I could say it again. Then she asked him, he said, “Evet,” she said some more things, we signed some papers, and she left. One of our witnesses pointed to the floor very urgently but I didn’t know what she was saying. Someone else said,”Ayak!” and I remembered to do this:
We switched our rings onto our left hands, had a short and sweet kiss (once on the lips and once on my forehead, which I found so adorable), and then cut the cake. Oh, this was our cake topper:
After the ceremony, we took pictures in a park along the sea, but it really felt like taking pictures on the surface of the freaking sun. Then, we went back to his parents’ house to freshen up. After that we had dinner at our favorite restaurant which means “Snow White” but has absolutely nothing to do with a princess or dwarves.
After dinner came the real party – our “mini-moon” at the Hilton. Let me tell you – I’ve never stayed in a Hilton before, and now that I have, I don’t know how I can ever stay in a pansion or even a different 5-star hotel. That place was a piece of American heaven, I tell ya. It was like sleeping on a cloud. We were treated like stars, with far too many free drinks (including a bottle of champagne), impressive room service, and they let us check out several hours later than we were supposed to. It was paradise.
All in all, every time I think of that day (aka 5 days ago), I can’t help but grin ear-to-ear. I’m glad we didn’t wait.