Wings (A Wedding, Part 2)

With the Islamic Marriage Ceremony and the Henna Party, two important Turkish wedding traditions had been celebrated. The wedding, as planned by The Girl and Metin, was to be a blend of cultures and traditions.

A traditional Turkish wedding can have as many as 1,000 guests – and is often a simple “Cake and Cola” event held in a salon for an afternoon. They wanted a beach wedding – and wanted to be quick with the formalities, and then on with dinner and dancing!

While she was home in July, we went shopping for a wedding dress. She had been absolutely terrified of getting a dress in Turkey, as the more modern Turkish brides are apparently fond of bejeweled bodices, massive piles of lace and tulle, and all manner of extreme glamour*. “I don’t want to look like a fucking cupcake!”

The dress found her. At a discount bridal shop, the third dress pulled from the rack fit nearly perfectly, and was beyond stunning on her. We had invited her father’s wife, Fahima, to join us for the dress shopping day.  Perhaps the main reason my ex and i have been able to connect well enough to strongly support our kid? This woman has a huge heart, and bubbly personality – and both of my kids adore her! Deciding that the term “Step Mother” has too many harsh implications, she’s been christened their “Bonus Mom”… a bit more appropriate in this case!

The minor alterations were completed just under the wire, and The Girl was able to get everything she needed packed up and headed home. Invariably, the luggage was lost for a few days – “If that dress is lost and I have to go out and buy another one here? AAAAAAAAARGH!” – but arrived intact a few days later.

We also learned that “RSVP” is sort of an alien concept regarding Turkish weddings. They had planned for about 150 people, but the final count was closer to 200. Since it is still somewhat unusual to have a formal sit down dinner at a wedding, i guess it doesn’t seem to be a big deal… i’d have been ripping my hair out, but The Girl and Metin seemed to roll with it…

Metin’s family comes from central Turkey, and over two dozen family members made the trek – at least 20 hours by bus – to get to Izmir for the wedding! He arranged for two tour buses to transport his family, and neighbors, from the city to the beach.

During the reception, Mehmet (Metin’s father) went to find a translator. He returned to our table with The Girl’s friend, Beth, and was enthusiastically asking her to translate something to us. Mehmet let us know that it is Turkish tradition for the parents of the bride and the parents of the groom to personally welcome each guest at the wedding – and he was inviting us to join them in this tradition.  With Beth’s help, my ex-husband EJ and i were schooled in the proper pronunciation of “Hoşgeldiniz!”


We agreed, despite being absolutely terrified of screwing this up! Trying not to look as mortified as we felt, we joined Mehmet and Haava and began greeting guests – and i can personally attest to the fact that there were at least 190 people in attendance! It seemed to take forever, but Studley assures me it only took about 30 minutes for us to make the circuit.


And then we danced. We danced and laughed and danced some more! The newlyweds had pulled together a playlist of both Turkish and English dance tunes. Balancing cultures, they had arranged for each guest to have two drinks – either beer or wine – during dinner. i wanted to be respectful to his family, so it wasn’t until those two tour buses headed back to the city around midnight that i felt comfortable enough to grab a drink…  and have a proper toast with the newlyweds!somewhat staged

i thought we’d danced ourselves out BEFORE midnight, but i was wrong! The DJ kept going, and so did we! Much relief for all that the formalities were over, and we threw it down hard! Many of their friends had booked rooms at the beach resort, so we didn’t clear that beach until somewhere around 4am. Vague memories of dancing salsa with a pretty Colombian ex-pat, and lying in the grass making friends with a stray dog are also in the mix…

It was a great party… And a beautiful wedding… Celebrating my kid and her husband! Merging two families and two cultures – across the old and new generations – as we cheer them onward! i am delighted that she has put down roots. She has a bigger family! And so do i…

new family

* Some examples can be found here… She made a good call!

26 thoughts on “Wings (A Wedding, Part 2)

    • Flattening the earth, one individual at a time… Conversation with my neighbor last week – a sweet woman who gets most of her world information from Fox News: “Aren’t you worried about her with all those Muslims in Turkey?” Me:[blink, blink] “No… Um… It’s a secular country, set up that way by Ataturk in the early 1900’s…. and um… she married a Muslim… and he is delightful and wonderful… so is his family… and friends….”

      i will keep educating. Every single time i get a xenophobic knee-jerk comment…. Grrr…..

      • Way to go. Saw a fb friend on TV recently. 6th generation Aussie. Her GGGgrandfather was one of the first Afgans to come to Australia in the 1800’s as a camel-driver. FB friend was wearing her hijab. Person I was with went ballistic, “We CANNOT let people like that into our country.”. After explaining her background, I was told I must be wrong.

        Head-shaking does not seem enough – – –

        • My tongue bleeds every time someone asks me “Aren’t you worried about what will happen when they have children? Aren’t you afraid they’ll be trapped there?” I can only hope that my bugeyes and slackjawed stare of disbelief doesn’t give away that I’m thinking “ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!?!?” and continue to politely educate… We can make a difference, even if it is only one thick skull at a time…

          As to the Person You Were With? That skull may prove to be impenetrable…

    • She’s a beautiful human, isn’t she? So brave to set out at the age of 24 for another country, where she didn’t know the language. And now putting in deeper roots… He’s a wonderful human as well! They are good together…

    • Love the strays… The process in Izmir is to collect, neuter and tag the strays and return them to the streets. They are generally cared for by the population, and get really good at crossing streets at crosswalks…

      The cigarette? Somewhat staged photo… but i did smoke it, and it tasted good! Only smoke one every few months… i know it’s bad, but sometimes, when in Rome (or Turkey)…

      • I used to know that feeling.Had to light up on stage a few years ago, then blow smoke rings.It nearly killed me!
        The trap-neuter-return doesn’t seem to be considered here.Any strays rounded up and impounded are euthanased if not claimed or adopted. Cats, too.
        I cannot watch TV newscasts of refugees. It’s not the refugees that upset me, it’s the horrifying attitude of so many of my countrymen.Beginning with a Prime Minister who ….sorry, we’re celebrating a happy marriage here. 🙂

        • I’m lucky – for me, smoking was never really a physical addiction to nicotine. social and pleasurable, but not really addictive. I can go months… have gone years without wanting one. But then there it is. At the wedding, so many were smoking… and there was the scotch…

          Similarly here, there isn’t much ‘trap-neuter-return’. Shelters or just roadkill. Well-meaning rescue organizations exist, and many are effective. Some? Not so much…

          As the US just announced plans to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees – a microscopic DROP in the bucket – I am seeing that reaction among acquaintances, and it turns my stomach. This is a country of immigrants. We can’t stem the tide of stupidity and ignorance…

  1. Isn’t it interesting how sometimes people just click with another , quite dissimilar, culture?

    I spent a week in Istanbul a few years ago and loved the music — it really did feel half-south Asian, half-Western. And now you’ve got those links in your own family. Lovely.

    • As Studley said, learning French or Spanish or Italian would have been a bit less of a struggle, but Turkish it is, and I’m going to become conversant… Grateful for Ataturk and his move to the western alphabet!

      The Turkish culture is a beautiful blend of middle-eastern and eastern. Istanbul is one of the most incredible cities I’ve ever visited – 5,000 years of civilization, from Ancient Rome, Ancient Egypt, Byzantine, Ottoman and forward, it is all mushed together in a cultural dervish! It is good to have family there…

  2. So…wait…Fahima was in Ohio?

    Bonus Mom is awesome. What an honor!

    I don’t want to get all Oprah on you but this kind of choked me up a bit. And I’m not kidding. I projected into my own future.

    My Bride showed me a Facebook pic of you and Blogfather. Nice.

    • My ex married a Lebanese American in northern Ohio! She is wonderful and because of her, he was able to travel to visit The Girl! She’s a bit less intimidated by international travel! I love her for it!

      Totally understand the projection thing… it’s emotional enough when a child marries. But remember your own wedding… You were more wrapped up in your future than the past you were leaving behind. She is not fretting over apron strings! In fact, I’m proud of her for shaking those off at a fairly early age! She can survive without me in this world, and THAT is the definition of successful parenting! Dependent adult children may be filling a need for the parents, but not doing anything useful for the spawn!

      Glad you got to see me with The Beautiful One! That guy… Damn it… Has to like the boys, he does… We went to another party at his sister’s place and I got to show Studley a photo of the Blogfather when he was in his 20’s. Explained “There. See that man? THAT is the man I was so madly in love with. Can you blame me?”

  3. A fine post this was indeed, and you have nailed it, if you do the job right the kids take off and never look back, you miss them and love them but mostly you’re just proud of them, good job lady… now i’m hoping that smoke is some quality Turkish hash and not tobacco, just saying.

    • Alas, no hash… but the Turkish cigarettes are pretty tasty. Fewer chemicals, i think. If we’re doing it right, we raise adults – not children. There are scenarios where either of my sprogs could bounce back to the nest, but i like to think that i’ve successfully launched them into their own lives – much like i was launched all those years ago!

  4. 1. Turkish food is awesome. I bet you had a great time.
    2. My husband’s stepdaughters from his first marriage call me their bonus mom and I am very honored.
    3. I am really impressed people felt free to smoke at the party without getting any Glares of Death. I have friends who are social smokers but I am sworn to secrecy. Their other friends cannot know.

    • Hello and Welcome! Sorry for the delayed salutation – but i’ve been slamming this summer!
      1. Turkish food is my favorite – and the vegetables? SO FRESH! Picking up food at the corner market that just came from the fields! Glorious!
      2. You have been doing something right! i really like that turn of a phrase!
      3. Although his parents are devout Muslims, they are not prone to judging others behavior. A very eclectic mix of friends and family at the wedding – some drinking, but not excessive, early in the evening. And EVERYONE smokes there it seems! i think if i were more heavily immersed in the culture, i’d see more Glares of Death, but as visitors, we were treated like royalty!

    • It was one of my favorite memories of the evening! i may have second thoughts when the video comes together! i have always hated seeing myself dance, even though it brings me so much joy!

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