The Wedding Dress
For most of the brides, their wedding dress is their first fashionable dress because in the Ottoman culture, young girls are forbidden to wear fashionable clothes. Their wedding dress becomes their first ornamented dress of life. The bride wears a bright wedding dress and veil, adorned with a red sash around her waist and red bows on her dress or in her hair. The bridal veil is also important, but nowadays, traditions are changing and even the traditional marriages have brides wearing dresses without bridal veils. Bright colors are worn because they reflect joy and happiness. The groom is dressed in a tuxedo or dark suit.
Once the documents have been signed, the newly married couple opens the first dance. The bride, accompanied by her female relatives, then makes the rounds of her guests, carrying a basket lined in red. Guests kiss the bride, can pin a gold coin on her sash, may also slip a gold bracelet on her wrist, and deposit money in the basket. Afterward, the bride often changes from her white dress into a red or purple traditional gown, which is richly embroidered in gold. She wears a red veil over her head. Female guests and relatives are invited to form a circle around her, and then her hands and the palms of her guests are painted with henna for good luck.
The wedding dinner, which consists of many courses, follows. During the meal, traditional music is played, and often, professional dancers perform. An important part of the celebration is the 'Dance of the Fathers', where the fathers of the bride and groom dance around each other and are equally showered with banknotes and gold coins.
Finally, the bride and groom cut the wedding cake. Each guest is given a piece to be consumed after dinner. The rest is packed in small parcels to be taken home. The bride and groom stay with their guests until the end of the celebration. They do not sneak out to start their honeymoon early, but traditionally spend their first night in the hotel where the wedding reception takes place.