When I first got invited to the wedding of my good friend Alex and her fiancée Selsah, I was in Thailand and I was not really sure when I would be coming back to Europe. But I don’t get invited to a wedding in Turkey every day, so I did my best to come and I have to admit it was the best wedding I have ever been to.
When you think about Hollywood movies and you see the scenes from the romantic weddings on the beach with perfect weather, well this wedding was even better than that! Everything started on Thursday when Alex and Selsah organized an informal dinner where everyone could get to know each other.
The next day, the ladies went for hamam (a Turkish bath and peeling that is a tradition for the bride and her female friends before the wedding.) I enjoyed it a lot, especially when the Turkish lady gave me an extra towel so I could do it myself at home. Everyone’s skin was super soft afterwards.
This was the night when the bride’s friends and relatives lamented the departure of the daughter from her parent’s home, which was followed by joyful celebration. All the girls got dressed up in traditional clothes, put on red veils, and we danced a going away dance for the bride. The dresses were really heavy and we all felt super hot in them and we also forgot the steps for the dance but everyone had an amazing time. The dance was followed by the henna tattoos, which unfortunately left some permanent marks on our dresses. During the whole evening there was a lot of entertainment including a very unusual male/ female belly dancer performer who did a incredible job by encouraging the wedding couple to join him/her on the dance floor. At the end of the evening, the groom and the bride were thrown into the swimming pool. Well it was more the groom who was thrown in and the bride joined him voluntarily in her long, beautiful red dress.
The ceremony took place in the Gardens of Babylon, a magical resort in the west of Bodrum surrounded by the island of Kos and Kalimnos. When we first arrived, the photographers were waiting to get our picture on the red carpet and the family was waiting to greet the guests. But first we all had to climb a bunch of stairs (for ladies that was not easy). Everything looked like it was out of a Hollywood movie. Beautiful sunset, champagne, amazing view and 670 guests! Apparently for a wedding in Turkey you have to invite all your family, neighbors, and business partners.. Basically if someone told me that all of Bodrum had been there, I wouldn’t have been surprised. Even after the wedding when I met someone from Bodrum and I told them I had just come back from the wedding, they already knew what I was talking about. The ceremony started at the sunset and it was held in English and in Turkish. Touching speeches were given by the bride and groom’s siblings and best friends. After that, bride’s parents asked the wedding couple to exchange the rings. After the ceremony, the guests were invited to join dinner and watch the wedding couple perform their very first dance. Alex and Selsah didn’t have an easy task after the dance. They had to greet all invited guests, so you can imagine how long it took with 670 guests. But once they finished, everyone had an amazing time dancing to the live music. I was very happy when I could dance my favorite salsa dance with a professional dancer from Azerbaijan. Traditional belly dancers couldn’t be missed and they gave a very memorable performance. At some point I was not sure if it was a dream or if it was real.
When the older crowd got tired around 1am, guests moved to the after party location and danced till the early morning.
You could read from the happy and tired faces that it was an amazing wedding that lasted a whole 3 days. It was truly an amazing experience. If I ever decide to get married and my wedding is even half as magical as Alex and Selsah’s I will be in the 7th heaven.