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All Turkish wedding ceremonies are civil ceremonies and take place in government buildings. Oz’s ceremony guests (all 500 of them) waited outside the building, along with the guests of other weddings. When it was time for the wedding, Oz and Endam’s names appeared on a readerboard letting us know it was time to enter the theater-like ceremony room. At the front of the room is a long, governmental-looking desk where the judge, the couple, and their 3 witnesses sit under a painting of Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. My Dad was one of the witnesses that day. He got a round of applause for saying the only Turkish word he knows “Evet” for Yes, when it is his turn. It was very sweet. The ceremony took about 15 minutes.

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The flowers took a very different form than they do in the US. They come on a sort of sign-post, and contain the name of the giver. If you can’t make it to the wedding, you send one of these. Companies that Oz and Endam had worked at also sent them.

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The reception was at a health/country club. The club was festooned with bright oranges, yellows and greens. The bride looked beautiful and wore a western gown, and the couple took lots of glamour shots before joining dinner. When they made their appearance, it was after we took in a video containing childhood photos set to dramatic Turkish music. They had a pyrotechnics budget! Small fireworks went off beside the pool while the couple walked the length of it.

After food and raki, the Turkish dancing started. Their live band was playing some old fashioned Turkish music and some gypsy and Kurd music as well. We got up to dance with everyone, looked foolish, and had a great time. There was bellydancing, but not by me. I scuffed my Ferragamos.