7 Interesting Turkish Wedding Traditions You Must Know

Turkish Wedding Traditions_Ling

Are you invited to a Turkish wedding? You may feel a little nervous if you have no idea what they’re like. If you want to learn what to expect, you’re in the right place!

There are lots of interesting Turkish wedding traditions. As a matter of fact, my foreign friends are fascinated by some of them! In this article, I’ll share some things you should expect in a Turkish wedding, so you can enjoy the ceremony and have fun with the locals.

Pre-Wedding Traditions

We can divide Turkish wedding traditions into two categories: pre-wedding and wedding-day traditions. Let’s start with the first step, which is getting permission from the bride’s family.

1. Asking For The Woman’s Hand In Marriage (Kız İsteme)

When a couple decides to take their relationship to the next level and get married, there’s one crucial ritual to do: asking the bride’s family for permission.

The groom’s family visits the bride’s home, bringing gifts such as a gorgeous flower bouquet and a box of chocolate or dessert. The bride-to-be makes Turkish coffee for guests, but she puts some salt on the groom’s coffee, which is a test. If he can drink it up with no complaints, it means that he can marry the girl.

After everyone finishes their coffee, the groom’s father, or the eldest member of the family, leads in and says this Turkish phrase: “Allah’ın emri, Peygamberin kavliyle, kızınızı oğlumuza istiyoruz.” It means, “By the command of Allah and the words of the Prophet, we want to have your daughter for our son.” Then, the girl’s parents approve as a response.

This is an old Turkish tradition, and it has been practiced for hundreds of years to get permission from both sides for a marriage.

Nişan-Turkish Wedding Traditions-Ling

2. Engagement (Nişan)

After both families approve of the couple’s marriage, it’s time for an engagement, which takes place months before the wedding. Engagement in Turkish culture is a little different than in the West. The girl’s family is supposed to hold an engagement ceremony, which is like a small party to announce to everyone that this man and this woman are together and will marry soon.

Friends, family members, and relatives are invited to this ceremony. Some people prefer to keep it small within the family circle, while some prefer to rent a venue and throw a big party.

What makes this engagement ceremony important is that the bride and groom wear the marriage rings (alyans) for the first time. At first, both rings are tied on the same red ribbon. When the bride and groom wear the rings, the eldest family member cuts the ribbon in half, uttering good wishes for the couple. It’s also common to make a prayer (dua) for the couple.

After the ribbon is cut in half, the couple’s single friends cut tiny pieces from it, put it in their mouths, and swallow. Swallowing an engagement ring ribbon is believed to bring good luck to those who want to get married.

The rest of the engagement ceremony passes with music, dancing, and eating, and it can last a few hours.

Kına Gecesi-Turkish Wedding Traditions-Ling

3. Henna Night (Kına Gecesi)

Henna Night is kind of like a bride-to-be party to which only women are invited. It usually takes place the night before the wedding day. The bride wears a traditional dress called a “kaftan,” which is similar to the dresses of Ottoman Sultans. This night is all about having fun and dancing with the girls.

At one point, the bride sits, and her friends circle her with candles in their hands. They sing a traditional Turkish song about a girl marrying and going far away from her family.

Then a woman who has a happy marriage applies henna (kına) to the bride’s palm. It’s also common to invite the groom and apply it to his pinky finger. Applying henna is believed to bring good luck and prosperity in marriage.

In another version of this tradition, before applying henna to the bride’s palm, a woman calls out the future mother-in-law of the bride saying she doesn’t open her palm. This is a sign for the groom’s mother to put a gold coin in the bride’s palm. Only then can she open her hand to apply henna.

Wedding Day Traditions

Now, let’s get to the big day, when the bride and groom prepare for the wedding ceremony.

Araba Konvoyu-Turkish Wedding Traditions-Ling

4. Car Convoy (Araba Konvoyu)

This tradition can be a topic of debate from time to time. On the wedding day, the groom’s family and friends make a long car convoy and drive together in line to the bride’s house. The convoy consists of at least 20 cars. Then the bride gets in the wedding car with the groom and goes to the wedding venue. Usually, the wedding car becomes the first or second car in the convoy.

5. Red Belt (Kırmızı Kuşak)

You may have seen that Turkish brides usually wear a red ribbon belt on their wedding dress. This is believed to bring good fortune in marriage, and it’s tied around the bride’s waist by her older brother or father.

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6. Writing Single Women’s Names Under The Bride’s Shoe

In Turkish weddings, the bride’s single friends want her to write their names under her shoes. The bride does so, and at the end of the wedding, they look at the bottom of the shoe. The name that’s most rubbed out is going to get married next.

Takı Takma-Turkish Wedding Traditions-Ling

7. The Gold-Adorning Ceremony (Takı Takma Töreni)

In every Turkish wedding, guests queue to give the newly married couple gifts, either gold coins or money. They pin the gifts to the ribbon that the bride and groom wear. Depending on the budget, family members and close friends usually give gold coins, while other wedding guests give Turkish Liras.

How To Congratulate Someone In Turkish

If you’re invited to a Turkish wedding, you should know how to congratulate the newlywed couple in their language! Here are some common Turkish phrases that native speakers use:

Congratulations.Tebrik ederim.
I wish you happiness.Mutluluklar dilerim.
May your happiness last forever.Mutluluğunuz daim olsun.
May God make you happy.Allah mesud etsin.
Have a long-lasting marriage.Bir yastıkta kocayın.

Find these phrases useful? You can learn more of them with Ling! All you have to do is download the Ling app from the App Store or Play Store and start the free 7-day trial!

What To Wear To A Turkish Wedding

If you’re attending a Turkish wedding, you may be curious about the dress code as well. You don’t want to look too extra or too casual, but you can wear an evening dress of your choice. However, when it comes to the color, wear any color you want except white! Because the only woman wearing a white dress should be the bride.

Final Words

Hopefully, after reading about these Turkish wedding traditions, you won’t be caught off guard by the differences between them and Western ones. After all, that’s what makes them unique! And actually, another interesting particularity is the dancing style. Turkish weddings are not for party dancing, as they usually play traditional songs. So you should consider learning at least a few local dance figures from your Turkish friends before the big day!

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