Turkey belted at the shores of the Mediterranean Sea is a country rich in unique culture and
traditions. The uniqueness of Turkey lies in its straddling both Europe and the Asia continents.
If you choose to call it a melting pot of culture, you are not wrong. A better way to relish the
uniqueness is to attend a traditional Turkish wedding. Attending a wedding in Turkey will enable
you to understand what to expect from Turkish traditions and customs when it comes to getting
married in Turkey.
Dating in Turkey
When it comes to dating, don't expect it to be precisely the same way it will be in other parts of
the world. The cultural diversity of Turkey makes it such a unique country not only in the
Mediterranean region, the Aegean region as well as the Black Sea region. If you are moving into
Turkey for the first time, expect a culture shock which you are not familiar with as far as dating
Though Turkey is a secular country, it is also a very conservative one. It is widespread for
families to arrange marriages between would-be-couples in rural areas. As a foreigner, the first
turkey culture you will encounter as far as dating is concerned is the ritual of an empty milk
bottle on the rooftop.
The singleness of the ladies would be advertised on an empty milk bottle and placed on a roof.
The ritual helps to draw the attention of eligible bachelors in the town that there is a single lady
ripped for marriage in such abode. Any man who successfully knocks off the bottle from the
rooftop could ask for the brides’ hands in marriage. Of course, before this, it would be
established that the girl has attained the age of marriage. Knocking the bottle off the rooftop
helps to access the man's marriage suitability. Both financially and his ability to cater to the girl
and her children when they eventually arrive.
According to regions, other dating rituals unique in their way abound. There are regions where
the prospective husband's family will judge the girl using several factors. One of such factors is
her ability to make a good coffee. In some places, a girl's dowry can be determined by how much
she weighs. To attract a considerable bride price, the girl's family expects her to gain weight as
much as possible.
The girl's virginity status can play a massive role in the wedding traditions and customs, though
much mostly dependent on the region. For this, you will hardly see young girls in pubs and bars
in rural areas as her virginity status could be called into question.
The tides in changes have, however, effected some changes as far as dating in turkey is
concerned. Cultural conservatism is still very much active place despite the rise in online dating
in the cities.
Wedding Engagement in Turkey
In Turkish traditions, the couple parents not only determine but also organize the marriage
ceremonies and the type of marriages to be held. This practice though prevalent in the Eastern
part of Turkey, these days a large percentage of Turks choose their life-partners. If you are
planning a marriage in turkey or your better-half is Turkish, you need to acquaint yourself with
how Turks organize Traditional Turkish Weddings. Some processes are involved as far as a
wedding engagement in Turkey is concerned.
● Meeting of The Parents
Once the intended bride and groom have made up their mind that they want to be together, the
first step is for both families to meet. The host family is expected to entertain their guest to the
best of their ability. For this, the involved parties take some days off to ensure the occasion is a
memorable one. The meeting of the parents is formal, and great importance is attached to it.
The families dressed in their best clothing for the big occasion. On the D-day, the meeting point
is usually the brides-to-be family where everyone is expected to converge. The would-be bride
family members would prepare the food and assist her in getting ready in anticipation of the big
event to come.
● Presentation of Turkish Coffee
What is a Turkish engagement without the availability of chocolates and flowers? The
prospective bridegroom’s family arrive at the would-be bride's home with a bouquet and a box of
chocolate to make their intentions known. The presentation of coffee is very symbolic. It shows
their intent to ask for the lady's hand in marriage for their son.
After the proper introduction, the bride parents will put her to the test of making a Turkish coffee
for the visitors. The making of the coffee is to determine if she is going to be a good wife.
A typical Turkish coffee has bubbles in it, and the girl would be asked to add some pints of salts
into it. The countenance of the groom-to-be while sipping the coffee is very important. The bride
parent will test the facial expression of the groom-to-be to determine his ability to persevere in
Once both parties have reached an agreement to marry, the bride's family will throw an
engagement party for them. With a lot of fun-fare, the intending-couples would exchange rings
as a sign of their engagement.
Organizing a Turkish Wedding
Turkish weddings come with a lot of fun-fare irrespective of the part of the country it is taking
place. How organized and extensive it becomes depends significantly on the type of marriages to
be held. If the wedding holds in the rural area, the fun-fare can last for three days.
The serenity and communal bond associated with rural life coffers the status of a community
celebration on the wedding. On the day of the wedding, the traditional customs demand the
women engage themselves in preparing foods for the guests.
On the other hand, the men play traditional musical instruments much to the delight of the
wedding guests who hitherto would dance long into the night. Lest we forget, the wedding takes
place in the grooms’ family, and they are fully responsible for paying for the whole event as the
customs and traditions demand.
However, the groom's friends contribute their quota, which could be monetary or through
wedding gifts towards the success of the wedding.
Usually, on each first day of traditional weddings, the Turkish flag is hoisted in the village
square. Afterward, the party begins proper, starting from two fronts—the bride and the groom
family homes. The significance of this is mainly for the two families to introduce themselves and
taste the last moments they would be spending together as a family.
Turkish wedding tradition in urban areas bears semblance with what is obtainable in other parts
of Europe. The change over the years has been as a result of the influx of foreigners getting
married in Turkey. Just like other parts of Europe especially the west, in the urban areas, they
hold the wedding ceremony on the same day as the reception as well as the cutting of the
wedding cake in the presence of the couple’s friends and families. After this, the newly married
couple embark on their honeymoon the next day. Although modern marriage is eroding the
traditional wedding in Turkey, quite a number of the populace still embrace traditional and rural
A Typical Turkish Wedding
Weddings are an integral part of any culture, and Turkey is one of such. The traditions that
herald any wedding differ significantly from one country to another, but the uniqueness lies in its
rich and flourishing culture. In Turkey, two types of marriage exist.
The civil marriage and religious marriage. The religious marriage is not legally binding in some
places; for this, people opt for the civil marriage these days or both as they deem fit. One
remarkable feature of a Turkish wedding is the fanfare that goes with it. Days to the wedding, it
is not unusual to see parents from both families trying to buy property in turkey for the would-be
A Turkish Wedding Gift
Unlike in some countries, guests in a typical Turkish wedding are selective of the gifts they give
the marrying couples. The guests present them with coins and banknotes. It is usually a big day,
and jewelry sellers have specific coins they sell on such occasions—the gold coins. The gold
coins serve as the wedding gift.
Attached to the gold coin is a silky red bow attached with a pin. Red is an embellishment of good
luck and good fortune. Summarized below are some of the common traditions and customs
Turkish weddings are known.
The Wedding Dress
The wedding dresses are very significant as they are the first fashionable wears young girls are
allowed to wear in Ottoman culture. However, these have changed drastically over the years, and
white dresses are gradually becoming the traditional bride dresses these days. In a typical
wedding, the bride-to-be wears a bridal veil adorned with red bows fixed to her dress. On the
other hand, the groom can choose to wear a tuxedo or a suit.
After the signing of the documents (wedding certificates), the newly married couple take to the
dance floor for the first dance much to the delight of everyone. The customs demand the close
relatives (females) to accompany the bride carrying a basket adorned with red. The bride cycles
her guests after which all the female relatives and female guests present will paint her hands and
palms with henna as a sign of good luck.
Henna Night ( Kina Gecesi )
It’s Called kina Gecesi in Turkish, the henna night is a rite for embracing marriage and bidding
bachelorhood farewell. The henna night is a deep part of Turkish culture and takes place the
night before the wedding.
They adorn the bride with henna on both hands and feet after which the celebration continues
with further fun-fare. Primarily, the henna night is seen as the night burn henna to protect the
couples from being from evil.
Writing names on The Sole of The Bride’s Shoe
Just like the tossing of the bouquet is very common in so many countries of the world, writing
names on the sole of the bride’s shoe is by far the most common tradition in Turkish weddings.
The bride maids form a line to have their names written on the sole of the bride’s shoe.
Naturally, the first person to have her name erased will be the next person to get married. As
against the throwing of the bouquet to the bridesmaids, you can add flavor to your wedding. You
need not be Turkish to try this out.
The Maidenhood Belt
Traditions in turkey speak volume of its rich heritage. The maidenhood belt tying is one that is
essential to every Turkish wedding. For the bride to join the procession, a male figure usually the
bride’s brother will assist her to tie the maidenhood belt ( Bekaret Kusagi in Turkish ) around her
The tying of the maidenhood belt is done three times before the bride will join others in
continuation of the wedding.
The Nuptial Chamber
In other to consummate the marriage ceremony, the couple is led by the bride's family into the
nuptial chamber otherwise called Gerdek in Turkish. The nuptial chamber is the last step in the
wedding customs, and an older adult undertakes it by holding the couple's hands after the
opening ritual prayers.
After that, the bride's family will make the foods to be eating by the couple. The consummation
of marriage that follows this ritual lies in the proof of virginity. An absence of blood on the bed
linen could lead to issues where the bride may be sent back to the bridegroom's home by her
Fetching the Bride
Gelin Alma or to fetch the bride is one of the final processes to be executed before the intending
couples to be considered as husband and wife. Put, guests will go to fetch the bride from the
brides' fathers' house.
If the distance is close, it can be done on foot if not the guests will use cars. A procession of
people playing drums, pipes, and other musical instruments accompany the fetching the bride
ritual. Depending on the region, older women are responsible for dressing the bride up.
The Exchange of Rings
The exchange of wedding ring is a universal phenomenon, but in Turkey, the exchange differs.
The uniqueness of the wedding rings exchange in Turkey lies in the fact that the couples do not
exchange it on the same day as the wedding. As against the popular name, it is called Alyans in
Turkish. The Ring exchange is a component of the engagement. To be fully considered effective,
an elderly member of the family ties the two ends of two Alyanses to the couple’s right finger.
Specifically, on the fourth finger. The exchange of rings accounts for the reason some couples
still wear the ring on the right fingers as against the traditional left fingers in many countries.
The Car Convoy
Initially, this tradition was done using horses on wedding days, but modernism has changed that.
Right from the bride home, a convoy of cars will drive right behind the bride car to the wedding
party or reception venue.
Adding to the fun, children will occasionally block the convoy to get money from the bride and
groom. With their face beaming with smiles and excitement, the couple will happily part with a
token in an envelope, then proceed to the party.
Local Dances, Drums, and Horns
This tradition is still very rife in some cities, although the popularity is waning rapidly. The loud
drum and horn are used to announce to the neighbors that there is a wedding coming up, and all
should get ready to dance.
Pregnancy and Birth in Turkey
Like in many other cultures of the world, it is expected of a married woman to start having
children almost immediately after marriage. A delay to this effect will elicit unwarranted
questionings from the groom’s family.
In Turkey, the birth of a baby is very significant in many traditions depending on the region.
After the birth of the baby, both the mother and the baby will be prevented by culture from
leaving the house for an initial 40 days.
The delivery of the baby comes with a celebration galore that will see close friends and
neighbors gathering to drink. Several other traditions regarding pregnancy and childbirth exist.
One of the commonest surrounding the birth of a baby is the belief that for the baby to be a
devoted person in life, its' umbilical cord must be buried in a mosque by the parents.
Turkey is a country rich in wedding traditions. It doesn’t matter if the wedding is a white
wedding or a traditional Turkish wedding; the bridal party is always one to remember. As a
foreigner nursing the ideas of traveling to Turkey to attend a wedding or hoping to get married in
Turkey, it is desirable of you to have a Turkish resident permits. Buying property in Turkey
should be an option you should consider enjoying the fullness of the luxury the Mediterranean
country has to offer you. Weddings in Turkey are full of remarkable sites to behold to make your
stay worthwhile if you are a tourist.