Hazal & Batuhan| A Turkish Wedding

If you are following my Facebook Page for a while, you probably know that I am from Turkey and go visit my family quite often. For the last 2 years, I started shooting weddings whenever I visit. And I love it! Being away from all my traditions are hard sometimes but it’s such a treat to attend to a wedding when I go back! So here is one of my 2015 Turkish wedding shoot, for Hazal and Batuhan.

Hazal is a friend of my sister from university and she asked me if I can shoot her wedding in Kutahya. I had never been to Kutahya and never met with Hazal, so we communicated through email about her vision about the shooting style, timeline, shooting locations, details… you name it! At the end everything worked out perfectly and they had a beautiful wedding.

Now, how is a Turkish wedding? What are our traditions? With this long post, I will try to explain as much as I can. If you are a Turk and I am missing something, feel free to comment below. Questions are welcome too:) Now, grab a coffee and lean back… here we go!

1st part is preparation. This part is not so different for the bride… hair, make up, getting dressed. We also have bouquets, but we don’t wear garter or something blue, borrowed and old. The biggest difference to me is groom’s preparation. Here in America, grooms can get ready in 30 min. In Turkey, it’s a lot longer. They go to a berber to get a “Groom’s shave” which includes hot steams, massages, detailed shave. They also have a fresh cut and have their hair done. At the end, before leaving the berber, they need to throw in some money for the shop, otherwise they are locked in the saloon, which Batuhan was as seen as in the last part of his photos:)


After the berber, groom gets dressed and meets with the bride. This is something different too. In Turkey, there is no question whether bride&groom will see each other before the ceremony or not. Yes they do, they almost have to. Because they enter the marriage hall together, which I will explain in a bit.

In the below photos, you are probably wondering what the bride is doing with her shoe:) Well, while groom is getting ready, the bride writes the names of her single friends under her shoe. At the end of the night, single girls are supposed to check to see if their name is deleted. If it is, it means that they will get married:)


Once the groom is ready, they meet and check final details before we leave for photos:)


After the photos, bride goes to her family house to meet with all relatives and wait for groom to come to pick her up. This ceremony is called “Getting the Bride” (i guess:) not sure how to translate exactly:) You will see in the photos that later, groom comes with “bride’s car” which is a decorated car that will take the couple to marriage and reception hall.

Groom comes and “gets the bride” from a room where everybody has hidden her:) and the party starts! From now on, they get in their decorated car and followed by their friends and family towards to the marriage hall. During the ride to the hall, all the cars on the convoy horn, which is loud, but it’s also a signage of an upcoming marriage! Also, if the convoy stops in any light, children can approach to the bride’s car and ask for a little tip. It’s the driver’s (aka bestman) job to have money ready in advance to give to the kids:)

4-kiz alma

Now we are in the marriage hall, the ceremony starts. In Turkey, marriage ceremony is not related to religion so we don’t get marry in church or mosque. It’s similar to the court marriage here, which you sit on a table in front of all the quests with witnesses, and answer the question asked by the offical “Will you take ….. as your husband?!” After 2 big “YES!”, the Marriage Certificate (we have a Marriage Book) is given to the BRIDE! and the party starts!


From here on, we have our traditional dances and Turkish songs but reception is a big party as it is in America. Two other main differences I want to mention: We don’t have bridesmaid or groomsmen, even a theme or color scheme in weddings. Also, we don’t have wedding registry or a gift table. As a gift (my husband think that this is the best part!) we give coins of gold, jewelry or money to the couple to either use for their needs or save up for their future:) It’s kind of start of an investment:) To tell the truth, I still have a few jewelry saved from my wedding and I just love to wear them once in a while. Reminds me of my BEST DAY EVER! 😉


Well, this was long! If you’ve come this far, thanks you! I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post about a Turkish wedding:)

Nursah Wood