I can’t even begin to express how psyched I am for our second wedding. Just the thought of it gives me goose bumps. See, when most people think of destination weddings, the most common locations considered are Hawaii, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and Cancun; but sandy beaches and turquoise waters weren’t on our minds. Our hearts were set on Bora’s hometown, and one of the oldest metropolitans in the world, Istanbul. Istanbul, Turkey is a massive city rich in history that’s survived four empires and two religious transformations. It’s also the only city in the world that straddles two continents, both Asia and Europe. I love the symbolism of its location because it speaks to the coming together of our two backgrounds and families in this beautiful city.
The venue that we chose for our wedding is by far the most exciting component to me. Bora came up with the brilliant idea of having our wedding at the Orient Express Restaurant inside the Istanbul Sirkeci Garı (which means İstanbul Sirkeci Train Terminal). Bora’s father has been dining at that restaurant with his colleagues since the early 1970’s when journalists, writers, and prominent media figures would meet there. The train terminal has been in existence since the late 1800’s and was the end point for the actual “Orient Express,” the first long-distance passenger train that spanned from Istanbul all the way across Europe to London. Ottoman authorities were even instrumental in the creation of this train station. Actual Ottomans walked in the very station where I will be getting married! Yup, its official, that is the nerdiest thing I’ve said to date. Ha!
When it comes to weddings in Turkey, I’ve had the pleasure of attending several of them and they’ve all been swoon-worthy—mostly because they are never casual and always elaborate. I’ve seen firework processionals, cake cuttings with massive swords; you name it. For our wedding we have a few ideas up our sleeves, but I can’t reveal them just yet. Don’t want to ruin the surprise!
Turkish ceremonies are in my opinion the best because they are short and sweet. There is no extensive wedding party, only one witness on each side. The bride and groom come in together and stand before a government official who asks a few short questions. The bride says evet (yes), the groom says evet, and then the party immediately begins. No vows, readings, or candle lightings. You basically get ready to dance the entire night!
Planning for this Istanbul wedding has been straightforward in comparison to our Oakland wedding. Bora has taken the lead on discussions, of course, because he can actually speak the language, and my responsibility has been making sure our friends and my family is all set to travel. So far we have 12 Americans booked out of roughly 30, so we’re headed in the right direction. With the exception of four people, it will be everyone’s first time in Istanbul. It will also be the first trip out of North America for many guests, including my mother. I can’t wait to introduce my mom to the incredible Turkish food, music, sights, and friends who’ve become my distant family. Speaking of, I bet my friends in Turkey will be baffled when they see the change in my smile thanks to my Invisalign treatment. My coworkers occasionally stop me mid conversation to talk about the change in my smile, so I know my friends in Istanbul will be floored. The countdown to Turkey is on!
Disclosure: I have received complimentary Invisalign treatment from Align Technology, Inc. in exchange for blogging about my bridal journey and treatment, and all opinions expressed are my own.