Well this week I officially became a Mrs. Something I’ve managed to avoid for 48 years but even the most determined commitment phobe has to give in at some point in her life. I had always joked that if I did it there would be no fuss and I would go back to work afterwards and just change my email signature. Even thought we had been together awhile whenever anyone asked when we were getting married I would tell them the next time it snowed in Fethiye – I figured that it hadn’t snowed in 20 years I was probably safe.
Turkey is unusual in as much as they believe that a marriage is a contract between 2 people and nothing to do with God. Mosque weddings are not recognised and technically an Imam is not supposed to perform a Mosque wedding until after you have had the civil ceremony. In the area my husband comes from lots of people only have Mosque weddings but in the area where we live a Mosque service is often used as an engagement with the civil ceremony at a later date.
Wedding number 1 was in December 2010 – a Mosque wedding and although we had talked about doing it there was no planning and it was all very spur of the moment. We were spending a few days in Antalya when we met an Imam convention in our hotel. We got quite friendly with them and on our last day my husband went for a swim and came back with an Imam – literally…… our Imam friends had asked if they could perform our ceremony – so with 30 minutes notice – no dressing up and no planning we had our Mosque wedding – an Imam performed the ceremony and we had 2 other Imams as witnesses. We were on the bus home when my daughter text to say that people were posting messages on Facebook to say it was snowing in Fethiye and to ask when I was getting married – I had to text her back and tell her we had done it 2 hours earlier. She was a bit put out that I hadn’t mentioned it to her first.
We planned to follow up with the legal bit quite soon afterwards…but life got in the way and we were both busy and then it was spring and my best friend from the UK said she was coming in September and we thought it would be nice to have the ceremony when she was here. She cancelled and then it was October and my husbands home town was hit by a massive earthquake, Although we were lucky and didn’t lose any family members he lost about 40 close friends and again we decided that it was the wrong time. So finally in September we went to Antalya to the British Consulate to apply for my Certificate of non impediment and to post the banns – and back again 3 weeks later to collect the piece of paper and get it stamped at the Governors office to allow us to marry.
Things are never straight forward in Turkey – we had to go to a few Government offices to get bits of paper completed and signed and were both sent for blood tests to make sure we didn’t have any nasty diseases or anything genetic that we could pass on to our children. They took one look at me and decided that I didn’t need a test – obviously I’m unlikely to be having anymore babies but my poor husband and to have the full range done. We were told they would be back within 24 hours when in fact it took 4 days. He was busy at work the witnesses we wanted weren’t available. Eventually it got to the stage where everyday we were discussing it…would we be able to fit it in? If so what time? Finally on Monday night this week we decided we would do it on Tuesday – our witnesses were available and we had a couple of hours free – luckily you can just turn up at the Registrars office and you don’t have to pre-book. Can’t imagine the UK ever coping with that system but it seems to work here. My Mother in Law sent me some wedding gold – it was totally unexpected but a lovely gesture.
Finally on Tuesday everything fell into place and at 11.25am with just us and 2 witnesses I officially married my lovely husband. I even remembered to call my daughter and tell her we were off to get married. We had a traditional Turkish Breakfast in town and then as per my original plan we both went back to work. The bride wore a cream shalwar kameeze and the groom wore grey trousers and a black shirt. It was a lovely warm sunny day and one of our witnesses wore shorts. It was very casual and just about us – no fuss no stress just a simple ceremony.
For anyone who has ever attended a Turkish wedding you will know that they are usually a lavish production – the bride wears a meringue dress that wouldn’t look out of place at a gypsy wedding, there are wedding singers and a drummer and about 600 guests – I’m sure many of our neighbours think we are really odd but it was the day we wanted and that’s the most important thing. Our weddings our way.