Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Turkish Delight

Last weekend I ventured down to London, my first big excursion outside of Manchester. Richard's friend recently got engaged to a wonderful girl, whose parents threw them an engagement party. Of course we decided to take this excuse to travel to my favorite city to celebrate.

In case you're wondering, the drive from up north down to London took about 4 hours. Where can you drive within 4 hours?

After a good night's sleep, we ventured around London, hopping between tourist spots using our all-day tube pass. We saw Trafalgar Square, the National Portrait Gallery, Big Ben, and that very special spot where Kate and Will got married just over a year ago. And we finished the night with a show on the West End.

And if you thought our Saturday was fun....

The engagement party followed Turkish traditions, from the bride-to-be's heritage. The guests arrived at a Turkish restaurant, greeted with countless dips and bread. We munched until the happy couple arrived. They were greeted with a standing ovation, which continued through their three laps around the room. They had their first dance accompanied by a live band, and were showered with American dollars, collected and kept as a tip by the musicians. Finally, they were allowed to sit and eat.

After a multiple-course, button popping meal, the real festivities began. There was singing and dancing, followed by a ritual dance. The bride and groom's engagement rings (yes, the groom gets an engagement ring too!) are tied to a pillow. The couple dances with the pillow as do the unmarried ladies attending the party (but the total of girls has to be an odd number), meanwhile the guests shower the dancers with dollar bills. The unmarried girls circle the couple and disperse so the rings can be placed on the couple's fingers and the ribbon joining them can be cut. 

What a night of tradition and culture, great food and company. I left absolutely thrilled for the wedding. If it's half as fun as the engagement party, we're in for an amazing night.

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