Like I've mentioned, the wedding was extremely tiny. Me and Serkan, our witnesses (Sevgi and Murat, Serkan's sis and brother-in-law), Duru (their daughter) and Murat's mom. On Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekend days, couples marry each other in rapid-fire fashion every 10 minutes, from the hours of 2-4 p.m., depending on the district where you marry.
The couples waiting to get married, can sit in the hall and watch the other lovers' commit to one another. This turns out to be great for me, because I was a bit nervous about not being able to understand what was being said. I'd read what the vows should sound like online, but, still, my hands are a little clammy. I don't want to have to do any American-style repeating vows after the judge in Turkish. It's nice to be able to see the process live once before actually doing it myself.
Then it's our turn to go up to the podium-like table. The kindly judge dressed in a red cloak with gold embroidery sits at the short side of the table and Serkan and I sit on the long side of the table facing the transient audience, who shuffle in and out of the wedding hall. We lay down a tremendous bouquet of roses and Easter lilies, which my family sent me and which arrived just as we were all squeezing into the car to zoom to the wedding hall. Much to the joyful surprise of Murat, who kept marveling that the flowers came all the way from America!
(In fact, my aunt and uncle were even scurrying to find ways to come all the way to Turkey for the wedding, with only a couple days' notice. Yep, I was feeling loved, alright. It didn't pan out, of course, because it takes at least a day to make the travel, and they had barely double that amount of time to make the arrangements. Plus, I can only imagine the cost would be, as the star-lovers say, astronomical. In any case, all our loved one were with us in spirit and energy.)
They place microphones in front of us and make us test them out. Bir iki üç. One two three. And we begin. The vows are QUICK. And go something like this, in Turkish, of course: Heather, daughter of Mark Poyhonen, you met Serkan Yalın and you liked him, you two fell in love and now you wish to spend the rest of your lives together. Do you, of your own accord and free will without any outside pressure, take Serkan as your husband? At this point, because the judge has been so nice to us, and didn't make us hire and pay for a pricy official interpreter, he queues Serkan to translate to me in English. Serkan translates, we smile, I say evet. The judge says to say it louder and into the mic. Serkan translates. I lean forward and say EVET, and everybody claps.
Then he asks Serkan the same thing. He says evet and again EVET. Then Sevgi and Murat also respond affirmatively, though we don't remember what question they were responding to. The judge wishes us well. More applause. He hands me the wedding certificate, because, you know as a woman I'm boss, at least inside the home. Then we head outside into the sunshine, and we are married. Good times.
There are a handful of pictures on Flickr, though we don't have many. We hope to get a few more pictures from the professional photographer shooting throughout the tiny 'ceremony' when we return to Istanbul.
Wedding mini-collection of pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/florasol/sets/72157622250599566/