Sunday, September 17, 2017

First Azerbaijani Wedding!

We had heard wonderful things about Azerbaijani weddings - loads of fun, lots of dancing, great food, etc. So naturally I was stoked when we got invited to one of Jason's co-workers wedding!

Here's a few differences we noted, but I'm sure there are plenty others!

  • You arrive late. The wedding was at 6:00 pm and things tend to run late here so I asked around and was told to plan to arrive around 6:30 pm. We hit some traffic and ended up not arriving until 7:00 pm which was still fine as the bride and groom entered at 7:15 pm.
  • There's no walking down the aisle or handing over of the bride. The pair walked in together dressed in similar attire to our Western wedding (tux and a gorgeous white dress) and they had the short ceremony there and signed the paperwork. All of this was broadcast on large TV screens in the wedding hall as we were already seated at our table and being served appetizers. I commented to Jason upon sitting down that it felt like we skipped the ceremony and jumped straight into the reception!
  • There was traditional Azeri dancing until around 10:00 pm when it switched to the disco (more Western style music and dancing). Men and women do not really dance together except for during a couple slow songs. There were two distinct circles - one of men and one of women, especially during the traditional Azeri dances. 
  • The traditional Azeri dances consisted of slight hip movement and hand twisting with your arms in the air. Looked way easy and simple so when I was pulled onto the dance floor by a table mate I was like "I got this". Wrong. It was waayyyy harder than it looked and I was terrible! However, they seemed genuinely happy that I was trying and we were all having fun. 
  • There are no registries or gifts. There is a table outside with envelopes and you give money. You are also expected to pay for your seat at the wedding so you give what would cover your attendance and then anything beyond is your gift. This allows the wedding to be paid for and large since they can invite anyone and not be worried about paying for them. 
  • The food definitely was amazing and plentiful! They don't do a big wedding cake like we do, but have a special dish called plov "rice in pastry shell" and they did a neat dance when it was being served.

  • You can have your picture taken during the wedding, but be prepared to buy the print when they come around a couple hours later. We made sure to take the traditional one with the bride and groom, but declined taking any others. 

It was a really fun night and we had a lovely time!!

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