In Azerbaijan, weddings have never been a religious occasion but a cultural one, steeped in beautiful traditions (and also tremendous fun).
For example, in the West, before the wedding, the guy will usually ask the girl’s dad for permission; here the groom and his family go to the bride’s house to ask her parents for her hand (it’s more symbolic than anything else). The two families meet around the dinner table and tea is served- if the tea is served sweet, then the bride’s family has given their blessing; if it’s bitter then bad news for the groom.
This week I’m in Baku for my friend’s wedding. The formula in Baku is the as same everywhere, with a few things thrown in…
- Take one happy couple
- Invite family and friends… and their family and friends for good measure
- A mountain of delicious food. It’s pretty standard to have 7 courses
- An extensive entertainment programme of live music in Russian, English and Azeri, as well as dance acts. Followed by an afterparty after the main event
- Spend half the month preparing, if you don’t look like a guest to the Oscars, you’ve failed at being an Azeri woman.