Virus dents big, fat Turkish weddings

ISTANBUL (HRNW) – Her bridal hair and makeup done just right, Ayse Keles looked ravishing and relieved: she managed to sneak her wedding day in before Turkey’s latest wave of coronavirus restrictions hit.

“I have a close friend who had to delay her wedding five times,” the 28-year-old said in her white bridal gown while preparing for a photo shoot on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Since premarital cohabitation is frowned upon in the mostly Muslim but secular country, lavish weddings with fancy cakes, sparkly dresses and wild parties are a huge deal, laying the foundation for a new life for millions.

But the joyous day drew the government’s wrath when videos of raucous street parties with mask-free, arm-to-arm dancing went viral just as Turkey’s infection rate began to edge back up to levels last seen in May.

In the Black Sea city of Trabzon, dozens who celebrated henna night — a wedding custom gathering the bride’s female friends and family before she leaves her mother’s home — all had to be quarantined after one of them tested positive.

The government’s hammer fell on September 4, when weddings, engagement parties and circumcision ceremonies were limited to an hour in length and banned from having dances or serving food.

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