“Here Comes the Bride”

Announcements of engagements and weddings come through fairly predictable forms in North America these days. The engagement proclamation in a local of newspaper includes the names of the man and woman and their parents, as well as a general description of both the man’s and the woman’s education, current jobs, and their wedding month and year. The notice sometimes states the couple’s plans for their future home. Above the announcement, there is usually a photo of the happy-looking pair. Sometimes they announce their intentions to their church community. In Anglican and Episcopalian churches, such notifications are called “the reading of the bans.”

A fancy card in a mailed envelope is a common method of inviting family, relatives, and friends to a wedding. Nowadays these seem to arrive with either directions to the location(s) of the ceremony and reception or a slip of paper that has a map on it.

While none of these methods for announcements existed in the Ottoman Empire in 1914, customs for announcing a wedding existed. On the day of the wedding, a man from the groom’s family went to the home of the bride. After blindfolding her, he and other male members of the groom’s family led the girl, often no older than twelve years of age, from her parents’ house through the streets of the town to the church for the wedding ceremony (1971. Everyday Life in Ottoman Turkey). According to tradition, the bride was to look sad (1991. Turkish Reflections.) Keep in mind that the bride may not have even seen the face of the groom before her wedding day.

Traditional expectations were also influenced by the fact that Armenian girls were often the victims of a kidnapping by the men from the groom’s family. So an escorted bride was supposed to wail during her circuit through the town’s streets because the men were ‘stealing’ her away from her parents’ home.

Hmm. A very different method for a public announcement of a wedding, wouldn’t you agree?

But all these traditions were exterminated the summer of 1915.