Turkish wedding gifts

  • Published
  • By Mehmet Birbiri
  • 39th Air Base Wing Host Nation Adviser
Question: Mehmet, one of my Turkish co-workers is getting married soon. What is the traditional gift? What can I give as a wedding gift?

Answer: Choosing and giving the right gift for any occasion always gives me a headache. The same gift for the same occasion might please one person and not another.

Choosing a wedding gift is totally a different process. It depends on how close you are to the individual who is getting married or to the family. If you are close to the bride's family you can get one of the main items of the household; like a refrigerator, oven, television set, washer ... etc. since the bride's family is in charge of preparing the trousseau. Or you can offer the family to help them financially in buying those items. In fact, financial support would be the most appropriate gift because the family could use that money for other wedding expenses.

If you are not that close to the family and do not want to spend much money for the gift, the best thing to do is give money or gold bracelets, necklaces, chains or gold coins to the bride and groom. The newly married can could use that money to cover their immediate expenses and keep the gold for future expenses. For instance, when they want to buy a house, they can sell the gold and have a down payment for the house.

The gift giving section takes place toward the end of the wedding ceremony,. The bride and groom stand on the dancing floor and the guests offer their gifts. The gold bracelet, chain or necklace is worn by the bride right there. In fact the ones who present those pieces help the bride put them on and try to proudly show the audience what they have given as a gift. If you want to give money, using a pin, you attach the money onto the dress of the bride or suit of the groom.

Gold coins are attached to the bride and groom the same way. Gold coins purchased for that purpose are specially prepared. A red ribbon and a tiny safety pin are tied together with the coin. You can easily attach the coin to the dress or suit with the help of the safety pin. Gold coins are called "Cumhuriyet Altini - Republic Gold Coins" and they come in three sizes; full, half and quarter. The cost of a full coin is about 180 YTL, half coin is 90 YTL and quarter is 45 YTL now-a-days. The cost changes daily depending on the market.

Mostly, a shawl or a fancy long piece of cloth is worn by the bride and groom before the gift giving ceremony, thus money and gold coins could be attached and the dress and suit are not harmed by the safety pins.

If you are not able to attend the wedding ceremony, you can visit the newly married couple in their new house later, at least one week after the wedding, and give them their gifts. That gift could be, again, a gold coin or an item that could be used in the house, usually not money.