The night before the wedding everyone gathered to celebrate the joining of Dano & Ayse.  In Turkey, it’s a tradition for the bride’s family to host a night of henna which is a sort of farewell to the bride.   Sentimental songs are played, everyone dances, the women have henna done on their hands, and the bride wears a red veil so that in case she becomes emotional, she can do so while hiding her face.  I had never seen such a beautiful spiritual ceremony of celebration and I was completely moved. Dano also had henna done on his index finger and it was tightly wrapped in fabric and could not be removed for 24 hours.  We all ate a huge meal, drank wine and learned the Halai, a Turkish folk dance.  It was incredible!

This is Ayse looking gorgeous before the party began.

The party got started during dinner, as evidenced by Ayse’s aunts doing the Halai while sitting down and eating.

Our communal eating

This is Cubra.  She was the daugther of one of the farm’s caretakers.  Quite possibly the cutest little girl I have ever met.  We were obsessed with one another.

Ayse and her ceremonial dress

Breaking it down

Party!

The Halai

This is Dano’s friend, Evren, with a bottle of Raki in his pants.  Raki is the traditional Turkish liquor and it is awful, unless you want to drink black licorice.

During the middle of the party, we stopped and made a tunnel of red scarves so that Ayse could walk through and with her red veil.

Candles and henna were brought out.

Ayse wearing the red veil

This is when the bride and groom have their henna done…

And the candles are passed around to the women.

And the more dancing!

More of the Halai

Ayse’s outfit change.  She actually bought this vintage dress when she was visiting us in Los Angeles last year.

Lovely Katie and I

Ayse’s family taking a breather

It was an awesome night.  Next up, the big day.