Monday, May 30, 2005

The Wedding Day

Yesterday was the long-awaited wedding day for Murat and Amina. There is so much to tell about it that this will be a long post with lots of pictures. However, I wanted the first picture to be of their wedding invitation. What made this wedding so special--other than the fact that Amina and Murat are two very special people--was that almost everything was attended to either by the couple, or their families, or close friends who loved them. Their wedding invitation was no exception; it was printed and prepared at home. Amina studied marbling as her senior project last year. By the end of the year, she was able to produce beautiful tree and flower motifs which now adorn the walls of Ayca's house. Of course, it took her several months to master marbling, and she had a lot of practice sheets leftover from her project. It was Murat's idea to use these for the invitations. The result was these original, one-of-a-kind invitations that were the bride's own handiwork.

Sunday turned out to be a lovely day; it was sunny yet not too hot, and most importantly, despite the weather predictions of "few showers", it did not rain! A group of friends gathered at the dergah in the morning, and under Ayca's careful supervision, prepared and decorated the entrance of the dergah, the tent and the tables. Meanwhile Aisha and I transported the cakes to the dergah, and Aisha started to build up the tiers. The picture below shows her hands cutting the plastic straws that support the cake. After she placed the other 2 cakes on top, she hid the seams of the tiers with piped decorations. It was such a relief to have someone as calm and experienced as Aisha to do this part and to have Fatima around to help, as I was already nervous about whether or not a few plastic straws would be able carry this heavy cake for the following 6 hours.

After the assembly of tiers and piped decorations were completed, Aisha decorated the cake with fresh flowers.

Around noon, our friend Mehmet arrived with his car loaded with all kinds of goodies. He zoomed into the dergah kitchen and cooked up a storm of a wedding buffet. Unfortunately, I do not have a good picture of the L-shaped buffet table, but I can personally vouch that it looked very beautiful and festive, and everything was very delicious.

After the wedding ceremony ended and we had our pictures taken with the new couple, we leisurely had a Turkish feast. Then it was time for dessert. Fatouma had made her famous almond baklavas. And of course, there was the wedding cake! Three people carried the cake outside. Needless to say, its short trip from inside the dergah to the garden seemed nerve-wreckingly long to me. The picture below shows the newlyweds cutting off the first slice.

And here is the cake in its entirety. Do you notice how the bottom 14" cake looks a different color than the above cakes? This happened because the neoclassic buttercream we used for crumb-coating ran out when it was turn for the 14" cake, and we had to use the lighter color white chocolate cream cheese buttercream instead. The 14" cake was still a little cold when we served it. Six hours outside was not enough to cool it down to room temperature.

This picture was taken while the cake was being cut into slices. It shows the straws used for support, and demonstrates how bigger cakes are cut into concentric circles first, and then to individual slices. This requires expertise, and Aisha rose to the occasion once again. I was busy running after Rana at the time. (Unfortunately, Zeynep was on her class trip, and could not be at the wedding. At times such as these, I appreciate her help with Rana more than ever.)

Here are the slices of cake served with Rose's raspberry sauce. I only had a bite of it from Mehmet's plate, and without the sauce. Despite my fears it was not dry (thanks to the 7 cups of syrup I sprinkled on the cakes), and the raspberry flavor was evident. I am sure that it was even better with the sauce. Many people commented that it was delicious. What a relief!

All in all, it was an incredibly beautiful day. It really brought us together as a community, and reminded us once again that we have so many reasons to be thankful for. I really felt priviliged to be able to contribute to this celebration. For me, it was a great experience and a very valuable learning process. In retrospect, I really think that the whole experience would not have been as beautiful if it were not for the failures in the beginning with the baking of the cakes. It is a little bit like baking itself. You know how a pinch of salt is always added to a cake batter to ensure that the finished cake does not have a flat, boring taste.

I want to finish this long post by a picture of something sweet: Amina and Murat's wedding favor, a bundle of traditional almond dragees and a chocolate kiss. May the newlyweds always be happy, healthy and prosperous! And last but not least, I want to thank you reader, for your support throughout this journey. It was invaluable.