Turkish Weddings Traditions | Arranged Marriages in Turkey

By | on 17 February, 2012 | 21 Comments

Arranged Marriages in Turkey are very common and I know that these types of marriages get a lot of bad press.  However the Arranged marriages you hear about in the press are about people who are forced to marry against their consent.  This is where the difference lies, between arranged and forced marriages.

On our recent trip home to visit my husband’s family our Nephew who had just recently returned from the army decided it was time for him to be married.  He spoke with his family and asked if they could help him to find a wife.

My family quickly got to work calling round all the family and looking for a suitable bride for our nephew.  Each night due to us visiting, our family would gather and after a while they would take to their phones.

Eventually after many phone calls a girl was found.  There was much excitement at the prospect of maybe finding a partner for our nephew.   It was quickly arranged to go and visit the girl and her family. It would be several hundred mile drive across Turkey to meet her.

So we waited to hear from the elected family members who had travelled to meet the girl’s family to see what the verdict was.

Eventually we got a phone call and heard that she was lovely and that both her and our nephew liked each other and seemed to be getting along.

The next day we were informed that they would be engaged, it was a little quick as some people prefer to wait a little while and get to know each other a little more, but both our nephew and our new niece agreed they would be engaged before our family party had to leave.

We are now all looking forward to their wedding this summer and meeting our new niece and her family.

For some this may be a dreadful way of getting married but for some it’s a better way to find a life partner.  After all marriage can not just be sustained on love alone, my husband and I are a love match.  Where as my sister and brother in laws are all married through arranged marriages and they are all very happy with their respective partners.  Through their marriages they have fallen in love, found respect for each other and friendship.

I know how long it took me to find my Husband and maybe family knows us better than we think and perhaps having an arranged marriage would have saved a lot of heartache in the long run.  But would I be the person I am today without those experiences.  Those are questions that can never be answered.

I am not sure I would go for an arranged marriage myself.  But there is something to be said for them after all sometimes your family know you better than yourself!

What are your thoughts on arranged marriages, have you had experiences of them?  I would love to hear your thoughts and stories on arranged marriages please comment below.

Image: Rosen Georgiev / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Author Description

Hi my name is Kerry Arslan and this is my blog a Housewife's Guide for Living in Turkey. I came to live here with my Husband in 2010 and started my blog at the same time to share my stories of living in Turkey and the things that happen along the way. Turkey has a wonderful history and is an amazing mix of new and old. There is never a day goes by which you don't learn something new about this lovely country.

21 Responses to “Turkish Weddings Traditions | Arranged Marriages in Turkey”

  1. 17 February, 2012

    EarthLaughsInFlowers Reply

    This weeks article is about my Nephew looking to get married through an arranged marriage. Arranged Marriages… http://t.co/AMdHY4wE

    • 12 July, 2013

      Sevgi Reply

      I hope Ahmet will be patient enough to wait for me until I arrive in Samsun. I know that long-distance relationship is never easy that sometimes, letting go is easier than fighting. I just hope that he’ll never get tired of fighting. Few months to go honey, I’ll be there :( Have yet to finish my Turkish class and save money. seni cok seviyorum sonsuza dek. sonsuza dek

  2. 17 February, 2012

    EarthLaughsInFlowers Reply

    RT @earthlaughs: Turkish Weddings Traditions | Arranged Marriages in Turkey http://t.co/dDErNEsw

  3. 17 February, 2012

    Joy (My Turkish Joys) Reply

    Interesting article, Kerry! Thanks for sharing! I’ve heard about the arranged marriages here, but yes only the bad press. I’m not sure if I could have ever gone through something like that myself as I’m quite independent and stubborn. Thank goodness I found a great man to put up with my traits. =)

  4. Hi Kerry! Arranged marriages aren’t so common in Ankara. But I do know of people in smaller cities. Interestly, one will be married today. She is in her mid-40’s. Her first husband passed a while back. Her kids are grown. And her brothers found someone for her. I find it hard not to judge.

  5. 17 February, 2012

    Natalie Reply

    You hit the nail on the head in your second paragraph. Many associate an arranged marriage and a forced marriage to be the same thing. Once the difference is described, people understand the situation more. If arranged marriage suit some couples then so be it but I am glad I found my own partner in life.

  6. Duke Dillard

    18 February, 2012

    Duke Dillard Reply

    You explain this so well. We love the movie Fiddler on the Roof, especially the “Do you love me?” song. It gives such a good picture of arranged marriages. Here in Cappadocia most of the older generation’s marriages were arranged but not so many of the younger ones unless they are from smaller villages. Thanks for sharing this story about a younger person following the traditions.

    • 19 February, 2012

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      @ Duke Dillard I love Fiddler on the Roof, I only watched it a couple of months ago. It’s been really interesting for me watching the process and speaking with my nephew to understand why he is taking this approach. We have to go through it all again as one of our many newphews is also now in the market for wife.

      @ Natalie I think it’s important to make sure people understand the difference Natalie it’s not all bad and we can all become a little one sided in our views through the news and media at times.

      @ Terry I hope the lady had a lovely wedding. Have you seen the wedding programs on TV here, there are always a lot of the older ladies and Men looking for a partners. To me these programs are no different to how our newphew’s arranged marriage was organised just privately and he liked the first girl he met.

      @ Joy I am glad that I had what my hubby calls a Love Match with him, not sure I could do the whole arranged marriage it’s a big enough step getting married with someone you know than with someone you have only met a couple of times.

  7. 18 February, 2012

    Duke Dillard Reply

    Turkish Weddings Traditions | Arranged Marriages in Turkey http://t.co/MHFt7wd7

  8. 18 May, 2012

    carole Reply

    My husband, Hasan, has a friend who’s mother found him a wife from her village, he comes from the black sea area I think, but lives in Kusadasi now. He went one weekend to meet her and went back about 2 or 3 months later and married her. She is really nice, they seem really happy and have a small son now. She does rely on him a great deal as she’s from a small village and I think she finds it difficult going out alone in a town. But this has been a successful arranged marriage so far.

    • 21 May, 2012

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Hi Carole

      Our nephew marries this weekend to and they will start their lives together. I was thinking the other day how scary it must be for his new wife. She will move from her home, to live with him. Not only a new town, a new family and a new role she will have to play. And such a gamble you don’t know if you will like everyone and how it will work out. I found it hard enough moving to Turkey to be with the man I love. I can’t think how this girl feels just now.

      Kerry xx

  9. 23 April, 2013

    brainiac3397 Reply

    I think the problem stems from people assuming that arranged marriage means that both sides have no say in the matter. In fact it’s quite the opposite. The only thing the “arranged” part means, as I’ve seen, is you yourself aren’t really finding a mate but friends and family are doing it for you. Of course this has it’s advantages in the sense that you’ve got an entire “intelligence bureau” going around scouting for a suitable spouse.

    • 27 April, 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      That is very much the case, my Nephew and his wife are very happy and I wonder if they would have found each other if it had not been for the family. I think sometimes they know you better than yourself!

  10. 8 November, 2013

    Montxo Reply

    Amazing…They are “happy” because they are ignorant about the other ways they could use to find a partner. Likewise, many (not all) “pretend” to be happy….but just lie so not to “dishonour” the family and them selves. And, trust me, many apparent “just” arranged marriages are forced infact but the psicological control over yourg people (especially girls) is so strong that they just accept their destiny… Kerry, I also love Turkey, but I wont lie to myself about its crazy male-dominant customs… People has the right to live their life. Anyone needs their family to find “love”…

    • 28 November, 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Montxo their is more than one way to do anything in this world. Some choose this way because of their beliefs or wants. Its not for us to judge.

  11. 8 November, 2013

    Montxo Reply

    Sorry, -No one needs their family to find “love”…

  12. Well today my Turkish man is being forced to meet somebody for a prospective wife. I am sitting home alone in England, wracked with anxiety as to whether is loyalty truly lies with me, as he says, or his family and very old and sick mum.

    • 24 May, 2015

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      I feel for you, it must be really hard for you. Unfortunately its the tradition here and family ties are really strong. My fairly modern husband reverts to traditional when ever we head to his home and its very frustrating. Its a point of honor to the family and if he doesn’t follow through it may cause a big issues between his family and another.

      I really hope he is able to convince them that this isn’t for him and you are the one for him. They may realise he is in love and let him choose for himself.

      Thinking of you x

      • Thank you Kerry :) x

        He told me yesterday “He’ll know in a few days”. I totally understand his dilemma regarding his strong family links and their cultural traditions, as I’ve had the family battles of my own for 3.5 years! However, I’m not prepared to let his family control my life any longer and I really can’t continue to live on a knife edge and my nerves, as it is making me ill. After 3 days of constant tears, sleepless nights, followed by chats last night with some extremely loyal and loving friends, I’ve decided he has to let me know today where his loyalties lie. It may sound harsh from my end, but his family have met me and they apparently like me, but it’s all about my choice not to have children that’s upset the apple cart! And you know how they are about having a family.

        Thank you for your support and thoughts Kerry x

        • 25 May, 2015

          Kerry Arslan Reply

          I would exactly as you are doing. You have the right to know he can’t leave you in limbo. To me it’s fairly simple he is either going to stand by you and tell his family or he’s not. There is no this and that.

          What I would say is don’t back him into a corner. If it’s something I’ve learned is men will take the easy road.

          This will be the telling point for you both, if you stay together it will make you both strong and if you don’t then see it as a chapter in your life and it will hurt but you will know yourself better by the end of it all.

          Chin up, stay strong, look after yourself x

  13. 2 July, 2015

    Diana Reply

    My opinion is that, in order to make the arranged marriage work, one needs to be willing to get married and into the idea of marriage more than the person itself. I guess that kind of marriage has a unique strength in that. While for the rest of us, we mostly get married to spend our life with that particular person, those who marry in such manner put this idea of marriage more highly, and this is more suitable for the close knit communities where you marry into a family rather than just with that one man or woman.

    Personally, it is a nightmare for me, but I guess there are people for who this is the only way.

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