Azerbaijani Wedding

Baku Travel Blog

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The little girl on the subway.
     A friend of a friend needed a photographer for his wedding and I was asked if I could do it.  It was a Sunday and I was offered 50 Manats for the job so I agreed.  I cleaned all of my lenses and the CCD unit on my Sony a100 the night before along with charging all of the batteries.
    My friend met me at the Baku Soviet subway station on the wedding day.  I was told to avoid the subway as several years ago it was subject to Armenian terrorism.  The subway is actually very nice and clean and is probably the most affordable way to make it around Baku, aside from using your feet.  A pass of 20 rides is only 1 manat.
    On our way from Baku Soviet, a family of four sat across from us.
Pre-wedding ceremony
  There was a little girl who was perhaps two.  She stared at me.  I waved, but she must not what to think of a redheaded American dressed all in black.  Her mother was trying to get her to wave at me, but she merely continued her gaze.  She was a beautiful little tot and with her mother's permission, I took a few photos of her.  She got a slight grin when seeing herself on my camera.  When her family departed, she waved goodbye and was off.
    We eventually made it to rendezvous point.  After about 40 minute wait and a quick lunch of lemuchen (spelling?), we meet with the groom and we were off to pick up the bride.  It turned out the groom and the driver were from Naxcivan, my former home of a year.
The married couple
  Everywhere I go, I seem to meet someone from the embargo.
    While I went to several wedding parties in Naxcivan, I was never privy to the traditional ceremonies before the parties.  There is a procession of cars, each honking its horn constantly as it drives to its destination.  Up arriving at the bride's residency, everyone exit their vehicles.  A small band playing traditional Azeri music starts performing.  The bride and her family await for the groom in their living room.  It was a little crowded in the small living room with families, friends, the videographer and me the photographer all jostling for space. 
    After everyone got settled, the traditions begin.  I am not for sure the significance of each act, but it was different.
At the park.
  First, a young man passed a red rope over the bride several times before tying it around her waist.  A young woman cut some red ribbons over the bride allowing them to fall into her hair.  Afterwards, the mother and another older woman do something with shoes and a small candle was lit. 
    After getting the family out of the room, I took some shots of the bride and groom.  Before living the living room, a young girl and boy carry lit candles in front of the couple as they exit to their car. 
    We went from the bride‚Äôs home to park and got more shots of the couple with their families.  Afterwards, we were off to the party.  I will say that the drive to the restaurant was very exciting and scary.
One of the little cherubs of the wedding. Is it just me or is anyone else reminded of the bee-girl from the Blind Melon videos?
  As I have mentioned before, Azerbaijani drivers are often reckless and cars in a wedding procession take it one step further.  Red lights are ignored along with the dividing line.  I felt as though I was filming a remake of the French Connection.
    When we made it to the restaurant, I was able to wait inside, but the couple waited in their car until the place filled up.  As it got fuller, the couple departed their vehicle.  Upon entering, some young girls dressed as cherubs toss flowers and follow the couple into the room. 
    There was no exchanging of vows, merely someone speaking as the bride and groom and witnesses signed a paper making them officially married.   Rings were exchanged and the groom kissed the bride on her hand.
Azerbaijani dancing.
  Then, the couple danced together surrounded by the cherubs. 
    Part of the wedding party is each group and family get their picture taken with the couple.  Luckily, I did not have to take those.  There are photographers who pay the establishment to take them.  Traditional Azeri music is always played at weddings, along with much Azeri dancing and eating and drinking. 
    Afterwards, I made it home and downloaded close to 500 photos onto my computer.  Some were awful and out of focus, but many of them were not too bad.   The great thing that I love about owning a Mac is it comes with iPhoto and it makes correcting some of my not too good photos into something better.  I spent about three hours editing some photos and deleting others.  Not a bad night. 

IceTea says:
I love to read about weddings in other cultures. But it's even better to attend them. You didn't mention the food... I would've just mentioned the food haha.
Posted on: Apr 09, 2008
Marius1981 says:
intresting!

btw i had a few problems at work today, coz i was just readin yer blogs (starting from the 1st one), and forgot bout workin. but really its great, i cant eait to read them all :)
Posted on: Apr 09, 2008
mellemel8 says:
that is so cool to see a traditional wedding. macs rock :)
Posted on: Aug 27, 2007
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The little girl on the subway.
The little girl on the subway.
Pre-wedding ceremony
Pre-wedding ceremony
The married couple
The married couple
At the park.
At the park.
One of the little cherubs of the w…
One of the little cherubs of the …
Azerbaijani dancing.
Azerbaijani dancing.
Baku
photo by: RJawad