Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Big round belly

Since Jen is going to Florida tomorrow, today was busy. We went to see two wedding organization places to check out what they had for the decor. Then we went to pick up the invitations. We love them! However, there was one thing wrong. The ribbon on it was 1mm thinner than the sample one they showed us and supposedly there is a color difference that I cannot see. YES! Jen caught these details (and I thought I was anal). Imagine the next three months... GOD HELP ME! We also went to pick up the ring (after having it resized) and ate an out-of-this-world beyti kebab at a nearby kebab (kebap in Turkish) restaurant. The owner of the restaurant loves to talk and read Turkish coffee fortunes. It will sound weird but he is a cute man with a big round belly.

Monday, April 28, 2008

From there to here by kayak

Bebek, Istanbul

We are SO excited to hear that some of you are actually considering the trip for the wedding! It will certainly be good times. After I get an idea of who is definitely coming I'll have more information as far as what type of stuff we can do (sightseeing, eating, lodging, etc.). I would love to spend some time to show everyone around the city and make it a memorable time. One night to mention that is already in the works is the Henna Night (Kına Gecesi), which will be the Saturday before the wedding and hosted by Celal's mom. More details about that will be posted soon.

For flights, I have found that is usually the best. The main airport here is Istanbul Ataturk International Airport (IST). From NY, both Delta and Turkish Airlines have direct flights (about 10 hours), which are listed at $1368 right now (however, just last week I checked and there was a direct Turkish Airlines flight for $760!). There are a few cheaper 1-stop flights as well, starting at about $1200. From FL, flights are about $1400, though there are no direct flights. A few one-stop options are British Airways and Alitalia, but Alitalia sucks. From CA, I haven't done too much research, but I believe the tickets are about the same, and there is also a one-stop flight through British Airways and probably others from LAX.

Unfortunately, the summer months are the most popular and most expensive, and it costs about half as much in the winter time, as is generally the case with travel to any European country. Unfortunately, I'm just not a winter wedding kind of gal. For those that are going crazy about oil prices, the ticket prices haven't changed too much in the past few weeks, surprisingly enough. (In addition, gas here is about $10/gallon. Cars are also 2.5x more expensive than the States. And traffic is still worse than LA.)

That's all for now folks! Hasta luego!

Iznik tiles, Topkapı Palace

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Strawberry Jell-O

Turkish School: Celal

I am sure most of you have no clue how to pronounce my name and even Jen is still perfecting the correct pronunciation of her future husband's name. So, here is a little lesson.

I have heard so many versions of it such as Chela, Cecil, Silal...

Here is the proper way:

Celal (JE-lal) Yes, kind of like J. Lo
Celo (my nickname) (Jello) Yes, like strawberry Jell-O

You want to know how to say my last name? You will need to pass few classes with at least a "B" first.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Wedding Wednesday

A few good reasons we are having the wedding on a Wednesday...

1. WEDnesday.

2. We don't have to oblige to a minimum of 200 people at the wedding. Do you know how many cheek kisses that is?

3. I cried like a little baby to have a good photographer. We researched till the wee hours of the morning trying to find one in Istanbul. We fell upon a few that were mediocre, but most of the styles were cheesy and look like they were shot by a drunk uncle with his 3.2 MP digital point-and-shoot. I decided for us that we wanted a wedding photojournalist and thus narrowed the selection even further. We searched and searched on WPJA's site and fell in love with Bartosz Jastal, a Polish photographer. He ended up being booked every weekend this summer, so we decided on a Wednesday. There you have it. Our photographer and his assistant are flying from Poland for our wedding! We are so excited!

A princess forest!

After nearly exhausting an ever-shrinking list of outdoor venues for the wedding, we decided to drive over and see Cemile Sultan Korusu. The photos online looked decent and we had a few other places to see that Saturday, but since it was the closest to our house we decided to check it out first. As we gayly sang in unison to George Harrison's "I've Got My Mind Set on You" on the radio, we just had a feeling about it, and we were right. It has a beautiful view overlooking the Bosphorus, the second bridge, and Rumeli Hisari (a medieval fortress). It has a beautiful breeze. There are rolling hills of grass and winding roads through the wood and rainbows and unicorns. The pictures do not do it justice. So, we decided then and there.

We later fell upon an interesting story about the property. The gist of it is that Cemile Sultan was a princess (one of 37 children!) born in 1843. When her dad became a Sultan, he bought a palace for her on the Bosphorus. Korusu means "grove" in Turkish, and it describes the property behind the once-existing palace. Unfortunately, they destroyed the seaside palace in 1914 because the taxes were too high and the large mansion in the grove burned down in the 1952 and was not rebuilt. Well, after it has been sold from owner to owner, the property is now rented by the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce and is used as a members-only social club (pool, tennis courts, park areas, restaurant, etc.). We can't wait!

Turkish school: Four eyes

Dört gözle bekliyoruz (dirt GOES-lay BEK-lee-your-ooze) - We can't wait!
(literally - "We are waiting with four eyes!")

Hoş geldiniz!

Welcome to our super fantastic wedding blog! We plan on posting here throughout the next few months before the wedding with rants, raves, and other useful information for our national and international guests and fans. We are already in the whirlwind of wedding planning and are just finishing up the invitations, so if you're on the list you'll get one in the next two weeks.

Turkish school: Welcome!

Hoş geldiniz! (hoesh GELL-diniz) - Welcome!
(literally - "You come with coziness")

Hoş bulduk! (hoesh BULL-dook) - Thanks!
(in response - means "We find coziness here")

Thanks for visiting our blog and please check often for updates on our insanity.

With love,
Jen & Celal