Thursday, May 29, 2008



I inherited a whole set of sweet teeth from my mom. I turn into a five-year-old when it comes to a piece of food that contains sugar. Living in a city with a bakery on every corner, you would think that I would be in wedding cake heaven. Well, Turkish cakes tend to be a little different than their American, French, or Italian counterparts. The cake is not sweet enough to me. The frosting is usually fondant (I am a buttercream fan), and many cakes have nuts and fruits and sugar glazes. While these cakes are delicious in their own right, they are not wedding cake material. I mean, I am even happy with a simple cake from Publix. But, alas, there is no Publix here. Not to mention, Celal doesn't even like wedding cake!

We attended our friend's sister's wedding last summer and they had this gorgeous mountain of cream puffs covered with an oozing layer of the chocolate sauce (called profiteroles) instead of a traditional wedding cake. While a majority of the bakeries here serve profiteroles and you will see it on many restaurant menus, we called her up to ask where they ordered theirs, as it was especially delicious. Well, it was done by the place where they had their wedding, but she suggested that another bakery, Manolya Pastanesi, is even better, and many have called it the best place in Istanbul. Since Manolya means magnolia in Turkish, and my cousin and I have had a longstanding obsession with the Magnolia Bakery cupcakes in Manhattan, it just seems right. We have also spoken with our wedding coordinator at the location and she will ask their chef if he will do the mountain for us. Fifty pounds of cream puffs sounds like a good idea to me!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wedding, wedding, everywhere

We are here! Just a little busy. I made it back safely to Istanbul after my two-week visit to Florida, along with my wedding dress. I love my dress! It is not your everyday wedding dress and not what I had pictured, but I think it is perfect. I tried on so many dresses and shoes there that I nearly swore off shopping for life. I still have yet to find shoes, among other things...

Just one of the dresses I tried on , and what I had in mind when I started shopping..

We met with another wedding organization company yesterday and we think she's the one! We (well, mainly I) are having a hard time deciding on a wedding theme. I thought we had it figured out until we put it all down. The overall gist of the theme will probably be a "romantic garden" theme, but achieving that is another story ( that I don't know yet). Hopefully Ebru at the wedding organization will be able to provide some direction for us. It is quite different here with weddings, as most couples pretty much have the same thing - luxurious and over-the-top. They don't seem to focus a lot on the little details, like the types of flowers, or a theme. There are a lot of lilies, white, and organza organza everywhere. Not to mention, the DJ's standard setup includes a projection screen (for the obligatory slideshow) and "volcano" fireworks for the couple's entrance. In our opinion: tacky.

If I had my pick of flowers it would be peonies and roses, but unfortunately peonies only have a short season in late May through early June. The ones that the gypsy sidewalk sellers have are also quite a bit smaller than the peonies I prefer. We are still trying to decide on a color theme, and will probably be including hydrangeas, one of my summer loves, and perhaps some lisianthus. Instead of throwing rice or blowing bubbles at us after the ceremony, we are thinking of having dried lavender, which smells heavenly! I also love the smell of jasmine so maybe we will be including that as well. Every day I have to remind myself to not get too caught up in the details, but I'm sure most brides go through the same stress as I am. I never imagined the stress that wedding planning would bring. Sometimes I just feel like I am going insane. Luckily, Celal is very helpful and supportive of his little bridezilla. We will persevere!

I also just received news that my cousin and her hombre got their tickets to come here! I can't wait to go salsa dancing!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Mr. Celal & Miss Jennifer

My mom's old friend's daughter works for a movie company and knows this guy that works at a gossip magazine (similar to US Weekly). She told my mom she could have this guy come to our wedding to do a little feature on us. I don't know if I like that idea but I will accept the offer if we are on the cover. Otherwise, I need to think about it. What does Paris Hilton have that we don't??? I am sure the lines will be similar to this under our picture while cutting the cake: "The biggest steel trader and fabricator of Turkey, Mr. Celal, married the famous American artist, Miss Jennifer." Jen will only be in the magazine if they say she's a famous artist.

I am going to pick up the rest of the invitations and envelopes this week and we will start giving them once Miss Jennifer comes back.

I may be the biggest steel trader and fabricator of Turkey but I still have time to post here while I am at work. Now, that's something! I need to work...

Monday, May 05, 2008

Turkish wine charms

After going on a real scavenger hunt for materials, starting at Michael's, leading to Bead Need, Tuesday Morning, and then AC Moore, we finally were able to get started last night on our little wine charm project. Here are some photos of the progress. We have just finished up about 90 of the little charms in six different colors. We are not certain about the final design on the charms, but tentatively they will be as pictured (perhaps with gold accent beads, or beads all around). What a fun project!

The memory wire and turquoise color beads. The word turqoise is believed to have originated from the French word for "Turkish," describing the beautiful blue waters of the Mediterranean shores of Turkey.

We found these Ottoman-looking beads at AC Moore.

Putting together the charms

Artisan at work (my mom)

The six different colors of charms: Turquoise, deep purple, pink, green, gold, and chocolate brown

A completed sample design

Head. Spinning. Need. Sleep.

I finally have a chance to write! I arrived safely in Florida late Wednesday night and have been going nonstop with my mom ever since. I am the luckiest girl in the world to be marrying my prince, the one I love with all my heart. I just wanted to say that before I go into the mundane details of wedding planning because it is really all about our life and future together... not the color of the favors or the flowers or the dress that I wear. Anyway, I am having so much fun (of course, missing my sweetheart and talking to him as much as possible).

On Friday, I tried on my first wedding dresses. It was such an amazing feeling to see myself as a bride! I also tried on a few dresses today, and I may have found the one. It is somewhat difficult to decide because most of them look pretty to me. Also, it's been kind of funny in the stores - other people in the stores ask when the wedding is, and when I say July they say, "This July?!!!" I suppose it is not customary here to plan a wedding in a few months, whereas it seems to be the norm in Istanbul. Of course they ask where the wedding is as well, and one lady was too funny with her southern accent saying, "ISS-tan-bull?! Why'd you wanna do that?" Besides that, I am also trying to buy a dress off the rack, as they say. I had some idea that dresses take a while, but most of them take months to order! This industry is ridiculousness. So, I have cut my selection down a lot (which is actually a good thing since I have the worst indecision disease). We will also be checking out Miracle Mile down in Coral Gables this week, and then I will have to decide.

We have just been running around to all different stores looking for little things like favor boxes, envelopes, thank you cards, flower girl baskets, little beads and parts for these wine charms we are making... my mom and I stayed up until 1am tonight making the little dangle charms for them. We took a few photos but I have no energy to plug the cable into the computer and turn on the camera and... yeah. Not happening now. Anyway, I think they are going to be a beautiful little accent at the tables. I know I am the only one that cares, but it's fine with me :).

Yesterday was my mom's birthday also, though we still spent all day running around for wedding stuff. Then we ate at Brio's, a delicious Tuscan restaurant, with delicious non-Tuscan bread and a variety of Italian dishes. I certainly can say that it has been nice to have such a variety of food (and variety of everything, actually). We have variety in Turkey, but not like here.

That's all folks. I am off to bed...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The hairdresser didn't make the cut

This morning started with a phone traffic. Making a wedding guests list is a tough job! I talked to my mom, uncle and grandma to finalize it. After an hour of discussion we came up with the final list.

Normally, Turkish weddings are huge. I mean HUGE. Two years ago my friend's wedding had 235 people. Last year my other friend's wedding pulled 285 guests. This is pretty much the average amount of guests at a Turkish wedding. You might think that is a lot of guests, but listen to this: My brother's friend is having a wedding this summer and one thousand guests are invited!

We even talked about inviting my mom's doctor and the hairdresser to our wedding. (My mom's doctor made the cut.) Another issue with making the list is the chain. If you invite this specific person, you need to invite others. Then if you invite those people, you have to invite some more people. When I thought I was done with the list, grandma added eight more people (and she already told most of them they were invited). Luckily my mom removed two of them. I will still have some people that I have never seen in my life in my wedding. Well, you need to make your family happy too.

The Today Show

I just arrived in Florida late last night and my mom woke me up to tell me that Matt Lauer is broadcasting live from Istanbul this morning! It is day four of his "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" segments on the Today Show. Here are the links:

Where in the world is Matt Lauer?
Lauer takes a quickie tour of Istanbul
Istanbul: What you need to know
Fascinating facts about Turkey
In the Blue Mosque of Istanbul
A whirlwind tour of Turkey
Tempting Turkish dishes
How to go to Istanbul

Slideshow: Where in the World is Matt Lauer?

Text: Istanbul: Where East Meets West