As wedding halls across Turkey prepare to reopen on July 1, a string of new regulations by the Interior Ministry will likely dampen the festive mood. Regulations sent to governorates of 81 provinces call for strict measures against COVID-19 both for parties inside the wedding halls and outside.
Wedding parties will be short and held outdoors as much as possible while guests are required to wear masks and sit at least 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) apart from each other.
Turkish weddings are usually lavish and peppered with an abundance of customs, from giving gifts to the newlyweds to hours of dancing which every guest should perform, sometimes alone and sometimes together. Shaking hands or kissing the bride and groom is also an inseparable part of wedding ceremonies and guests line up for it. Meals or snacks are served for hundreds of guests.
New regulations leave little room or time for fun, like a ban on dancing, apart for the newlywed couple. This means the halay or other traditional dances performed en masse with guests joining hands will be absent from parties.
Before congratulating the family of the couple welcoming guests to the parties, guests will have their temperatures measured and those with high body temperature will be instructed to visit the nearest hospital. Wedding halls will provide staff for this practice. Guests will also be delivered hand sanitizers before entering the hall while every table inside will have cologne or hand sanitizers. Wedding halls are also required to distribute masks to guests not wearing one.
Handshakes and hugs are banned and gifts – usually gold coins and jewelry – will be required to be placed in a box, instead of attaching it on the dress and suit of the newlywed couple.
Mass photoshoots of guests with the couple are also banned and guests can only take a photo with the couple by adhering to social distancing.
Wedding halls are also required to hold weddings in one day with at least one hour between two weddings, to enable proper ventilation of the building. To the chagrin of children who prefer playing instead of joining adults dancing, playgrounds in wedding halls will be closed.
For wedding parties not held in wedding halls, organizers or families of the couple will sign a contract with authorities that will serve as a pledge to comply with rules.
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