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Georgian Wedding 

All You Need to Know about Georgian Weddings

Attending a wedding ceremony is quite exciting to the guests, most of whom aren’t even aware of how much preparation went into making the day a success. To the bride, the groom and their respective families, it can be one of the most stressful days in their lives.

Everything must be perfect, so, at the end of the day, everyone goes home happy. If you decide to have a Georgian wedding, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.

First of all, you need to know that Georgians like celebrations - they even celebrate small holidays. This means a wedding will be a huge event. In the olden days, Georgian weddings lasted for days.

Today, they can take a whole weekend, especially in cities. The weddings get packed with lots of activities to ensure everyone enjoys - traditional dances, toasts, folk singing, loud music, and of course, food and drinks.

The Engagement (Nishnoba)

Nishnoba or engagement is the first step that leads to a wedding ceremony in Georgia. At this stage, a boyfriend is supposed to visit his girlfriend’s parents and ask for their permission to marry the girl. In some cases, the nishnoba acts as a pre-wedding celebration. In such cases, the families of the bride and groom meet for introductions.

A Huge Guest List

The traditional Georgian wedding is quite entertaining and beautiful, especially when the wedding organizers observe all the original Georgian customs. First of all, Georgians usually invite many guests to their wedding ceremonies.

The number can reach several hundred. Even distant relatives get invited. And when asked to attend, you can’t afford to miss the wedding. If you miss the ceremony, the inviting party will consider it a big insult, and this may create enmity between the two families.

In Georgia, the family creation process can be broken down into three stages: marriage proposal (machankloba), betrothal (nishnoba), and wedding (kortsili). Even though today's parents don’t take part in choosing the groom or bride for their children, they still play a significant role in the family creation process.

For example, both family and relatives must approve of the marriage. They only consent to the union after finding out as much as possible about the families from which their son/daughter wants to marry. Betrothal can never take place before the two concerned families approve of the marriage.

The family of the groom is supposed to cater for all the wedding expenses. The financial status of the bride’s family is usually not taken into consideration. The bride’s main assets that are valued include good temper, thrift, piety, purity, and modesty. 

The Bride Picked by The Groom

It is a norm in Georgia for the groom to be accompanied by his best friend to go to the bride’s parents to pick her up. There is a small reception during this visit, and the head of the bride’s family, the bride, and the bridesmaids greet the groom's team. The groom's group drinks wine. After that, the team drives with the bride and her bridesmaids to the wedding ceremony. The groom is supposed to be in Chokha, traditional Georgian clothes, which make him look more masculine. The bride usually wears a white dress.

Lots of Driving and Walking

The weddings in Georgia comprises of two components: the civil component and the religious component. These two components don’t follow closely, so the couple can take their time before moving to the next step. They can drive through the streets, waving their hands to the onlookers from the top of their car.

Their close relatives and friends (makrioni) would be driving behind them, screaming and honking their vehicles to produce as much noise as possible that can reach several kilometers away. The couple can also take a walk and present themselves for photo sessions.

The Meal with Many Courses

The reception takes place after the civil marriage procedure. The couple, together with their guests, drives to the reception venue. There, the celebration begins with the couple breaking a plate at the door of the venue. Everyone then gets in and sit at their designated places, and the toast begins.

The family’s head chooses the person to offer the main toast. This person is called the “Tamada”. A short introduction takes place before the tamada toasts, starting with the newlyweds. He then invites other guests to do the same. In these toasts, the guests refer to the groom and the bride as queen and king (dedopali and mepe).

At the supra (feast), the caterers serve the meal in several courses, and it is accompanied by continuously flowing wine. The wine is usually strong, and many guests end up very drunk. It is not unusual to have some guests engaging in fights during or after such a feast. But these fights are never taken seriously.

Dancing at the Feast

Georgians like to dance, and a wedding ceremony provides the best opportunity for dancing. They want traditional dances, mainly the Georgian or Qartuli. This dance is full of romantic elements.

The bride moves gracefully, exposing her softness while the groom performs many sliding moves with his feet, keeping his upper body static. Other forms of music also form part of the entertainment, and you’ll most likely hear the Ensemble Kutaisi - Makruli song played.

Leftovers Day

Usually, the feast lasts until midnight, or it may go up to the morning. The following day, the guests again gather at the groom’s father’s home for what is called the leftovers day or a namtsetsoba.

In this small feast, only the close friends and family of the couple attend. The food eaten here are the leftovers of the feast of the previous celebration, and that’s where the feast gets its name. When the bride finally enters the groom’s house (their house), the groom climbs to the roof of the house and sets free a white bird.

The bride is then presented with a plate to break at the door of the house before entering. The bride then “surveys” the house accompanied by guests and witnesses who throw grains at the corners of the house to make it prosperous. Lastly, they present the couple with “chiragdani” (wooden ornaments).

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