On Friday Aigul and I rode with a friend 150 km to Aizhan's home town Zhanga Özen (it looks prettier in kazakh, but I don't have their keyboard on my computer)
We arrived in the middle of a wedding feast at a relatives home. The bride and groom were seated around the table with the brides relatives and friends. I walked in and was handed a glass and asked to toast. I was also introduced to all the relations. I don't think I kept any of them straight (sorry Aizhan..).
Then the ladies brought in the besh barmak (above) with noodles and meat.
This here is the bestman.
At the home the groom hides little gifts in his coat and the little girls got to come and look for them. The girls also hide the grooms shoes and he has to pay them money to get them back.
After the feast at home Aizhan and I headed to the hairdressers for her to get her hair done. This happened at about 6 o'clock (the same time that was printed in the invitations as the starting time for the wedding). We spent two hours at the hairdressers and then went back and changed into dresses and arrived at the wedding hall at about 8.30 :) Central Asian time, I guess. At the wedding party we sat among 300 guests with more food and listened to toast after toast after toast from all the relatives and people. I felt bad for the bride and groom who had to stand and smile through hours of this... In between toasts there was plenty of music and dancing. Music loud enough to reverberate off my chest.
At one point Aizhan dragged me up and had me give another toast. This one in front of all these guests! I think I was the only non-kazakh there. But I gave a toast, chatted with the MC (still in front of everybody), had a song sung in English for me and danced with a drunk guy before I could sit down again.
Here are the beautiful women of the Tulegen family. Ulzhan, the bride, is in the middle, in the traditional dress, Aizhan is on the far right.
This party lasted until about 1 am then the ladies packed up the food and we all returned to the relative's flat for the night. The bride is not supposed to sleep in her own home for this night.