It still seems amazing to me that this happened at all, but this is one of the best things about travelling – you just never know what’s going to happen. I suppose I should say that we knew about the wedding two days before leaving, so I did have a suitable dress with me, but somehow my dad didn’t remember to bring either a tie or a jacket, so my mum and I spent that morning looking all over Tbilisi for a tie – apparently they aren’t big in Georgia. Anyway, when we arrived at the reception, not a single man there was wearing a tie (almost none of them even bothered to tuck in their shirts), so we were feeling reassured that it was a casual affair. Then we walked into the reception hall and saw this.
The place was set for 250+ people, and the tables were already covered with food. And I do mean covered. There was salad, fish, bread, cheese, vegetable appetizers, jugs of amber wine (there are four colours of wine in Georgia: white, amber, red, and black), bottles of juice and water, and probably a bunch of other things besides. It was a feast. And then Irakli told us that this was just the cold dishes. Sure enough, we’d barely even started eating when more dishes were added to the table.
The funny thing, though, is that nothing is ever taken away. Instead, they just pile dishes on top of other dishes, and if you want what’s underneath, you just lift up the plate on top and get it. Basically, every table becomes its own buffet, which is amazing. It may have been the copious amount of wine I drank (you have to drink for every toast, and people just continuously fill your glass back up), but I found this very amusing.
Anyway, the reception itself is really interesting. There is a toast master in charge of delivering long formal toasts throughout the evening (he had a microphone, and it took us a while to figure out where in the hall he was), and in between his toasts, these four divos would come out on stage and sing (very loudly). Mostly I think they sang traditional songs, but every once in a while it would be something more lively and people would get up to dance. The bride and groom also danced a traditional Georgian wedding dance, which was quite something, and by the end of the night my mum and I were being pulled onto the dance floor and being shown the traditional moves. I’m not sure we were very good at it, but it was fun.
By the end of the night we had eaten, drunk, and danced just about to our limit, and the next day started very slowly, to say the least. We’re in Yerevan, Armenia, now, but more about that later.
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