For the Iranian Turkmen a wedding is one of most important social events in their culture and is still celebrated according to old nomadic tradition.
Even though many customs/rituals are purely symbolic, they still reflect the great significance that weddings have as a rite of transition for the newlyweds and – perhaps even more so – for the families involved. After all, weddings here are primarily arrangements between families, the product of lengthy negotiations.
The life of the Turkmen housewife revolves around weddings – first her own, later those of her children. Raising healthy, capable daughters and sons; searching for possible partners; mediating contact; negotiating each betrothal with the family of the intended; shouldering the wedding arrangements and the observance of customs and traditions – the responsibility for all of that falls to the mother. Though the Turkmen daughters and sons of today do insist on having their say, love, affection, trust and the like are still not the decisive criteria in making a match. The main consideration is not the subjective happiness of the couple but the happiness, stability and honor of each of their families as a whole. So it is still not uncommon for the bride and groom to be virtual strangers on their wedding day. The nuptials as a ritual of transition mark a series of profound changes – especially in the life of the bride. Once married, she leaves her family and her home village to take her new place within the family of the groom.