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No more Big Fat Wedding: Turks struggle to be wed in times of the coronavirus

From bejeweled masks to dummy brides, Turks struggle to combine tradition with new social distancing rules.
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - JULY 01: Groom Okan Barut and bride Oya Kulaksiz wear face masks as they take part in their wedding ceremony at the Kadikoy Municipality marriage office on July 01, 2020 in Istanbul, Turkey. Restrictions on Turkish wedding halls were lifted on July 01, 2020 after being closed for months due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Turkey continues to slowly ease restrictions after recently reopening, cafes, restaurants, parks and inter-city travel.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Two mannequins — one dressed as a bride and the other as a groom — stood at the entry of a sober wedding hall in the town of Saray in Tekirdag province, the European part of Turkey, on July 5. Visitors wearing face masks pinned gold coins on the blonde-wigged dummy bride and banknotes — either Turkish liras or dollars — on the groom under the watchful eye of the real bride and groom who sat at a safe distance, both wearing masks.

A cheeky Twitter user compared the photos of this coronavirus wedding as “a scene from ‘Black Mirror,’” alluding to Netflix’s dystopian science fiction anthology. However, the newlyweds Sinem and Sinan Dag were simply trying to reconcile tradition with the Turkish government’s new regulation on weddings during these pandemic times. Weddings were once again allowed in Turkey as of July 1 following a new regulation that carefully outlines new rules that aim to assure social distancing.

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