I’ve got married! Sophy and I said “Yes!” to one another at the end of August 2019. Our Georgian wedding gave my life a whole new dynamic and meaning. The ceremony of course was arranged in the local style, something I will now tell you all about.
I have already talked about my Georgian roots in the past – I was raised on countless tales of my family’s Georgian past, something I always took very much to heart. I am constantly discovering new things about my ancestors – and now know for certain they lived not far from Tbilisi, in the historical town of Mtskheta, which centuries ago was the capital city. In three local churches – Jvari, Svetitskhoveli and Samtavro – my ancestors were baptised and I suspect they could have gotten married here also. We needed three generations for me, a descendant of the Tumanishvili line, to then experience one of the most important days of my life in the very same spot.
Getting married in Georgia reinforced my bond with the lands of my relatives. I have spent the past decade establishing a future for myself right here, a future I now plan to spend with my beloved Sophy. But before we reach this future, let us revisit the amazing days of my Georgian wedding, which require a few words of description and explanation.
How to get married in Georgia?
Arranging a wedding in Georgia is somewhat different to doing so in Poland or other parts of Western Europe, even if there are some elements which are shared or else very similar. There are of course numerous aspects which are familiar or identical. The contrasts come from things like the fact that Georgia is an Orthodox Christian nation, and so one gets married in that particular faith. This then leads to other variations, which are incredibly interesting from a cultural point of view. Let me now go into these differentia specifica and mention the paperwork – this might prove most useful to those also planning Georgian nuptials…
Organising your marriage ceremony in Georgia
We began preparing for our nuptials with Sophy on the 13th of June, which was a couple of months prior to the ceremony. A little late, but with the aid of our families and friends everything went smoothly. Through her family connections we met Laka, a wedding arranger, also known as a “wedding planner”.
Laka took care of everything from A to Z: she prepared the wedding invitations, planned the menu and ordered the wedding cake, hired the hall and coordinated the whole process of decorations, setting up tables, etc. She also scripted the event, including the timing of our arrival at the church, the games played following the wedding speeches and then monitored everything was done as pre-planned. Her assistance was essential – we would never have been able to plan and prepare so many things in so short a time. I will now tell you about the details involved in organising weddings, as well as various surprises we had to deal with as the preparations went on and got closer to the big day.
Civil and church marriage in Georgia
Our wedding celebrations were spread over two days: 26 August 2019 we got married in a civil office (iustitsiis sakhli), and on the 31st of August made our vows in Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Just as is the case in many other countries, couples in Georgia have different attitudes to the business of getting married: some only choose the civil ceremony, while others, including us, arrange things in traditional fashion, involving both civil and religious ceremonies. I am consciously not using the term “church wedding” – as I have already mentioned, Georgia is an Orthodox Christian state and all religious ceremonies take place in Orthodox chapels, therefore I think that the term “religious ceremony” is a more apt term.
Civil marriage in Georgia – formalities and processes
Civil ceremonies in Georgia take place in legal offices – iustitsiis sakhli. Such a ceremony is not particularly grand, involving the signing of purely formal documents, lasting no more than a quarter of an hour. The documents you will need:
- Georgians – ID card
- Foreigners – legally verified translation of personal ID and birth certificate, along with an apostille, which confirms the documents in question are authentic.
Additional information about legalities and fees can be found here Georgia.gov Marriage Licenses.
In my case, because I run a business in Georgia, the process was a little simpler: photocopied documents along with my apostille and sworn translations into Georgian were in place. But because I wanted my best man to be a Pole, I had to provide the iustitsiis sakhli with a photocopy of his passport, translated into Georgian – though this did not need to be verified by a sworn translator.
And so the happy couple visit the iustitsiis sakhli offices in the morning, relevant documents to hand – this will be somewhere in the local town hall, where much other legal and civic business is conducted. This is a great solution, very modern and forward thinking. The civic offices tend to be massive, serving crowds each day, but everything goes most smoothly, for each department has plenty of staff serving it. The iustitsiis sakhli files the required documents, once we have registered in one of the dozen windows and been called to the right place with our numbered ticket. Once this happens, we sign the correct contracts – and are thus married – once the documents are signed by us, as well as Sophy’s three witnesses and my friend Krzysztof.
Thus Georgian civil weddings have little in common with those conducted in Polish civil offices, where a room is reserved for the couple getting married and their guests, while a formally dressed government official (wearing a huge chain on their neck) orates a pre-prepared speech, drafted by the couple, followed by the exchange of rings and music, wishes and fanfares. Nothing like this happens in Georgia, and anyone expecting the event to go with a bang will be disappointed to find the civil weddings here are rather simple and officious. Anyone wanting something more special, can pay an additional 300 lari – the official will then read the marriage act and hand over some flowers. The actual marriage contract is signed free of charge – we went without any additional processes.
We approached the business of the civil ceremony in a very formal sense, perhaps even in a slightly blasé way. We even dressed for the occasion: Sophy was wearing a simple black dress and heels, while I was wearing pants, a patterned shirt and shoes with sporty soles. Our friends were also dressed informally, as if going out for a city walk – which is the way it is done in Georgia.
Religious marriage ceremonies in Georgia – formalities and processes
Getting married in church in Georgia is, very much unlike the civil ceremony, a very formal and grand affair, the ceremony itself filled with symbolism, very spiritual, rather theatrical, especially considering how richly decorated the Orthodox temples here are.
From personal experience I can confirm that in the larger churches, where several marriage ceremonies can be conducted simultaneously (!), the mystical aspect of the proceedings can be somewhat dimmed. Everything is over quickly, in a very processed, almost mechanised fashion. Having said that, each and every marriage ceremony is the opportunity to do something special, involving some ambitious and complex arrangements. What then does a Georgian Orthodox Christian wedding look like in practice?
Preparing for the ceremony
Before the day of the Orthodox chapel wedding came, Sophy went back to her family home for the night. Her parents had allowed us to set up home together following the civil ceremony and signing of our marriage contract, which was mighty tolerant, open and trusting of them with regards to our union. In a certain sense, it was also a breach of the cultural regulations in place in Georgia – though these are more liberal in her family’s case, seeing as she comes from a multi-ethnic family, mixing together traditions which are Georgian, Avarian and even Polish. But coming back to my point: Georgian women live with their parents right up until they get married – be this in a civil or religious ceremony. Being firmly controlled by their families, they have to be polite, humble and save for their husbands that which is most precious. The custom is that she stay in the family home until the parents allow her to move out, following the wedding ceremony, transferring to her husband’s home. There are no intermediate solutions to this arrangement in Georgia: no living with boyfriends, long-term partners or fiancée. And yet, that which would in the West be perceived as a limiting of personal freedom, in Georgian culture comes from a special sort of concern for girls whose purity has to be closely guarded and nurtured – even, or perhaps especially, in the raging 21st century. More on this topic can be found in my article Sex in Georgia.
That night in Sophy’s family home had a cultural, and also purely practical, dimension. The whole morning was taken up with preparations: barber, manicure, make-up, dressing, constantly interrupted by the arrival of more guests. For that day, in line with tradition, the doors to the bride’s home had to be wide open to anyone who wanted to give her a kiss, a hug, or of course have a drink to toast her new life. Wherever families are preparing for a wedding, there is a table set up with alcohol on it – all friends and neighbours can pop in to raise a glass and toast the young couple. Word is in some Georgian homes countless crowds gather on the morning of a wedding ceremony!
Sophy and I were to see one another at noon, in a hotel near Mtskheta – with a beautiful view of the cathedral in Svetitskhoveli, where we would be married, along with other local temples – Jvari on the hill, the convent of Samtavro and the remarkable beauty of the Caucasian mountain ranges behind them. This was where I was preparing for the ceremony, and where we would return for the wedding reception. I got to the hotel with my best man, mother and friendly camera operator – Danila (who shot the drone footage for my films Skiing in Georgia and Gudauri 2018). I got changed and waited for Sophy on the hotel terrace, and standing with my back, as in the movie Titanic, I awaited the moment when she would stand behind me. And when I turned, I saw the most beautiful being in the galaxy. Soon after, filled with excitement, we set off to meet our shared destiny…
Ceremony in an orthodox church
We got married in the picturesque town of Mtskheta, in the 11th century Svetitskhoveli cathedral, also known as the Georgian Wawel castle. This beautiful temple hides a great number of interesting surprises – a 6th century AD baptismal bath, Christ’s gown, an incredible fresco showing Christ the World’s Creator as well as a relic from St Andrew the Apostle (a fragment of his foot bone, secured in plastic and displayed in a glass case). Svetitskhoveli is a specific sort of place, containing a record of the last thousand years of Georgian history. It is also the central place of worship for Georgian Orthodox Christians.
As I already mentioned, Svetitskhoveli cathedral is where my ancestors took their sacraments. And so I am all the more pleased that I was able to get married right here. Which was twice as nice, for hundreds of couples pass by through its doors each year and it is never easy to get a spot in its busy schedule. And though most weddings take place here in August, before and after that month is no easier.
Our wedding took place on 31 August 2019 on a Saturday (weddings are organised during most weekends). The last day of the summer season was chosen in the hope that after the Feast of the Dormition it will be cooler. The hot weather did indeed ease off, though the morning was cool and rainy. Thankfully, the weather improved and we reached our rented Mercedes wearing our wedding garments without trouble.
Svetitskhoveli cathedral was absolutely packed. Weddings were going on all the time – almost like a production line. We managed to arrange everything so we got married in the left nave, which holds the St Andrew relic. Two other couples got married just before us. I then asked Sophy if she did not mind not getting married before the main altar, beneath the beautiful Christ the Creator fresco – she said she was happy, for six other couples were getting married there all at once at the time! The vows were said in an express fashion – one couple done, the next up already – while we, in a side nave, could have a bit of Svetitskhoveli cathedral all to ourselves, giving our guests a greater sense of comfort and satisfaction.
Before the wedding merry-go-round began, Sophy and I headed to a room occupied by the local chaplains to sign documents. My friend Krzysztof, who was acting as my best man during the civil ceremony, could not be so here during the religious ceremony: this had to be Rezo, my Georgian buddy and one of the drivers working with me. He also helped us handle some of the formalities, something I am most grateful to him for.
Next, we headed for the temple, but reaching the side nave needed a real miracle. We were stuck in a great, ginormous queue going back and forth through the cathedral. Eventually, me managed to sneak through. In a smaller part of the building, shut off with gilded gates, a mamao (a Georgian chaplain) repeated the marriage vows three times. I then kissed the wedding band, which he put on my hand and did the same for Sophy. Now we had to swap rings three times over, representing the immortal soul placed in the hands of each betrothed.
We were then handed some lit candles, while crowns were placed on our heads. I stood with that candle, wearing the crown, my face a mask of silliness, I suppose – though this was when I felt the overwhelming sense of the spiritual and emotional power of this scene. As if I had become even more aware of the sense of our joined future path through life. Sophy’s great grandma was Polish, while mine was Georgian. Our fates came together in this beautiful Georgian-Polish love story, the truth of all the ages reaching me most powerfully, there in that thousand year old cathedral, during that traditional ceremony. Me, the last member of the Tumanishivili line residing in Poland, returning to his ancient homeland.
As I gave into such romantic notions, the mamao quickly upped the pace of proceedings – Sophy and I, our witnesses and the chaplain stood before a table covered in a white sheet (white representing physical purity and purity of intentions), with a cross and holy icon placed upon it. The chaplain asked us if we were getting wed of our own free will, and then prayed for blessings and for holy grace. He repeated the following line threefold: “Our Lord, crown them with glory and reverence”, then gave the sign letting us know we should kiss the crosses on our crowns (being held for us by then by others). This marked the point at which we became officially married, but it was not the end of the ritual.
The mamao began reading a part of St John’s Gospel about the miracle at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, then recited further prayers and litanies, including Our Father. He then gave us wine to drink from a chalice, tied out hands with a white sash and covered them with a part of his robe. Holding a cross in his left hand, he led us around the table three times, and we then had to kiss the icon. On the third go round the table, he took the crowns from our witnesses, while I was ready to kiss anything else which might have been placed before me.
And yet the stroll around the table was moving – Sophy was very focused, I was deeply moved, seeing her so angelic and serious. On the other hand, I was desperate to giggle, for I was forced to constantly kick Sophy’s wedding dress aside as it dragged on the floor before me, to stop myself stepping on it as we raced around the narrow room, right by the cross and the stairway to Heavenly Gates. We eventually reached these Pearly Gates (also known as the Gates to Heaven, the Tsar Gates, the Royal Gate, the Holy Gate or the Sacred Gates), as well as ikonostas, a place where the holy icons are on display. This was the last element of the ceremony – a spiritual blessing.
Someone could possibly wonder what happened to “the kiss” – but hold your horses, this is yet to come. This was the moment, as the chaplain finishes blessing the happy couple, when they are left alone before the Pearly Gates. This is where they can sneak in a kiss, and the bride switches a piece of decoration from one lapel to the other on the groom’s blazer. In all those crowds, as were at the time passing through Svetitskhoveli cathedral, it was hard however to become all too romantic.
Following the ceremony – outside the cathedral
Once the official ceremonies are over, we leave the temple to meet our families, friends and total strangers, all wishing us the best. I suspect this last group was drawn by a visible element of Georgian culture. Sophy was wearing a beautiful white dress, while I donned a Georgian chokha outfit, made especially for the event in white fabric for me. This process takes several weeks for a specialised tailor, and I plan to place an order for more such chokha outfits, even if I have one already – for it was tailored for me when I weighed some 20kg less than I do now. Beneath the outer outfit, I was wearing a formal shirt and pants, hidden beneath the long overcoat. What could easily be seen were the knee-high black boots, which I had purchased five years ago in a Tbilisi store called Samoseli Pirveli, and which were then widened by a local cobbler, seeing as my calves had expanded since. For a mere 30 lari, he performed the task with true artistry – the boots were better than new, and I could march forth into a new chapter of my life with full confidence.
In line with the lyrics of Billy Idol’s White Wedding, we emerged from the cathedral all in white, instantly surrounded by onlookers, mainly tourists, who had come to sightsee Mtskheta. At a certain point, I heard someone mumble: “How great they look!”, in Polish, to which I replied in my native language: „Dziękuję!”. Others also congratulated me in Polish, which was sweet. Ana, the manager of the hotel we had hired for the occasion, also met us at the cathedral gates. She was there by accident, but we were pleased to see her there. A little later, we were photographed by all those gathered round – tourists from Arab countries, some Mexican visitors, a whole heap of folks. Finally, Sophy gave in and once some Russians approached wanting to take more photos, she drew a final line: “No, no more pictures,” she announced without a hint of harshness. In Georgia, a wedding is a time for the family and closest friends, so it is no surprise we wanted to be among our nearest and dearest as soon as was possible.
My great Georgian Wedding
From Svetitskhoveli cathedral we set off for a nearby carpark. Along the way, we bumped into “my” lady of churkhela, who appeared in my film What can you bring back from Georgia?. Then the lady of the daggers, and finally – the lady of coffee on the sand. All congratulated us heartily.
We climbed into our Mercedes, while our guests, Polish and Georgian friends – into their car and a hired coach. The Georgian tradition is that when a wedding convoy rides along, everyone honks their horns like crazy (I showed scenes from this on Instagram in the folder marked Wedding). Our wedding party was no different. Some friends drove along in a shiny Ford Mustang and honked their horn for all it was worth. Sophy leaned out the window, which I thought was funny at first, but then I too stuck my head out and thus we rode on. Everyone honked at us from all around and it felt great!
Once we had reached our hotel, I was a little stressed about all the organising still going on – though I didn’t let any of this show, I was as tightly wound as a bowstring. And yet it soon proved that all the food, the dances and games, the change of clothing during the event and all other things went without hitch, in the best possible atmosphere. Most importantly, Sophy and I had time to personally thank and talk to each one of our 65 guests (we had prepared a list of these in July, during our beach holiday in Batumi – Sophy with her mother, I with mine).
At first, we planned a European style wedding: a maximum of 20 persons from our immediate families, have a civil wedding and that was it. But once we talked to our parents, we decided to have a religious wedding too and make it all a bit more grand – though it was still a relatively humble event, compared to giant Georgian weddings, which can involve a minimum of 200 persons (the record being 700 guests at the wedding of the son of one Georgian politician). The weddings here are open invite events: if we invite a neighbour, they can also bring their own neighbour, who can in turn bring theirs, and so on.
We had a great time, surrounded by friends, family and colleagues. I was ever so pleased to see many people joining us from afar – this included my personal idol Giorgi Natenadze, who attended with his wife. Giorgi is a winemaker and owner of Natenadze’s Wine Cellar in the town of Akhaltsikhe. He is a shining example of how in Georgia it is possible to go from professional partnerships to friendships – which really is wonderful!
Our wedding was, understandably, not wholly Georgian. We combined various cultures and gave the event a soundtrack of songs from the 1970s and 1980s. This setlist included Abba and Boney M, as well as some Georgian numbers, such as Dato Khujadze and his Megobrebtan Ertad, a song about friendship and partying. As a result, all our guests had a fine old time. We performed the first dance to contemporary music selected by Sophy. We could have also danced daisi – one of the traditional dances, such as kartuli – but as I have already mentioned, the wedding was not traditionally all-Georgian, and so we had some deviations from local norms. We entered the wedding reception hall to the accompaniment of Mravaljamier – a song which tells the story of the titular ghosts of our ancestors, traditions and the spiritual connection between all Georgians. Which was moving.
We also hired a singer, but I must say – he went in one ear, and then out the other; I can’t remember what he sang about, for he was not to my tastes, or those of my friends. I was on the other hand most pleased with the DJ, who played a very well chosen set. I had prepared a pendrive with some rock classics, but in the end he didn’t play any of that. I wanted to have the rock outfit Tserili playing at our wedding – this legend of the Georgian “cold wave” movement have a song called Pirveli Game, which means First Night, and tells of love, but also of the sadness we feel when separated from those we love. I had wanted them to play, while I would sing, seeing as it is one of the few Georgian songs I can sing off the top of my head. I learnt it off by heart, for I love this song and the band itself. Yet, in the end, I did not go as far as inviting Tserili to our wedding – even so, all the music was grand.
Dishes, drinks, wedding games
The Georgian tradition is that if the married couple come from different towns, some of the celebrations take place in her house, and some in his. Lines of cars go between the two locations, loud, dressed in colour, carrying people keen to party, to eat and to drink of course. At present however, for logistical and practical reasons, most wedding parties are held in a single location – most often, a restaurant.
Finding a wedding reception hall is the biggest challenge, and it takes up lots of time. At first, we wanted to have our reception in a newly constructed restaurant close to the cathedral, in the hear of Mtskheta. It was important for us to have lots of fresh flowers all around, to make it feel spring-like, summery. And yet, it turned out the restaurant in question didn’t have any white tablecloths, nor enough cutlery for the coverings, and so we would have to hire all that separately. Instead, we chose to look further – this was not easy, considering the ongoing tourist season.
In Georgia it is hard to hire a restaurant for a limited number of guests, and it is not easy to organise private events. Then, if it is possible to hire a whole or a part of a restaurant for a time, the whole thing costs thousands of lari! This on top of 50-100 lari per head for the food and wine. It is therefore easy to see how much such a wedding party can cost…
We finally found the right sort of place, with a hotel attached, which was very comfortable, for a lot of the guests were coming from afar. The hotel had two dining halls – one reserved for our party, and the other for the rest of the guests and clients. The dishes were mainly traditional Georgian fare, including vegetarian dishes – along with plenty of local alcoholic beverages.
The Poles in attendance were shocked to find only wine was on offer – we had received some 80 litres of delicious Kakheti Rkatsiteli grape wine from our mutual friend Alexander from Kvareli, organised as a gift to us from my best man. We also served red Saperavi wines and a little chacha, while my mejvare Rezo brought his own cognac and handed out samples to all those who wanted to try some. There was not a drop of vodka – in this respect, it was very different to Polish weddings, where the vodka flows freely all night and the mornings can be very blurry.
I once attended such a wedding in Poland – a mere three bottles of wine all night, the rest all vodka, followed by hard drinking until sunrise. Nothing of the sort went on at our wedding – people enjoyed fine wines, dancing all jolly, without getting seriously drunk. The party went on without any hitches, no fights, no arguments, no noise, no dead bodies found in the hotel toilets. The event was classy and cultured.
Paradoxically, which is typical of most weddings, Sophy and I did not eat and did not drink a thing. All night long, we circled the tables, talking to all the guests. The family were seated at the front, the elders first, the young after them. A little further along we had our Polish friends, Sophy’s girlfriends with their husbands or alone, as well as my Tamada Tour team. We wanted to chat to everyone in turn.
From time to time, the party would calm a little, and a smiling tamada would appear from behind a table loaded with dishes – this was a friend of Marina and David, Sophy’s parents – who with a glass in hand orated beautiful toasts, first in Georgian and then in Russian. I would then approach tables to translate into Polish, as was necessary when Laka spoke to all our guests, in Russian also.
There was time for wedding party games – the bouquet, stripped of ribbons by Sophy, was caught unexpectedly by Klaudia, a tour guide working with us, accompanied by Giorgi, a Georgian dancer who performed in one of the local restaurants. That lad really could dance! Later on, surrounded by flowers, Sophy and I wrote out what we wished for one another in our first year of marriage. I looked out of the corner of my eye to see what it was my wife was writing – which turned out to be the very same thing as I – therefore it would have to come true! Laka suggested we then play a game which at first caused consternation and bafflement, and then salvoes of laughter. In secret, we had prepared a list which said: “You chose her instead of me, my lips long for yours”. The guests were confused, wondering if it was one of my old loves, and on a day like today! A little while later, I pointed at Rafal, the boyfriend of our tour guide and friend Ewelina, claiming he had written the letter and was pining for me, though I had chosen Sophy. Hearty laughter resounded all about us, which is when everyone went back to toasting love, happiness, friendship and being together.
And this was how the next few hours of our wedding went on by. Once I had decided it was time to eat and drink something… it turned out the party was over. The tables were cleared – all except the Polish table, which kept on partying heartily. Yet, come one a.m., the party finally wound up, everyone dispersing to their rooms. Once I had thanked the guests for coming, I had to confess to my new wife: “Sophy, I am starving”. Poor Sophy ran off to the kitchens to ask if there was anything left to eat, for the groom was peckish. Thankfully, her parents had taken a piece of our cake and the two sugared figurines from it: a tiny Sophy and me wearing my traditional garb. The cake was delicious, but what happened to those figurines, I have no idea. Probably still in our fridge, but I can’t check, for I am writing this 6,500 kilometres from home, during my honeymoon in Sri Lanka.
Once, riding high on a wave of emotions, we returned to our room, filled with flowers and fitted with a jacuzzi on a glass covered terrace, we were so totally exhausted, we instantly fell asleep. And yet, because the party went without any trouble and ended relatively early, while we did not have a drop of wine all night, we woke sober and full of energy. Not only did we drive all the way back to Tbilisi, we managed to pop into the Dezerter Bazaar next to the train station, in order to buy my Mum some shoes, just the same as worn by Sophy and aunt Nana, which my Mum liked so much.
We had time to look through all the presents we had received the day before. Most of these were envelopes, as we had let the guests know that we didn’t want any typical presents. For one, it would have been tricky for guests from Poland to take these on the plane, and two – we did not the wish to be lumbered with endless sets of bedding sheets and covers, or dining sets. Most of the gifts were in the form of cash, and some tasteful jewellery for Sophy.
Although it is odd writing about such things here, I will just mention that the contents of the envelopes partly covered the cost of the wedding, the garments and all the hotel rooms, as well as travel costs of friends from Poland. We did not spend crazy sums on any of this – quite the opposite, we did so in thrifty fashion, considering the Polish and Georgian standards. We ensured nobody went without, and everyone had the best time possible. I provide a list of expenses at the end of this article.
I will once again stress that our wedding was far from Georgian traditional standards – and this also goes for the gifts we received. A certain friend told me there are parts of Georgia where the selection and sourcing of gifts is a real art form. For example: if we attend someone’s wedding and give them $500 in cash, and then invite them to our wedding, it would be a slight on their sense of honour for them to give us less. Keeping tabs on this can be done in strange and surprising fashion: in Samegrelo and Batumi in the region of Adjara, the happy couple’s family stand at the entrance to the wedding reception hall and check how much money each guest hands over. If it so turns out that this sum is less than they received at their wedding, they can be stopped from coming in. This sort of strange door selection policy can make sense when we take into account the reality of weddings organised for upwards of 200 people, and everyone can bring a guest, someone not officially invited and not accounted for in the wedding planning process. In our case, the value of the gifts or sums handed over were not so crucial.
What mattered most was that we were together, with family, friends, acquaintances. These people were our most beautiful present! Thanks to them, our happiest day will linger in our memories – for it was fantastic! Everyone present at the wedding said they had never seen any event like it in Georgia. The same was said by those who then saw the film and photos from the event, as posted by Sophy and I on social media (the post about our wedding was remarkably popular, gaining over 11,000 views and hundreds of comments with happy comments and congratulations – all of which we are most grateful and thankful for!). Georgians and Poles partied together, and had a high time – not that this was the first time in the shared history of our nations!
Marriage and weddings in Georgia – prices
As you can now tell, it is relatively easy to get married in Georgia, if you work quick and smart – and doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg. For those of you who are interested, I supply here a list of costs associated with our wedding, along with useful contacts:
- Wedding planner – approx. 1000 lari; Laka Weddings, https://www.facebook.com/LakaWeddings/
- Photographer, 900lari, Giorgi Papelishvili, https://www.facebook.com/GeorgePapelishviliPhotography
- Cameraman – approx. $1000, so around 3000 lari (though this is a rough guesstimate) Danila Ilyushchenko, https://www.facebook.com/danila.ilyushchenko
- DJ – 700 lari
- Car rental – Mercedes Benz with a driver for several hours – 350 lari
- Hall hire in a restaurant – anything between 50-100 lari per guest
- Wine – we got this as a gift from our friend Alexander from Kvareli
- Groom’s Georgian chokha wedding outfit – approx. 500 lari with coat, shirt and pants etc.
- Wedding cake with sugar formed figurines – 375 lari
- Wedding hall decorations (flowers, balloons, etc) – 1700 lari
- Wedding bands – approx. 2000 lari
This is not an exhaustive lists of costs, which vary from couple to couple. Polish-Georgian weddings are not rare things, for we do like falling in love with one another – for some 200 years now! We recently helped another couple get married (the civil ceremony can take place in Tbilisi, Batumi or Sighnaghi, known as the town of love, where the marriage office is open both day and night). If you wanted to follow our example – write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Sophy and I will be keen to assist with all formalities, hall hire, wedding planning, photographer, cake, great Georgian wines, etc. We thus experienced the happiest day of our lives and we can make the same thing happen for you, with the greatest pleasure!
Sialala, pirdapir: Hallelujah and onwards!