Wedding! Getting married in Tbilisi?
Dear Internations Community,
I haven't posted much since I returned to Germany to finish my degree, but now I come seeking your advice as I begin planning for something very exciting- my wedding :) My partner is Georgian and I am American and we will be getting married in Tbilisi in Sept. Protected content .
Many of our friends from the EU as well as my family from the U.S.A. will be visiting Georgia for the very first time, and none of them speak Georgian and very few speak Russian. Therefore my partner and I are hoping to plan many things to make the event easier for our international guests while we are visiting his family this Christmas.
We will have only 2 weeks this Dec./Jan. to try to get as much planned as possible so I am hoping to crowdsource some tips and narrow down our search. Have any of you married in Tbilisi? Know anyone who has had good experiences in any of the following categories?
I apologize in advance for the monster post, I searched the forum but haven't found anything about weddings... I hope the right way to ask is all in one post instead of spamming the board with a separate post for each question.. Thanks in advance for your patience!
1. "Wedding House" We don't want a religious ceremony, just a civil one. My partner tells me this takes place in a "wedding house" not city hall. Is he correct, or is he still stuck in Soviet times? :P Any recommendations as to a good one? How many people can witness the ceremony? Are there any language requirements, i.e. does everything have to be done in Georgian with a certified translator for me or is there some flexibility? Can civil marriages be performed on a Saturday or does it have to be on a weekday?
2. Clothes: We would like to wear traditional national dress, which I am told is making a comeback in popularity as wedding attire. So, chokha for him, long sleeves + veil, ect. for me. I have seen Samoseli Pirveli's shops in two locations and it seems like the top of the line so we will look there but I am afraid of the prices! :) Does anyone know any other tailors that specialize in national dress that we could meet with? We've been told it is also possible to rent rather than buy, both the male as well as the female clothing. Does anyone know of businesses specializing in this and what the difference in cost is compared to buying?
3. Supra Venue: Any recommendations for a venue that can accommodate between Protected content on a Saturday? We want somewhere not only with a nice view/decor but also excellent food and musicians since I'm told the band is generally not hired separately... I would like to have room for dancing... Also, I know this requirement will be the most difficult, but I have family members who are extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke. It must absolutely be a smoke free area, preferably with an area for people to smoke far enough away that they aren't tempted to stand in the doorway letting lots of smoke leak in :(
A location within Tbilisi would probably be best but we would also consider as far as Mtskheta if the restaurant was less expensive, therefore enabling us to pay for a shuttle to take our guests there. I would feel more comfortable if we were able to reserve a place a put a deposit down in December but my partner insists that it is not possible to book a place so far in advance in Georgia. Is he right?
4. Cake: Since we are doing most things traditionally Georgian I would really like to have an American-style cake. (I'm not a huge fan of the frosting on Georgian cakes and would prefer a tiered, buttercream frosted, traditionally American cake). I know this is probably a dream I won't be able to fulfill but it doesn't hurt to ask, does anyone know any professional/semi-professional American bakers in Tbilisi? :D
5. Transport: Since international flights comes in at such odd times I would like to have a driver that charges reasonable rates I recommend to people that will meet guests at the airport. Can anyone recommend a dependable driver that speaks basic English, and does not smoke in the vehicle? Also any good transport companies or even independent shuttle services to work with in the event the supra is held outside of the city center?
We know what is available for those that want an international chain, but we also need to recommend a place for our guests that want a less expensive option. Betsy's is the only independent place I know off of the top of my head with a good reputation. But, I would also like to be able to suggest something in an even lower price class, if that is realistic. Would it generally possible to get a discount on a block of rooms, or is it not the custom in Georgia?
7. Rings: Almost forgot! We want to buy our wedding bands on this trip. Something very simple but durable, silver in color (white gold, platinum..) Neither of us know anything about jewelry. Where should we look? Anything we should know so we don't get ripped off?
Sorry for the novel! I think that's all for now. My partner hasn't lived in Georgia for so long (and is generally the kind of guy not so interested in party planning.. haha) so it's hard to know if his ideas about wedding things are accurate. Plus his sometimes his sister's suggestions don't seem to take into account that we aren't millionaires :D Looking forward to hearing peoples' advice!