Traditionally on the morning of the wedding, the wedding party is split into two groups which begin the festivities from two separate locations. The groom, his family members, the groom’s men and the best man gather at the groom’s parent’s house. Meanwhile, the bride, her family members, the bride’s maids, the maid of honor, and the bride’s family and close friends gather at the bride’s parent’s house. The day begins fairly early depending on the time of the wedding service. Here’s an example of how a typical Armenian wedding day might be scheduled.
At Groom's Parent's House:
10:00am: Everyone meets at the groom’s parent’s house, where appetizers are served. A Sazandar, which is a traditional Armenian band consisting of percussion and wind instruments and occasionally an accordion, is present at the groom’s house. The Sazandar band begins to play once the Best Man arrives at the groom’s house.
10:30am: The photographer takes photos of the groom wearing his coat with assistance from the best man (or any other close male relative or friend). They photograph and videotape such events as the pinning of the traditional red and green ribbons.
11:00am: The groom’s family makes several toasts and dances to traditional Armenian music.
11:45am: The groom’s family leaves the house and heads to the bride’s parent’s house.
At Bride's Parent's House:
Early AM: Bride and bridal party leave for hair and make-up appointments
10:00am: Bride’s entire bridal party, her close family members and friends all meet at the bride’s parent’s House
11:30am: Photographer arrives and begins photographing the Bride in the Bridal room, and the bridal party.
The Groom and The Bride's Families Unite:
12:00pm: The groom’s party arrives at the bride’s parent’s house. The Sazandar band arrives with the groom’s party to the bride’s parent’s home and begins to play the traditional Armenian music, marking the arrival of the groom’s party. The groom’s party enters the bride’s parent’s house dancing and holding up decorated baskets containing the bride’s shoes, garter, purse, and jewelry. Another basket contains the wedding chocolates and the cognac which is served before the toast.
12:30pm: The bride goes into her bridal dressing room and changes into her bridal gown. Her bridal party joins her in the room and helps her get ready.
1pm: The 2 families make toasts using the cognac in the chocolate cups to celebrate the upcoming marriage of their children. The photographer takes more pictures with the two families.
1:30pm: The bride & groom dance and everyone joins in on the dancing.
2pm: The bride & groom and their entire bridal party leave in the limo to go take photographs at a nearby park or local attraction. The rest of the family members and guests leave the bride’s parents house and head home.
4pm: Everyone meets again at the church. There are often more guests present at the church than those who attended the morning festivities at the bride or groom’s parents house. The ceremony lasts anywhere between 45 minutes to one hour and a half, depending on the church.
6pm: Everyone heads to the reception. At the reception, more guests show up who did not participate in the early daytime events. There are typically anywhere from 200 to 500 guests at an Armenian wedding. A typical Armenian wedding involves lots of delicious Armenian food, fun & energetic Armenian music, and hours and hours of dancing. These are all ingredients to a memorable Armenian wedding.