Sintra, Portugal

Found a great place to tie the knot! Sintra is a magical town right outside Lisbon.

Pena Palace, Sintra

Street Art

Bansky is one of the first names that come to our minds when talking about street art. According to author and graphic designer Tristan Manco and the book Home Sweet Home, Banksy (pseudonym)  "was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England.The son of a photocopier technician, he trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s."

If you'd like to see more of his work you can visit his website.

A Manifesto

While looking around for inspiration we found this manifesto and wanted to share it with you!

It's by Holstee, a very cool design company that we love,  and you can purchase it online


The Grand Bazaar Istanbul by Assouline Books

Here's a great work of the Grand Bazaar, the stories will take you to the past, the pictures will make you want to go the Bazaar and spend not hours but days.If you want a piece of Istanbul, get this book; you'll get lost in it. The texts are by Serdar Gulgun, a prominent Ottoman art expert and collector, the images are by renowned photographer Laziz Hamani.

National and Religious Holidays of Turkey

It’s always important to know a country’s religious and national holidays when planning an event or a trip there. So here’s Turkey’s 2012 holiday dates;

2012 Public & Religious Holidays in Turkey

Sunday, 1 January

New Year’s Day– National Holiday – First day of the new year.

Monday, 23 April

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day– National Holiday – (Commemoration of the first opening of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in Ankara 1920). Dedicated to the children.

Tuesday, 1 May

Labor and Solidarity Day– National Holiday

Saturday, 19 May

Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth & Sports Day – National Holiday – (The arrival of Atatürk in Samsun in 1919, the beginning of the War of Independence.) Dedicated to the youth.

Saturday, 18 August

Sugar Feast’s Eve– Religious Holiday – ½ day

Sunday, 19 – Tuesday, 21 August

Sugar Feast – Religious Holidays – Three-day festival to celebrate the end of fasting (Ramadan).

Thursday, 30 August

Victory Day– National Holiday – (Victory over the allied forces during the final battle in Dumlupınar in 1922, ending the War of Independence.) Dedicated to the armed forces.

Saturday, 6 October

Liberation of Istanbul– Regional Holiday –( Anniversary of the liberation of Istanbul by Turkish armed forces during the War of Independence.)

Wednesday, 24 October

Feast of the Sacrifice’s Eve– Religious Holiday – ½ day

Thursday, 25 – Sunday, 28 October

Feast of the Sacrifice– Religious Holidays –(Four-day festival where sheep are sacrificed/slaughtered and their meat is distributed to the poor.)

Sunday, 28 October

Republic Day’s Eve– National Holiday – ½ day

Monday, 29 October

Republic Day– National Holiday – (Anniversary of the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923.)

Interesting Wedding Customs

Traditions and customs are the fundamentals of a culture. Every culture has different wedding customs, here are a few that we found interesting.

Austria: A combination of red and white flowers is avoided by the superstitious because they stand for blood and bandages. The groom often chooses a flower for his buttonhole, which also occurs in the bride’s bouquet. This is a remnant of the time when a knight would wear his lady’s color to display his love.

Australia: It is customary to give a token bible as a wedding gift to the bride and the groom. Marriage bibles are treasured family heirlooms and are often passed down from generation to generation.

Belgium: One of the most important and enduring traditions of the Belgium wedding is for the bride to carry a specially embroidered handkerchief that has her name embroidered on it. After the wedding this handkerchief is framed and hung on the wall in a place of honor. When the next female member of the bride’s family is to be wed, the handkerchief is removed from its frame, the new bride’s name is embroidered onto it, and it is passed down. The wedding handkerchief is passed from generation to generation, and is considered an important family heirloom.

China: In China the men on the Bride’s side will block entry to the bride’s home, the groom and his men will attempt to gain access by singing songs, pleading and trying to show how much he loves her.

Croatia: After the traditional Croatian wedding ceremony and marriage vows have taken place, female relatives remove the bride's wedding veil and replace it with a scarf and apron while singing to her. This symbolizes the new bride's status as a wife. Then all of the guests walk three times around a well, which represents the holy trinity, and throw apples into it, to ensure the newlywed's fertility.

England: A unique Victorian wedding reception event is called a 'ribbon pull'. A sterling silver charm is purchased for each of the bridesmaids. A ribbon is tied to each one, and the baker places them between layers of the wedding cake as it is being assembled. Before the bride and groom share their first slice of cake, the bridesmaids gather so that each can pull one ribbon, claiming for her a future good promise.

France: The French have an interesting after-wedding tradition known as Chiverie. During this traditional prank, friends and family of the newly married couple gather in the evening and clang pots and pans, ring bells, and blow horns intended to startle and interrupt the couple.

Upon hearing the noise, the newlyweds are to come out, still wearing their wedding attire, and provide their tormenters various refreshments.

Germany: After the couple is married, a log is positioned between two sawhorses where both the newlyweds must saw in half working together.

This is supposedly a sign of how they will handle things together once they are married.

One of the bride’s relatives acts as “Kössenbitter”. Dressed up with a tux and a top hat, he delivers the wedding invitations. Tradition demands, the invitees have to tip him and drink one shot of schnapps for the bride and one for the groom with him.

Germans also wear their matching wedding bands on their right hands not their left.

Greece: A Greek bride may carry a lump of sugar on her wedding day to ensure she has a sweet life, or she might carry ivy, as a symbol of endless love.

Hawaii: In Hawaii the wedding tradition calls for flowers everywhere. The bride and groom are decked out in flower leis, which symbolize love and respect. Each flower lei consists of 40 to 50 fresh flowers strung on a colorful ribbon and are one of the oldest symbols of Hawaiian culture.

Both the bride and the groom dress in pure white, with the groom wearing either a red sash or a black cloth belt tied around his waist.

Ireland: An Irish bride's wedding ring is called a Claddagh ring. It is a heart held by two hands with the heart topped by a crown. The hands represent faith, the crown symbolizes honor, and the heart signifies love. The ring’s motto is: “Let love and friendship reign.”

If a woman wears a Claddagh Ring on her right hand with the heart facing outward toward the end of her finger she is signifying that she is a single woman, free to see whomever she desires. If the ring is worn on the right hand with the heart facing inward, toward the woman’s knuckle, then she is signifying that she is engaged.

And finally, if a Claddagh Ring is worn on the left hand it means that the woman is married.

During the reception, when the couple is dancing, the bride’s feet must remain on the floor. It is said that Fairies love beautiful things and their favorite beautiful thing is a bride. If the bride was to have even one foot off the ground, then she could be swept away by the Fairies.

It is bad luck for a bride, as well as anyone attending the wedding, to wear green at an Irish wedding.

India: There is gate money that needs to be paid by the groom to gain access to the bride. The groom does not look directly to the bride. Instead a mirror will be used. He will be asked “what do you see”. He has to say: Fairy!

Italy: In Italy it was customary for the groom to carry a talisman, piece of iron, in his pocket on the day of his wedding. The talisman was believed to ward off misfortune, while the bride’s veil covered and protected her from evil spirits.

When the wedding day came to an end, the newly married couple would shatter a vase or glass into many pieces. The number of pieces represented the expected number of years they would be happily married.

Mexico: during the wedding the Groom bestows his bride a gift of 13 coins, or arras, and the 13 coins symbolize the riches that the groom provides for the bride: 1 for each 12 months of the year, and 1 more to share with the poor. The coins are to be blessed by the priest and bear the groom’s promise to care for and provide for his wife. The arras are actually an Arabic tradition that has continued in Spain (and from Spain it was exported to Mexico),

The Philippine Islands: The first tradition calls for the pinning of the bride’s veil to the groom’s shoulder, symbolizing that the couple is now clothed as one. Following that a pure white cord is draped around the couple’s necks to symbolize the ever-lasting bond which now binds them together.

Poland: The "money dance" is always popular at a traditional reception in Poland. Guests pin money to the bride's wedding dress to buy a dance from her. The newlyweds might put these gifts of cash towards their honeymoon expenses. More traditionally, the maid of honor wears an apron and collects the money given by the guest to dance with the bride. After all the guests have danced with the bride, they form a tight circle around her, and the groom tries to break through the circle while the guests try hard to keep him out. Once he breaks through, he picks up his bride and carries her away from the wedding reception. The money collected during the dance is sent with them to spend on their honeymoon.

Portugal: A popular custim is the ancient custom of passing around the bride’s shoe during the reception and stuffing it with money to help the young couple with their honeymoon and to help them start their new life together.

Scotland: There is a pre-wedding tradition of “Blackening the Bride,” The bride is taken by surprise and covered with foul substances, such as eggs, various sauces, feathers, paint..

The bride to be, officially blackened, is then paraded around town for all to see.

Sweden: At Swedish wedding receptions, guests may get an opportunity to kiss the bride or groom. If the bride goes to the restroom, all of the women at the reception line up to kiss the groom.

If the groom exits the room and is out of sight, the men line up to kiss the bride.

Switzerland: Once the Swiss couple are newlyweds and are living in their new home, a pine tree is planted in their yard to represent fertility.

Turkey: It is customary for the groom to pick his bride to be from her family home with his male friends and family accompanied by traditional drum and horn players. Usually, the groom’s way is blocked by family and friends on his way to pick up his bride, he needs to bribe anyone who blocks his way. A gold coin or cash is a traditional wedding gift for the bride and the groom. Immediately after the civil ceremony, the bride and the groom is encouraged to step on each other’s foot, it is believed that whoever succeeds first will be more dominant at home.



BG Events’ recommended Checklist before the wedding

It is our job to organize, make lists and follow up, and yes we admit it, we love doing it. So here’s another list;

BG Events’ recommended Checklist before the wedding

6-12 months before the wedding:


Decide on the size and type of wedding you like.

Set a budget.

Choose a wedding planner.

Decide the date, time and location for your wedding and sign the contract to confirm the venue.

Select the bride's wedding gown.

Assemble your invitation list for your wedding

3-6 months before the wedding:

Choose and book the wedding photographer and wedding videographer.

Mail “save the date” cards to out-of-town guests.

Ask your wedding planner to reserve rooms for out-of-town guests.

Choose and order your wedding invitation.

1-3 months before the wedding:

Get your marriage license.

Sign up for the bridal wedding gift registry at your favorite stores.

Finalize your honeymoon plans.

Ask you wedding planner to confirm sound and light technicians, musicians and discuss final music choices.

1 to 2 Months Before the Wedding:

Finalize the wedding reception menu.

Mail the invitations.

Make hair and makeup appointments for you and your bridal party.

Order your wedding cake.

Confirm the final details of the venue and table decorations.

1 Week Before the Wedding:

Have your seating chart ready.

Have final fitting for wedding gown.

Pack for your honeymoon.

Have a facial.

Have a bachelorette party.

Make final confirmations with your wedding planner.

1 Day Before the Wedding:

Get a manicure and a pedicure.

Pack your bag for the next day.

Try to relax.

If possible, have a massage or spend some time at a day spa.

Switch off your phone, drink an herbal tea and go to sleep early.

Your Wedding Day:

Have a good breakfast.

Have your hair and make up done.

Give yourself plenty of time to dress.

Don’t drink more than a glass of champagne while getting ready.



1. At Last- Etta James

2. You are the sunshine of my life- Stevie Wonder

3. Never knew love like this- Stephanie Mills

4. It had to be you- Harry Connick Jr.

5. The first, my last, my everything- Barry White

6. Just the way you are- Billy Joel

7. The way you look tonight- Frank Sinatra

8. As time goes by- Casablanca

9. Lucky-Jason Mraz

10. You’re still the one- Shania Twain


Choosing a wedding song can be pretty difficult especially when the couple's song doesn’t match the occasion. So here’s a list of our favorite wedding songs.


1. Palladio- Karl Jenkins

2. The Flower Duet (Lakme)- Leo Delibes

3. Bitter sweet symphony (instrumental)- The Verve

4. Canon- Pachebel

5. Air on the G string-Bach

6. Claire De Lune - Claude Debussy

7. Arioso- Bach

8. Moon River- Henry Mancini

9. Emperor Waltz- Strauss

10. Book of Days- Enya

Here is a list of our favorite venues in Istanbul

1. Adile Sultan Palace:

The palace was built for the Ottoman princess Adile Sultan (1825-1898), the daughter of Sultan Mahmud II  and designed by the architect Sarkis Balyan. It was erected on the same place of a kiosk, which was presented to her by Sultan Abdülmecid in 1856. The palace was commissioned by Sultan Abdülaziz and built by the court architect Sarkis Balyan in 1861. It stands at one of the most glorious places, on a hill, in the middle of Bosphorus on the Asian shore. This location enables a wonderful panoramic view of Bosphorus reaching from Sea of Marmara  to Black Sea.The palace has 55 rooms was on a ground of 17,000 m².

Adile Sultan, a great and the only Turkish royal female poet having a Diwan, lived here until the death of her husband Mehmet Ali Pasha in 1868. She donated her residence to the state to be used as a high school for girls after her death in 1898. Before it was used as determined, the palace came a short while under the control of Ministry of War during World War I. Only in 1916, it could be turned to a secondary school for girls and the first graduates left the school in 1920. The school was named 1924 after its location, Kandilli Secondary School. In 1931, the school became Kandilli High School for Girls, a respected educational institution since then. The classes of the high school moved to a new building in 1969. The old palace was used as dormitory for boarding girls of the school until 1986; when it was burnt down due to an electrical short-circuit. The historic building became a ruin consisting of only four walls.

The palace covers an area of 5,625 m², which accommodates an oval hall for meeting and banqueting of 500 people, another two meeting halls for 200 people each, a 1,300 m² hall for cocktails and exhibitions, 20 seminar rooms with 30-40 seats, a museum, a dining hall for 150 people and a cafeteria for 60 people. The palace garden offers place for 2,000 people.

Official website

2. Ciragan Palace Kempinski:

The palace, built by Sultan Abdülâziz, was designed by the famous palace architect Nigoğayos Balyan and constructed by his sons Sarkis and Hagop Balyan between 1863 and 1867. This was a period in which all Ottoman sultans used to build their own palaces rather than using those of their ancestors. Çırağan Palace is the last example of this period. The inner walls and the roof were made of wood, the outer walls of colorful marble. The palace is connected with a beautiful marble bridge to the Yıldız Palace on the hill behind. A very high garden wall protects the palace from the outer world.

The construction and the interior decoration of the palace continued until 1872. After he moved in, Sultan Abdülâziz was, however, not able to live long in his magnificent palace. He was found dead in the palace on May 30, 1876, shortly after he was dethroned. His successor, his nephew Sultan Murad V, moved into Çırağan Palace, but reigned after only 93 days. He, who was deposed by his brother Abdülhamid II due to alleged mental illness, lived here under house arrest until his death on August 29, 1904.

During the Second Constitutional Monarchy, Sultan Mehmet V Reşat allowed the parliament to hold their meetings in this building. Only two months after, on January 19, 1910, a great fire destroyed the palace, leaving only the outer walls intact.

In 1989, the ruined palace was bought by a Japanese corporation, which restored the palace and added a modern hotel complex next to it in its garden. Today, it serves as luxury suites for the five star Kempinski hotel along with two restaurants that cater to guests.

The Palace was renovated again during the first quarter of 2007, now resembling the authentic palace with the baroque style and soft colors.

Official website

3.Esma Sultan Mansion:

Esma Sultan, born in 1873 at Dolmabahçe Palace, is the daughter of the 32nd Ottoman Sultan, Abdulaziz I.

At the age of three, Esma Sultan was admitted in the harem of Sultan Abdulhamid I, and was brought up in the harem following his father Abdulaziz’s dethronement and suicide in 1876. Esma Sultan was brought up as a loved lady sultan and when she was 16 years old she was married to Mehmed Pasha the Circassian who was one of the leading statesmen of his time.

The 19th century Ottoman mansion located next to Ortaköy Mosque was presented to Esma Sultan as a wedding gift. The mansion was named after Esma Sultan who lived at the palace.

Esma Sultan Mansion was given to her daughter Cemile Sultan in 1899 by Sultan Abdul Hamid II when Esma Sultan died. When Cemile Sultan died, the Mansion was given to Fatma Hanım Sultan, Cemile Sultan’s daughter. Esma Sultan Mansion, which seems to have gotten out of the possession of the Ottoman dynasty in 1915s became a Greek school in 1918, was used as a tobacco warehouse in 1922 and was used as carpenter house, furniture warehouse and coal warehouse respectively in 1950s, after being sold a few times. The building was burnt down in a large fire in 1975.

Esma Sultan Mansion was provided with a new cultural identity when it was bought by The Marmara in early 1990s, remaining true to the original plan of the mansion. The interior of the building was reconstructed in 2001 using glass and steel within the direction of the avant project by Philip Robert and was opened to service during 12 months of the year. The garden still contains the remains of the cistern, the Turkish bath and the stable.

If the location of a meeting or conference can influence its quality and accomplishment, then there is no better place to meet than in The Marmara Esma Sultan.

With its historical atmosphere Esma Sultan Mansion presents a privileged venue for meetings and conferences.

It offers 1000 guests for dinner and reception space for up to 3000 guests in the garden,

336 guests for dinner and reception for 600 guests, in the indoor first floor,

180 guests for dinner and reception for 300 guests at the entrance floor throughout the year.

Official website

4. Four Seasons Hotel Bosphorus:       

Four Seasons is a 19th century ottoman palace transformed into a chic urban resort.

The hotel has:

  • 11 Function spaces
  • 1030 m2/ 11087 sq ft Grand Ballroom
  • 1000 banquet capacity
  • 170 Guest rooms
  • 1 complimentary honeymoon suite with function space booking

Official website

5. Sait Halim Pasa Mansion:

The first owners of the mansion are believed to be the Duzogullari Family. The Aristarhis Family who acquired the mansion from the Duzogulları demolished it to construct a completely new one around 1863.

Abdulhalim Pasa bought the mansion from the Aristarhis Family and instructed architect Petraki Adamandidis to rebuild it. After Abdulhalim Pasa's death in 1890 the property was inherited by his nine sons. Sait Halim Pasa, gathering all shares from his brothers came into the sole ownership of the mansion in 1894.

Mansion, which is placed in Yenikoy, is now back to the life after the restoration works that lasted years. The mansion, which was built as a sea palace by Petraki Adamandidis from Çanakkale in the first years of 19th century, is placed in a garden that has a pier and also a gate to Bosphorus. It is also named a "chalet with lions" because of the two lion sculptures that are in the front of the garden called "selamIik". Rooms lined up around the middle sofa constitute the main plan of the chalet, rising on the marble basement as two levels. South part and north parts of the chalet are separated for men and women only. The entrance to the both parts is through the glassed-in sections. In spite of the plain exterior of the chalet the interior walls and ceilings are decorated by Arabic influenced ornaments.

Official website