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Etiquette when meeting the parents...

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Hi All,


Well I've had endless help on here so far in my relationship, so I'd like to say a huge thank you!


My next predicament is meeting the parents!


I'm booked to return to Turkey for a longer spell at the beginning of November, however this time, Tugrul (my fiance) will have finished his summer work and will be back in Istanbul.


We have booked an apartment to stay together, which will have a sofa bed in the living room as he's hoping to introduce me to his friends and brothers and for them to possibly stay with us if they decide to drink or have a long journey (his family live in Beylikduzu and we are staying near Taksim). He's then planning for us to have an official engagement and celebrate with his friends and family Posted Image


I'm particularly nervous because although I have spoken to his brothers on the phone when they called to congratulate us on our engagement, I have not met any of his family, in particular his mother! His father lives in Germany and he doesn't really have a relationship with him.


What is the etiquette? Is it the same as meeting the parents here? Is there anything formal that I need to do or remember? She seems fairly modern but I'm desperate to make a good impression. How do I address her? She doesn't speak english, which is a worry as my turkish is still very limited. I know the very basics.


Originally he planned for us to go to her, but he thinks it would be better if we went out in town for dinner, etc, and then she stayed the night with us. Which leads me to my other question... How is it appropriate to act together in front of her? We're quite affectionate, but I can't help but feel it would be improper to show in front of her... but on the other hand, I don't want her to think I don't care for Tugrul or that I'm cold to his affections...


Also, if she stays, I would most definitely give up the bedroom for her and sleep on the sofa bed, just out of repect, however, as we are not yet married, would it be frowned on for us to share a bed?


I have so many questions I just don't know where to start!


Any advice or experience would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you! Posted Image x

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A small token gift is always appreciated, for the mother at least. A nice gift from where you are from always goes down a treat. For some reason, I bought my MiL some jewelery and a 'bag for life' wit

I have the same problem 

Just a quick update. I'm now home from Istanbul and had the most wonderful time. Tugrul's family were absolutely wonderful and so welcoming.   Tugrul's mum absolutely loved her gift and I have been

A small token gift is always appreciated, for the mother at least. A nice gift from where you are from always goes down a treat. For some reason, I bought my MiL some jewelery and a 'bag for life' with the union-jack on it. She was taken aback by the jewelry but the bag was a definite winner. She still carries it with her whenever she is visiting people and always tells people I bought it for her.


I wouldn't kiss your boyfriend on the lips in front of her but  few pecks on the cheek to show affection always works. Always asks if she wants another drink of tea, or hard vodka (depending on her preference). Do this for your boyfriend as well to show you are looking after him, and it also shows her you are capable of looking after him. 


Giving up the bedroom is a tricky one for me, but also something my wife insists on. Even for my family when they come and visit.


Don't get too drunk and belt out Tina Turner. She'll book you your return flight, herself.

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Hi Clinky!


Wow! Thank you for that. I will definitely pick up a gift. Windsor is round the corner from me so maybe I could get something quite british from there and maybe some nice jewellery.


Isn't it funny the things that different people are impressed with...


Absolutely agree, I wouldn't kiss him on the lips in front of her and have gotten used to him kissing me on the cheek or forehead as it's all he was allowed to do within the hotel when I've visited him and he's been working. Good idea about offering drinks to my partner as well. I want her to know that I can look after him. One issue.... I've never made turkish tea! I will need to ask my stepmum to show me!


Yes I think I would give up the bedroom. It's only one night after all and I'd like to show my respect. Whether my fiance agrees or not is a different matter! But I will definitely make sure the sheets are clean and the bedroom is clean tidy! Don't want her to think I'm untidy or unclean!


Haha! No I was planning to be on best behaviour but would have a couple of drinks to show I'm not a complete stiff! :) Especially as Tugrul is her wild child. His brother actually said to me that she's said she was grateful that he's finally found somebody that's able to tie her tear away down and that I must be very special.... No pressure!!


Goodness!! I have never been so nervous to meet somebody before! x

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Go to Whittards or Harrods. They have lovely things that I'm sure she'd like. 


Does she drink?


I would say just be yourself and don't worry about doing all the Turkish things, after all, you're not Turkish and she knows that, so hopefully will appreciate your attempts at being polite and smiling a lot. 


Good luck. Glad your fiance booked an apartment. 

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Well, I have a different perspective, as my husband's family is very religious.  Some Turks actually look down on Islam, so I don't know what you should do.  But I know what I'd do with my husband's.  Here they are:


Kiss her hand and put it to your forehead.

Call her Annecim.

Serve her the bride's coffee.

Get a nikah so all relations with your fiancé are deemed appropriate.

Sleep on the sofa or better yet, you sleep over at a girlfriend's house.

No alcohol. 

No physical stuff beyond a gentle loving touch every now and then.  You won't die.


Now, seeing as their divorced and you mentioned that they may drink, they may be more liberal.  Still, you're so wanting to make a good impression, so I'd err on the side of conservative.


What did I give my inlaws upon meeting?  I made them a cross stitch.  They framed it and it's in their bedroom.


Good luck!



Opps.  Wrong "they're."  BAD English teacher!  Time to go to bed.

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Thank you Cayaholic.


Yes she does drink but I wouldn't like to come across presumptious and was thinking of something a little more personal.


I'm glad he booked an apartment too!


Wow! Thank youTatertot!


That's a lot of formalities! Sounds like they must have loved you after all that!


Unfortunately I don't really have anywhere else where I could stay whilst I'm out there if she stays but she's aware that we're staying together for my stay and she is fine with that, so I hope she will be ok.


Yes I'm really keen to impress them and I think I will play it quite safe.


In terms of a Nikah, that's a non-legal marriage blessing isn't it? What exactly does it involve?


I have never been so nervous about meeting a partners parents before! I think it's more because I don't know the background. I'm trying to get as much insight as possible but families in Turkey vary so much with what's appropriate/ expected it's tough to know what's right.


I will definitely be speaking to my fiance about it too... perhaps he can tell me. I'm just concerned that he's so relaxed he'd just say be yourself and don't worry... but he forgets I don't know the formalities so what's normal for him isn't necessarily normal for me and I could well not do something that they would see as essential....


Pulling my hair out and very lost! Posted Image  xx

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I know it's a nerve wracking time, but as Cayaholic says, be yourself and smile a lot.

If you try to do things that you are unfamiliar with you could easily get them wrong. Save them for a later time when you have your own home, especially the Turkish coffee making.

His mum will probably take over the kitchen, just show interest.

Take your lead from Tugrul as how to behave in front of her. If you smoke it would show lack of respect to do so in front of her and don't blow your nose anywhere except perhaps in the bathroom. Sniffing is more socially accepted.

If she stays overnight with you, you'll have to do breakfast, so make sure you've got all the stuff in including napkins. Serve her first with tea etc.

She will probably be as nervous as you.


For your engagement party you'll probably need a really posh (evening) dress. From what I've seen the engagement is often more dressy than the wedding, but of course it will depend on how well off the family are and their social status. (not to be sneezed at here)

Anyway, you've got your stepmum who will probably know a lot more about it all than us, to refer to.




Some Turks actually look down on Islam

Tater Tot that is a rather libellous statement. What evidence have you got to back it up? 

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Hi Sunny,


Thank you so much! I feel a lot more at ease! I was concerned that I could try to do the unfamiliar things and cause more offence by doing them wrong!


I will allow her to take over the kitchen as I'm very interested to learn and Tugrul has already said she will try to teach me to cook turkish food but that he won't translate as she'll kick him out of the kitchen for getting in the way and will just show me rather than telling me.... Haha!


That's interesting about the nose blowing! And with it being November and maybe a little chilly on my nose definitely one to consider!


I will defnitely serve her first as generally do my own mother as well, unless my Stepdad is in the house at which point she insist on him being served first... Oooo, now I'll be thinking what to make for breakfast! Tugrul loves yumuta domatesli, but I don't want to do something that might not be how she makes it...


Hmmm.... who usually arranges the engagement party? I know Tugrul's planning on us having one but if he were anymore laid back he's be upside down! Evening dress!! So full length or cocktail? Obviously fairly conservative so no cleavage, etc.

I don't think his family are particularly well off so perhaps it will be less formal...


Soooo many questions! Haha! xx

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Oh yeah nose blowing is a big no no here and after so many years here this is something I appreciate. It makes me cringe when foreigners do it. Sniffing is also bad though. I'm all for going to the bathroom and doing it. 


Maybe his Mum can take you shopping for an engagement dress. But then it might be awkward about who pays for it. Probably better off bringing one with you. Tight is ok. Even the covered brides have form fitting dresses. They are keen on bright colours for the engagement dress. And piles of make up. 


My fiance's Mum died more than 10 years ago so I never got to meet her. I can imagine how you feel though. I would be very nervous too. I'm sure she will like you :)

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Sunny, I don't think you mean libel. 


There are MANY Turks who think that we who keep hijab, pray, etc. are backwards and stupid.  Why do so many people hate Erdogan?  People say he's trying to turn Turkey into Iran just because he's trying to protect Muslims' rights.


DO learn how to make Turkish coffee- it's a tradition for the bride to make it for the parents.


A nikah is a spiritual wedding.  It makes you and your intended okay to be together and not worry about offending God if you are "impure."


I can elaborate more later, but I must be off to an appointment!

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When I said 'all the stuff' for breakfast, I meant tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, jam, honey, olives,salami, maybe boiled eggs and bread of course. There's no need to go overboard. This is what most people eat and would be served at the places that people go to when they go out for breakfast.

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Thank you so much ladies!!!

Your advice has helped so much so far!!

I can't absolutely understand the nose blowing thing! I hate it!! The sound of somebody clearing their nostrils is never nice! I'm so obsessed that I catch my sneezes, which my mum goes crazy about!(she's a nurse and says the pressure is really bad for you)...

I guess I should buy my own dress before I go out to save on the awkwardness and also so I don't panic about last minute buying!! I'm so glad form fitting is ok! I'm very curvy and top heavy and although I'm happy to cover my skin, I don't want to look like a sack of potatoes! How much leg is ok to show? Do you have to wear tights for a dress that's just below the knee?

Hmmm... I will mention to tugrul about whether a nikah is necessary. Is definitely be willing...

I will learn to make the coffee anyway, as it's always good to learn new things...

That's better! I feel much more at ease with breakfast now! I'll just make sure we have food in. Are eggs hard boiled or soft?

I spoke to tugrul tonight and he said just be me, but that when I first greet her I should kiss her hand and put it to my forehead (which I'd expected but I did have to be specific when I asked him!) He also said in terms of a gift, she isn't into big gifts but she loves English tea and cookies so I will probably get some nice English biscuit, good tea from Harrodsburg and a very English bone china tea cup... He thinks she would love that so it works for me :)You are all angels!! Don't know where I would be without this forum!! Xx

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Hi ash,

I recently went to an engagement party at an apartment. The bride-to-be wore a glamorous red evening dress, hair and make-up done. The other women wore smart evening wear, but not dresses ie. Trousers, skirts and posh tops. But they all took very high-heels to wear in the house. All had their hair and make-up done (either up-do's or posh pony tails).

(Usually, the nikah takes place in the bride's mother's village, they have a bus trip and stay over night.)

There was a cake, and a buffet, lots of tea, and photos of everyone pinning a piece of gold on her dress.


As for a present, I'd suggest an interesting ceramic tea pot, maybe a matching cup and saucer, and maybe a nice tin of shortbread, they like those sort of biscuits, and she can re-use the tin and show people!!


I'd say that even very liberal, educated, western thinking Turks still carry out the cultural habits where these things are concerned. Drinking alcohol doesn't stop someone being a Muslim. You should see how much is consumed at a sunnet!!!


Good luck, I'm sure you'll be fine and she'll love you!

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Thank you Ahududu,


That's extremely helpful! Perhaps  will take a more formal dress with me so that I have something to wear and a few hair accessories for putting my hair in an updo.


Your present idea was spot on! I told Tugrul that I wanted to get him mum and gift and he said she loves english tea and cookies! So I suggested some nice tea, biscuits and a china cup or tea set and he said she would love it!! :) Happy days!


Thank you so much all for your help.


Thank you Tatertot and Olivia! :) Very exciting times!


Haha!! Clinky! That did make me chuckle!



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You're welcome.

Also, couples usually get a set of professional photos taken in their engagement gear, so he should wear a nice suit too. You can choose some fantastical backgrounds for your photos, and they'll touch them up digitally, so you both look flawless!! 


BTW - you should go to a hairdresser's to get your hair and make-up done - maybe with his mum and other girlfriends of his/aunts whatever. But be warned, the make-up can be a bit heavy - they like to look as though they'll be singing on Eurovision!!!

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Thank you Ahududu and cayaholic. You're so helpful! I think getting hair and make up done together is a great idea! I would love to have some great photos of us... Is this something that would be arranged as part of the engagement party or something we should arrange separately.

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My makeup was a bit OTT, lol.  But hey, when in Turkey...  People say I look like a supermodel.  NOT my usual look, but I'll take it! 


I'd spring for the full studio package, too.  It's like prom on steroids!  Crazy backdrops and effects, but you get a huge album/bound book.  It's done BEFORE the wedding and it's just you and him.  Totally different from what we do in the states.  No family shots, so be prepared for that. 

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I don't mind thick make up but I'm fair with blonde hair and I don't want to look like a vamp or something :-/ but it's fine. It's one night and wouldn't stop me enjoying it. The most important thing is that we're together and sharing with his family a happy occasion that I've already had the chance to share with my family.

Ooo wow! I bet the pics are amazing! Now to start dress hunting!! :) x

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I think that if you can get Cayaholic's friend to make you over I think that you would feel more comfortable as Ahududu said, they love the blue eyeshadow!



Sunny, I don't think you mean libel. 


There are MANY Turks who think that we who keep hijab, pray, etc. are backwards and stupid.  Why do so many people hate Erdogan?  People say he's trying to turn Turkey into Iran just because he's trying to protect Muslims' rights.


A published false statement that is damaging to a person's reputation; a written defamation.



Defame (someone) by publishing a libel.



Yes I did.

You said that "Some Turks look down on Islam".

Because many Muslims in Turkey do not agree with women covering themselves, seeing it as a retrograde step for women who are trying to be regarded as equal human beings does not make them any the less Muslims than you.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2436607/Women-shouldnt-drive-damages-ovaries-pelvis-warns-Saudi-sheikh.html

You answered you own question, that he seems to be trying to make the country like Iran. It's not a matter of protecting Muslims rights, 99% of the country is Muslim so whose rights is he trying to protect?


I don't want to write more here as it's off topic, but here's a couple of links. 



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Sunny, libel means to write a falsehood, knowing it's not true.  I did not do that, and you prove my point.  I never said anything about MUSLIMS- I was speaking of people's views of ISLAM.  Just the fact that you confirm that paranoia means there's truth in what I speak.  Just because Erdogan fought for the rights of women to keep hijab, how does that make Turkey like Iran???  He's actually protecting democracy that way.  I will now be able to teach at university because of him.  Now THAT'S progress!

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