- Independent Journalism From Today's Armenia
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 July 18 , 2003 

First Family Times Two: Elder son of President has wedding suited for a commoner

Last weekend Armenia's First Son, Sedrak Kocharyan married Zara Badalyan in Yerevan. The ceremony was closed to media, but not to veteran journalist Naira Manucharova.

Naira's work has appeared before on ArmeniaNow in an analysis of President Robert Kocharyan vs. Challenger Stepan Demirchyan in the February TV debate by the presidential candidates.

With this assignment she reports on a much more serious matter: a presidential wedding.

The Philistine among society must wonder what separates a presidential wedding from any other. As far as nothing Philistine is alien for us we will try to tell the way it - the wedding of the older son of the President of the Republic of Armenia, Sedrak Kocharyan - was . . .
The First Son and the First Daughter-In-Law.

Sedrak and Zara had their marriage ceremony in the popular wedding spot, St. Hripsime Church, in Echmiadzin. There were no "special effects" or moderations accompanying the princely proceeding.

A limousine was rented for the newly-weds, but even that is not unusual in Yerevan any more as they can be commonly seen parked outside Astafian Hotel on Abovian Street.

Nor did the wedding banquet satisfy Philistine expectations. It was held in the huge hall of Nor Dzoraderd restaurant, and while not all of us could afford such a service, plenty in the capital who are emphatically non-presidential hold celebrations there. The giant hall was filled, as might be expected, taking into account that the groom is the First Son, and the bride, the daughter of a Parliament Deputy (Vladimir Badalyan).

Banquet guests were a representation of all political factions. The President himself invited only a few of his Cabinet members, the Prime Minister, and the Speaker of Parliament. Several Armenian Foreign Ambassadors attended among some 400 guests.

To begin the (modest, considering the parties) wedding celebration, the new Mr. and Mrs. Kocharyan were seated on an elaborately decorated stage - next to their Godfather, Minister of Defense Serzh Sargsyan.

The First Father spared the guests speech-making, and let the uninterrupted music and dancing set the mood for his son's biggest day. The tempo of the party picked up considerably when musicians Haiko and Tata appeared on stage.

Anyone expecting something ostentatious would have left disappointed: Tables were not groaning from the burden of feast; no barrels of caviar, no sturgeon on silver platters.

The ubiquitous sweet of sweethearts, Grand Candy, had a presence at the wedding banquet as guests were given candies wrapped in papers with the couple's names, a short history of their relationship, and a recipe for conjugal happiness.

Except for the names on the guest list, there wasn't much to make an outsider feel left out. And certainly very little fodder for the gossip mill.

And speaking of departures from tradition: There was no parade of gift bearers elbowing for position at the bride's table. Of course there must have been discretely offered presents, but we learned from a confidential source that the Head of State had strongly "recommended" that guests not turn the event into a chance to suck up to the Chief.

The First Father-in-Law himself presidentially partied for five hours, until the traditional wedding cake was presented. And even the pastry itself departed tradition: It was actually tasty.



According to Agnes
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  Photo of the week
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In a village near Tsakhkadzor an Armenian burro finds shelter from the Armenian summer.



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