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'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 . . .
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
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
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 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.