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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

600 Georgian Bowls for an English Wedding

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LONDON -- I have swapped the balmy climes of Azerbaijan for the cold and drizzle of England this week.

My mother has buried a statue of the Infant of Prague in the sodden garden to bring good weather on Saturday, but so far he hasn't done his job.

I knew I should have got married in Baku. The weather is picture perfect and I could have bought an off-the-peg wedding dress for $30 from the shop that sells cheese, aspirin, spare parts for Nivas and wedding attire.

Organizing a wedding from 3,000 kilometers away is a tricky business. My mother insists we have caviar, so every time I knew someone was flying to London I gave them a jar of beluga to take back with them. Since the ban on caviar sales was lifted last year you are allowed to take 800 grams home with you.

Shamil, the mustachioed caviar entrepreneur at the Teze Bazaar, is almost as excited about the wedding as I am.

He has a tiny room at the back of the market just big enough to fit a noisy fridge, a box of official caviar jar lids (a friend of his works in the Fisheries Ministry) and a large poster of Mecca.

Every time I come to see him his face lights up and he points to the poster and tells me he is saving to go to Mecca next year.

Over the past six months I feel I have single-handedly funded his trip.

The next problem was what to serve the caviar in. My mother, who has never done things by halves, wants every guest to have individual bowls of caviar, chopped egg whites and yolks, spring onions, sour cream, blinis and a shot of vodka.

"I once went to a small monastery in Georgia where they were selling tiny bowls made by the local potter," she said in February. "Next time you're there you could ask him to make some."

Eventually I tracked Shota the potter down to a broken-down cottage in Mtskheta. His electricity had been off for two weeks and his tiny studio was lit by candles.

"I'd like to order some bowls," I said.

"Certainly," he said. "How many?"

"Six hundred," I said.

Shota's eyes shone and he smiled a toothless grin. He'd been saving to go to Moscow to visit his son, he said, and now he'd be able to afford the flight.

When I collected the bowls a month later, Shota wished me happiness and good luck.

"I will pray for sunshine on your wedding day," he said as I left. Shamil in Baku said the same.

Between Shota, Shamil and the Infant of Prague, we should be in safe hands.

Chloe Arnold is a freelance journalist based in Baku, Azerbaijan.