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Thursday, 24 September 2015

A magical wedding

We didn't know what to expect of the ceremony or the events leading up to it, though we had been given an outline. It was hard to visualise it. I was told that there has not been a traditional, all in costume, wedding in the village for decades, most brides opting for a white wedding. If this is the case I think they are missing out!

We were a couple of minutes late to the groom's house, we got the time wrong. As we approached there was a donkey and cart coming towards us, with the groom (Steve) dressed in traditional costume, on the back and attendants plus musicians. The street was lined with villagers, but as guests passed us in cars festooned with balloons, we tagged on to the end. Going at donkey walk pace we made our way to the village centre (all the time accompanied by drums and accordian) where there were even more villagers and donkey had a break before carrying on, the convoy of cars stopping all traffic. As we got to the end of our lane there was Venka with her friends and our neighbours, Violetta and Baba Danke. We followed the donkey the longer way round to the house of friends (he was best man, she best woman) where his bride was waiting. (the neighbours were there before us!) Many people piled into the yard to see the groom meet the bride, lots of music, laughter, sweeties and just sheer joy and community spirit. Out they came and had a bit of a dance before getting back onto the cart for the journey back to the village square. We piled our neighbours into the car and off we went. There were even more people on the square and there was lots more dancing and handing out of sweeties (as on most occasions) The happy couple must have been melting in their heavy clothes, and at one point Tatiyana broke free from the dancing looking extremely hot. Venka and another of her friends (her husband's cousin) were two of the first to start dancing. She has just had her 70th birthday but once she starts, she skips like a youngster.
The groom on his way to fetch his bride

Not much sign of the villagers...they were all to the right of our car sheltering under the trees

Cavalcade stopping the traffic

Some of the young lads borrowed a rotovator with trailer
Piling into the yard to meet the bride
The bride looking lovely in her traditional wedding dress (Ann's photo)
(Ann's photo)

So patient

Dave with some of his favourite ladies, Venka and Baba Danke

Steve and Tatiyana

(Ann's photo)

On their way back to the village square

Straight away there were people dancing. It looks simple but apparently is very difficult to learn

Tatiyana was a bit warm in her gear (Venka in red, with Stefka in yellow, no stopping them!)

Withe the best man and best woman

Donkey rested it was time to make our way to the house so loaded the neighbours back up. The actual ceremony was in the garden, the Mayor being the official, with another in attendance and an interpreter for those British amongst us. But first the couple had to eat bread dipped in honey before entering the garden and have a sip of wine, followed by many villagers. The mood was so happy.
Venka found my sat-on-and-shopping-squashed sun hat and played the fool. They are like giggly teenagers sometimes, bless them. With Violetta

Baba Danke
Bread, honey and wine at the gate of their home (Ann's photo)

Waiting to get into the garden

Saying their vows

The Mayor, Tatiyana, Steve, Mayor's assistant (Ann's photo)

All very informal and touching

After the ceremony the villagers left and we eventually sat down to a great spread and chatted to Bulgarian music, made new friends and reacquainted ourselves with some we hadn't seen for a while. It was hot but I managed to find a seat in the shade, lucky me. The bride and groom were by now in cooler clothes! There was plenty of drink, though there was soon a shortage of soft drinks, and the obligatory bottle of rakia on every table.
The tables looked lovely with their simple decoration...and rakia! The bees thought the sunflowers were there for them. The bowl was veggie beetroot nutty balls for me....

....but there was plenty of other veggie stuff too. Lovely to be so looked after

The ladies of the village had made a huge bread heart, baked in the village bakery, and this was passed around for everyone to take a piece and dip it in honey. Unfortunately some didn't enter into the spirit of the thing but that always happens I suppose. But it was lovely and very heavy!
This bread heart must have been so heavy

Dave dipping his bread in honey
Cutting the cake..a modern one this time (Ann's photo)

We had to go home to milk the goat and I stayed to wait for the chickens to go to bed, but Dave went back for a proper drink and a dance and more traditions. I eventually went to sleep with a smile on my face. I feel priveleged to have been included and we wish Steve and Tatiyana the very best of heath and happiness in their new life together. I don't know the ins and outs and no doubt missed a lot of what was happening, but the spirit was there and I missed none of the good, warm community feeling.

(No photos of the hilarious night time capers...the photos are on facebook and it's playing up!)

And thank you both for allowing me to do this blog.

I'd like to thank best woman Ann for the use of some of her photos.


  1. How wonderful to partake in a traditional wedding, it all looks so cheerful and the food looks delicious, when I think of all the money that is spent on weddings in the UK, this wedding would be lot more memorable :-)

    1. It was amazing and I was glad to get home before I got too tired. I don't socialise much and soon get to the point where I want to go home. This time I left before I got to that stage.

  2. Thank you for the lovely photos, what a great day. You really should think about writing a book about all your experiences and advice for living in this beautiful country. Best wishes Michele from Somerset

    1. Thank you Michele, but I think it's been done a few times before...and with much more skill. Lovely of you to say so though

  3. As Dawn commented above I too think this a delightful wedding and I really don't understand the modern trend of spending an enormous fortune on one day's festivities. I suspect that the happy couple will remember their special day with as much fondness as any modern bride in the UK. You are so fortunate to be included, sadly I think these kinds of traditions are fading in most european countries where they get American tv and film shows.

    1. It seems it's been twenty years since there was a village wedding, brides want all the trappings of town, such a shame. We are fortunate indeed. I often wonder why so much is spent on weddings in the UK when people are unable to save for a deposit on a house. Still, each to their own.

  4. What a super experience! And a lot more fun than the stuffy old UK affairs in church with formal sit down meals (much the same in France). So glad you got to experience this and to share with us. :-)

    1. It certainly was, and everyone is still talking about it over a week later. It's a shame no-one put videos on YouTube, there were some great ones.
      I just wish we had thought about taking our large sun umbrellas to keep at least the oldies cooler...but I was OK under a hedge! We couldn't really swap because there were some people who needed to be away from others, if you get my drift

  5. What an idyllic wedding. Nothing like the commercialism and debt attached to many UK weddings. Perfect!

    1. It seems not many people get to see a wedding like this any more, such a shame.