These days, Bulgarian couples often choose the traditional wedding ceremony rather than ordinary European-style wedding. They want to come back to their roots and find out more about their native culture. And Bulgarians are lucky because their folk weddings are really bright, cheerful, and magical. Another popular way of getting married in Bulgaria is the church wedding ceremony. But the most chic weddings combine both these ceremonies to make the event as flamboyant and festive as possible.
A lot of Bulgarians are Christians and rather religious people, so many weddings in Bulgaria have religious ceremonies. There are several rituals performed during such a wedding ceremony. One of the most important of them is the crowning of the couple. Both the bride and the groom are crowned with a special crown provided by the church – it symbolizes Jesus’s crown of thorns. The best man (called “koumbaro” in Bulgaria) exchanges these crowns 3 times on the couple’s heads.
Another ritual includes drinking the communion wine by the bride and groom from a single glass. It symbolizes that they will share everything from this moment. Also, they have chocolate after the wine to sweeten their future life together.
The church wedding ceremony lasts for about 1 hour. Afterward, the celebration continues in the form of a wedding reception. Sometimes, the first day of the wedding is dedicated to the church ceremony and the second day is the time for merry celebrations.
A very popular idea in Bulgaria is to have a traditional wedding that includes folk costumes (not only for the bride and groom but for the guests as well), traditional food and drinks, folk songs and dances, etc. Often, couples combine a church wedding with a wedding reception in traditional style. It’s like having several totally different weddings in one package.
Bulgarian female folk dress from one of the regions
Even those couples who don’t want a fully traditional wedding may incorporate just some old rituals or traditional activities to make their wedding more Bulgarian rather than European.
Just imagine how colorful, authentic, and exciting a Bulgarian wedding looks and feels with all those folk costumes, wedding bread, hand-woven or hand-decorated décor, and many other cute elements. Add to this that a lot of weddings are held outdoors, in the mountains, in the forest – and you’ll see why Bulgarian traditional weddings are so charming and unique.
The traditional wedding celebration includes several interesting activities that are very entertaining. Like the ritual of shaving the groom. The best man shaves him with a razor (not sharp one because it’s a symbolic action, and also, you don’t want sharp razors and alcohol to be mixed!). This ritual symbolizes the man’s transition from childhood to adulthood.
After the groom is shaven, he takes a procession of relatives and friends and goes to the bride’s house to ask her parents for her hand in marriage. He brings a flag with him. If the parents give their permission, the flag is hoisted on the roof of the bride’s house for everybody to see that the girl is getting married.
The groom’s mother bakes special wedding bread for the wedding and the couple shares it. They eat a piece of bread with salt to show that they will cope with hard periods in life together and a piece with honey to sweeten their future together. The guests also get their pieces of bread. The wedding bread is a very popular and really old wedding tradition in Bulgaria.
A Bulgarian traditional wedding has a lot of folk music and folk dancing. It is a cheerful and fun event not only for the couple but for all of the guests as well. There is everything you can wish for – plenty of delicious food, joyful dancing together, good music, interesting activities, and warm atmosphere.