Another wedding in Sofia – R&S

Venue: Sofia city centre

Lens: Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4

Music: Mikis Theodorakis – Zorbas (

I was recently at another wedding, this time the groom was a good friend of mine that I know since kindergarten. So I again took the opportunity to make some photos while enjoying the celebration. You already saw the typical customs for the Bulgarian weddings in my previous post (, but probably I can still surprise you with some novel things like the tradition of “stealing the bride” that was missing from the previous set of photos. So here are the photos with short explanations as usual.

As I was on the side of the groom I was supposed to help in one of the weird traditions in Bulgaria of taking the bride from her house. The groom with his friends is supposed to get to the bride’s house and take her either forcefully by stealing her, or by paying money to her defenders to open the door and let the bride out. Of course this is completely fake, especially since in this case the bride and groom live together for several years already, but one can make a fun story out of this tradition.
And here are the groom and his father, a bit stressed before all the action of the day starts. Shortly afterwards we entered the house and got to the apartment of the bride..
..that was guarded by her maids of honor. The groom ended up paying quite some amount of cash, but was finally let in without the need of us interfering forcefully. I know of some other cases of “stealing the bride” where people got carried away in the show and some doors got broken, but in this case everything went smoothly.
Here the bride is already “sold” and the couple is entering the first part of the official ceremony – the signing at the municipality.
The first wedding toast after they have signed the legal documents.
And then the procession is moving out of the municipality for some photos and candy before the next step – the religious marriage in the church.
People gathering in the church..
..and the priest preparing the relevant objects such as the bible and the bread and wine that will be used later on in the ceremony.
The church for this wedding was “St. George” who is depicted on this icon.
The main dome of the church colored in blue, which is not a very typical religious color.
And the ceremony is under way, with the best man exchanging the wedding crowns of the bride and groom.
A solemn moment when the priest is reading the bible and waving ritually the cross.
And the official part is over, everyone gets out in front of the church waiting for the freshly legalized family to let the white pigeons fly away.
The bride is faster!
And the celebrations can begin, with the kids already playing around the church.
But the real party starts a bit later in the restaurant where everyone gathers to celebrate. The best man has the important task of leading the “horo” – the traditional rounds dance. He is well-prepared for the task helped by the nowadays very rare object “buklitsa” – an old-style wooden flask for alcohol (usually rakia)
The traditions go on even at the party, here the groom and bride compete about who will break and end up with the bigger portion of the round bread. The bride wins, and will be the “boss” in the family.
And then it’s time for some real professional dances! There was a small crew of two boys and girls hired to show to everyone different dances – they started with Sirtaki dressed in the appropriate Greek traditional clothes..
..and moved on to some typical Bulgarian songs and costumes. There was even a guy playing the backpipe, one of the traditional Bulgarian instruments from the mountain regions.
The next music theme and costumes were from Ukraine I think..
..and eventually they ended up with a gypsy theme and the appropriate bright costumes and cheerful music.
Back to the Bulgarian traditional theme with some dance games, where the best man and maid of honor had to dance and steal the pies from the professional dancers.
After the dancing lessons it was the time for the wedding cake, and some of the kids were so eager to try it that they stole some bits of the (edible) decoration.
Here the cake is already cut and given around to people, but the small bride and groom on top are still surviving.
One of the last wedding rituals that lead to quite some excitement – the single men line up trying to catch the bridal stocking that the groom is about to throw. The winner will be the next one to get married!
After all the tiring rituals and traditions have been successfully completed, the bride and groom finally have some relaxed time for a dance together. And the night goes on..

40 thoughts on “Another wedding in Sofia – R&S

  1. I think these weddings look like fun! The different ethnic costumes and dances are really marvelous. In America, we all blend together, but I think the statement of nationality is a beautiful way to remind families of their origins.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a gorgeous wedding – and gorgeous clothing (both wedding and traditional dancers’ wardrobe). Thanks for sharing the explanations behind the ceremony and the traditions. I can well imagine that the “stealing of the bride” gets a little crazy at times.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is what I LOVE about blogging – getting insight into the lives and cultures of people from around the globe! Fantastic.. the bride looks beautiful as are your photographs! Thank you for this lovely peep into another world.. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoyed reading about these customs. In South Africa it is traditional for the bridegroom not to see the bride on the day of the wedding until they get to the church or law court (here we choose whether to get married in a magistrate’s court or in church). Also, the bride throws her flower bouquet at the single girls to determine who will get married next. Small differences but still fun all around. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think the bridal bouquet bit is the same over here, I just decided not to include these photos as I had them for the previous wedding post..but yes anyway it’s fun to see the small differences πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

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