And now for the main event! The ceremony was set to begin at 12:40 at the Oborishte Ritual Hall.
I spent the morning having coffee and reading, and then got dressed for the wedding. It was another nice day, and it seemed like every Bulgarian family was out for a stroll. It was also Bulgaria’s Liberation Day, and a day when big protests were scheduled (the Bulgarian government had recently fallen), but the protests were pretty tame. Fortunately the Ritual Hall was within walking distance, so road closures didn’t affect me, and I recorded on my way to the ceremony.
First I walked right past it. I guess I was expecting something that looked a little more…I don’t know…celebratory? Then I saw a different wedding party leaving and asked a man carrying flowers if I was in the right place. Turns out he was going to Nicole and Nikola’s wedding as well–Bulgarians have a nice custom of bringing flowers to a wedding. We went inside and awaited the bride and groom.
A Bulgarian civil servant (I don’t know what her title was) performed the ceremony very beautifully (the former U.S. Ambassador’s interpreter interpreted). She was serious but kind of poetic too.
The ceremony included drinking champagne–a custom I can really get behind.
Nikola with his bride.
Nikola is a tailor, so who better to do the bustle?
The view from the hotel where the reception was held. The protests broke up a couple hours later.
They worked in a few of the many Bulgarian wedding traditions. This one involved holding a loaf of bread over their heads and breaking it. Whoever gets the bigger half will wear the pants in the family. Nikola proudly shows up his bigger half.
This beautiful (and delicious) cake was made by Nicole’s boss (who I happened to work for years ago). She and her husband are not professional bakers–but should be!
Nicole throwing her bouquet.
I was among the last to leave the reception that night around 10:45. If you’re doing the math, that’s 10 hours of partying–probably a record for any wedding I’ve ever been to–including my own! These former FS buddies of mine definitely outdid me. By the way, it was lovely how many of Nicole’s friends traveled from afar for the wedding–people came from Iraq, Brazil, Nicaragua, Poland, and Mongolia, as well as the U.S.–truly amazing.
A quick word about my outfit. When Nicole mentioned it was a Bulgarian holiday I decided to dress accordingly–in the colors of the Bulgarian flag. I knew it would be chilly there, so I also wanted to wear tights with a warm-ish dress. I had this wool Kate Spade dress and I remembered that it had been styled online in a colorful way. So, considering my lack of fashion know-how (thus far only the librarians of DC have recognized my style), I decided to straight-up copy the look. Here’s the original:
And here’s my version:
I think it ultimately worked, but my bright tights and shoes definitely got some weird looks on my Sunday afternoon walk to the ritual hall!