An official Bulgarian wedding is performed by a municipal official. A church wedding cannot take place until the civil ceremony has already happened. So most weddings in Bulgaria happen in two parts: the civil ceremony, then the church ceremony. In Pleven, the civil ceremonies take place in City Hall, which is the former Pleven Communist Party headquarters. After I picked up the bride from her apartment, the whole group headed downtown to City Hall. Here we are heading into the Party building, with Bobby (Boris) escorting Rali and me escorting Kami (Kamelia).
The entire ceremony was conducted in Bulgarian. I can speak and understand Bulgarian with some effort, but on this particular day, I wasn't quite able to concentrate on the vocabulary I was hearing. I answered da ("yes") at the right times, which was good enough for the woman performing the ceremony.
After signing our names in the municipal register, we had our official champagne toast.
Tradition says you have to finish the glass of champage. Burping is frowned upon.
And finally, after the long ceremony, after the signatures, I was finally able to kiss my beautiful bride.
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