The actual engagement takes place on a holiday or on Saturday. The wedding ceremony is separate from the engagement and can take place years afterward. It is customary to declare the engagement in front of friends and family. Christian tradition dictates that the engagement ring be worn on the ring finger of the left hand and the wedding ring – on the ring finger of the right hand.
Most weddings in Bulgaria take place on Saturday or more often on Sunday. There are no (or less) weddings in the period of fasting (especially before Easter). The young couple, relatives and all the guests go to the ritual hall. If there is a church ritual, too, all go to the church after the civil procedure. It is impossible to get married in church before or without public - civil procedure. At the end of the ceremony, the couple exchange rings and a kiss. Then comes the custom of "stepping." Whoever manages to step on the other's foot first would dominate in the marriage.
Often parents and the best man hire folk musicians to play during the rituals. Even today it is believed that the bride should not leave her home before she is symbolically redeemed by the family of her future husband. The girls relatives block up the door from inside. With lots of jokes and different symbolic actions they do not open to the bridegrooms relatives until they get a sum worthy the occasion. The money for the "ransom" is placed in the brides shoe.
In the old days, the reception would take place at the groom's home. Nowadays, it takes place at a catering hall or a restaurant. The groom's mother lays a long, white hand-woven cloth at the door for the new couple to walk on as she strews flowers on the path as a symbol of health, happiness and purity in their new life together. She feeds the newly weds with a honey cake and wine with more wishes for a long, sweet life.
Then she holds a loaf of bread over her head and invites them each to pull one end of it. Whoever gets the bigger piece will dominate and have the biggest role in the new family.
Again there is the best man to dance! This is one of the most important moments! Young people who perform well dance for the best man, one of them holding a cock and the other- a festive bread.
Special wedding bread On the preceding Thursday (before the wedding) the brides mother performs the ritual kneading of the bread. The rising of the dough symbolizes the creation of a new family unit.
zdravetzzdrave The whole ceremony is rich in symbols – every bouquet and wreath should have red carnation - symbol of manliness and geranium – symbol of health ( the name of the flower in Bulgarian is zdravetz and word for health is zdrave). The wheat seeds and coins should be thrown over the young couple as a symbol of fertility and prosperity. When they go from one place to the other during the wedding days they should not go on the same street because it will cause repetition of the marriage.