Does anyone have any experience or stories to share about marrying their Bulgarian partner in Bulgaria?

I married my Bulgarian husband here in Varna five years ago. It was a fairly simple and amazingly fun process :) What would you like to know?

To give you the rundown... Both me and my Bulgarian fiance were living in Istanbul together. I had a month off for winter holiday and we decided to get married so I could come back to Bulgaria with him when I finished school.

First we went to the US embassy in Sofia (with appointment) to get a statement that I am legally free to marry. I forget how much that cost, but they were helpful and friendly... and it took all of 15 minutes.

Then we went had an informal ceremony with friends and family in a hija in the mountains. (Handfasting, killing a couple lambs etc). Great fun, but nothing legal.

Then we went to Varna and went to the hmmm- can't remember the name of it- but it is the ritual wedding building. It may just be called the ritual house. There we made an appointment to get married (choose a package based on how many people were going to be there, what services we wanted etc). We filled out some paper work. One thing that bugged me was that we wanted to hyphenate our last names, but they have a rule that the hyphenated name comes after your name, so I could be Daggett-Nikolova and my husband could be Nikolov-Daggett, but we couldn't have the same hyphenated name. So we kept our own last names.

Then we went to the post office to pick up a pack of blank wedding forms and went to a bunch of places for medical "tests." There was a blood test, a tuberculosis test (really there wasn't, just a fee and a stamp saying we had the test), something from a gp, and the psych center. My husband had to get a document saying he was not crazy and since foreigners are not in the system we had to have an interview with a the director, and my husband had to sign a form saying he realized there was a risk in marrying me since my psychiatric history could not be checked.

Then we took all that back to the ritual house the day before our wedding (it took us 3 days to get it all in order).

Day of wedding we needed our personal identification documents. Two witnesses (male and female) with their personal identification documents), a bottle of champagne, ritual champagne glasses, and rings to exchange. The ritual was short but sweet, in Bulgarian.

Then we had a brief reception at an art gallery with our friends and family.

We skipped a lot of the Bulgarian rituals- the husband's friends breaking into the bride's room and paying the mother-in-law for her, the dancing in the streets, stops at about 4 different homes (the groom, the witnesses, the bride), and the church (we're not religious). But it was still a lot of fun.

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