I promised you a longer story of our wedding, here it is!
You might have worried we have fallen off the planet after the wedding, but everything is ok, very ok, we are married and are looking back on a wonderful truly amazing day.
Before I tell a bit more about it let me say thank you very much for your support in the entire process, also on behalf of my wife You have been advising, helping with connections to partners, and have felt for us someone who we can fall back on in case we run into problems or feel uncertain. Thank you very much for that! For example in the case of the program. You will not believe how much time we spent on making the detailed program (did we tell you we both work for a planning software company? Planning is our profession..). Your tips were really good, especially on the folklore group. We asked Tony (Antoanetta, of the Pertito agency) for a recommendation, she first recommended a group that we were not that impressed by, then another idea came up: the Bizone dance group. And they were great! They gave a great dancing performance, high energy, a true play, great to watch. Many people commented on it. It indeed gave the evening a great Bulgarian feel. There were other typical Bulgarian elements in there as well, the live horo lesson by Valentina, one of our witnesses who is also a zumba instructor. She managed to practically get everyone on the dancefloor! (which is an achievement considering the Dutch guests present, we Dutch are known for many things, but dancing is not one of them). We also did the breaking of the bread (guess who held the biggest piece), and the pitka with salt and honey ceremony. As well as the tasting of the wine by the witnesses committee (gorchivo! ).
The weather on the day was fantastic, the forecast for August 3 was rain and thunder, with clear blue (and warm) days before and after that. When we discussed this with Pastor George from the church in Varna, he half jokingly said he would talk to his Boss (...), and suggested we do the same. He did, we did, and in the end the weather was the best we could imagine. Not too hot, with a bit of clouds protecting our guests from the direct sun during the first ceremony. Then just after the pastor had started his ceremony a strong wind came, almost blowing Diyana's veil off the cliffs, chasing the clouds away so breaking open the whole place and at the same time offering some coolness our guests. A truly special moment. The lesson here: have faith!
We learned a number of lessons:
- Having an overview of all topics with all todos in there and keeping that up to date really helps in maintaining peace of mind. We used an excel file with many tab pages (Mains (with all the big points like dress, rings, flowers, etc. and their action points), BSR with questions to the venue, a packing list for what to bring to Bulgaria, things we need to think of the week before, the day before, wedding day reminders, diets, playlist, budget, and quite a few more). Every time we thought of something we put it down in the excel sheet, that really helped to keep an overview. And then organizing was a matter of looking at the list and ticking of the things that are most important or most urgent.
- Our choice of master of ceremony was not the best. We had asked a friend, who from the beginning was hesitant about her role. In the end we asked another friend and my brother to help out, they saved the day for us. You so need a person to arrange everything, do all the hands-on things the arise, and guard the program. Plus, we could have clearly seen it would not work out, but were afraid to take the decision to ask someone else, something that would have helped her and us. She helped a lot with translations by the way. I think there are a number of lessons in this one: let people do what they are good at. When you ask someone to do something don't assume you know the answer, but give room to that person to give that answer. And don't be afraid to take a difficult decision. Not very specific lessons for a wedding, something very specific is that the role of organizer on the day itself, or master of ceremony, or how else you can call it, is a very important one and has a very big impact on the day.
- People of which you would be sure to attend did not attend, others of which you were not so sure right from the start confirmed and were there celebrating with us. I guess you just never know. And that is fine. We were surprised
- The photographer and videographer will take more time than planned. We weren't too strict on it, and I believe we will have the most amazing wedding photos (still waiting for them), it did mess up the program a bit. As said, we are still waiting for the results, but I can already say it was really a pleasure to work with Yana Peneva and her boyfriend Alexander.
- Call in the experts! We had you advising us, we listened well to others who got married or attended weddings and we were lucky enough to visit a couple of weddings ourselves before our own. From all of that we took the good things, the things we liked, and also learned what does not work, e.g. we decided to have one language as the main language (English) and only translate some elements into Bulgarian, and none into Dutch. That was a good decision as it kept the pace during the wedding. We were still short in time in the end! Which was good, everyone said it was such a great evening with such a great program. And that's what it is all about. A friend of mine didn't get to read out his speech, he just read it to me the next morning over breakfast.
- That is another lesson: organize something the day before and the day after for the guests. The day after we got together at the beach and in the botanical gardens in Balchik, and then gathered at the restaurant down the botanical gardens (Korona). That worked out well. What worked out less well is that in the end we drove to Cape Kaliakra for the fotoshoot, that obviously took some time, so we left our guests for quite some hours. In hindsight, we would have done the photoshoot a day later, so 2 days after the wedding so we could focus on our guests the whole day after the wedding.
The evening before I did not make any reservation at the BSR main restaurant, I though it would be alright considering many of our guests are staying there anyway, but they had trouble accommodating so many guests, there were not enough tables and chairs, and not enough serving personnel. Flexible as the BSR is during weddings, a lot less flexible they are in the restaurant at the clubhouse.
- Pavel of the BSR is great. Experience matters! He is totally the right man for the job, never stressing, taking all questions serious, knowing what's important and what not, knowing what's possible and what not, he has been really good behind the scenes.
- The amfitheater at the BSR is an amazing place, it works wonders. We were very glad the weather turned out as it did, not too hot. Pavel had alternatives, like moving inside for the ceremony, or moving inside for the cocktail. And having giant parasols that could be placed in the amfitheater to offer shade. We brought paper umbrellas, that in the end not many people used. For an average day in August I would say doing the ceremony at 15h is too hot. Either have the wedding early or later in the season, or start later. We plan to only get married once, so we are very happy with how it turned out, for other couples this probably good advice.
All the best for now,
with greetings from my lovely wife Diyana