Elegant + Traditional Wedding in Bulgaria | Dani + Valentin

There’s a Bulgarian wedding tradition called breaking of the bread, and it’s awesome.

Explains our bride Dani, “The bride and groom stand with their backs towards one another and hold the bread over their heads. Once signaled, they both try to break the bigger piece of bread, which is supposed to symbolize who will be “the head of the house.” This was the funniest part of our reception because Valentin’s hands are quite bigger than mine and yet I broke off about 2/3 of the bread.”

Because bread knows that being in charge has nothing to do with traditional gender roles!

Introduced by a mutual friend, Dani and Valentin’s relationship started on the phone. At the time, Dani was working toward her master’s degree in Chicago and Valentin was elbow-deep with his Toronto startup. Five weeks later, when they met over Christmas break, the chemistry was instant. Though difficult, the rest of their year-and-a-half long-distance relationship was a good thing, too—Dani feels that it really helped them learn about each other and work on their communication. So, all you couples out there living miles (and miles) apart, take heart!

After getting engaged in Italy on the Amalfi Coast in the town of Positano, Dani and Valentin (who are both Bulgarian) knew they wanted to have their wedding in Bulgaria. There was folk dancing, a really beautiful church, a first look (not a tradition in Eastern Europe, but one of the ways Dani and Valentin brought their new lives to their old), and so very much more.

From Dani, who found her Iris gown at our flagship Toronto boutique and honeymooned with Valentin at the Sani Resort in Halkidiki, Greece:


How did your sweetie propose?


“He proposed while we were on a trip to Italy. Ever since we met I had been talking about a little town on the Amalfi Coast called Positano. One morning while there he decided to make me crepes for breakfast and we sat out on the balcony of our Airbnb which overlooked the sea. After we ate our breakfast he got on one knee and proposed.”

wedding dress: Lea-Ann Belter Iris via the flagship Toronto bridal boutique | photographer: Luminar Photography and Videography | scroll for full vendor list

How did you choose your gown?


“Our wedding was in June and I started looking for dresses in November. All the boutiques I went to were rushing me to choose a gown because it would take over 6 months for the gown to be made and shipped. I was going insane trying to choose between 2 gowns I had tried on, each of them missing something. So I googled bridal boutiques one last time and stumbled upon Lea-Ann Belter’s boutique in Toronto. As soon as I walked in I saw a gown which matched exactly what I imagined for my wedding dress. I tried it on and I was in love. Vanessa was extremely helpful in helping me choose a veil and make adjustments to the dress. I’ve never experienced such customer service. I also loved the fact that I will be wearing a Toronto designer who makes the dresses locally.”


Tell us about your day!


“Our wedding took place in Bansko, Bulgaria which is a small town situated in the middle of 3 mountains. We’re both Bulgarian so we wanted to have a traditional wedding but with some changes which incorporated some Western practices. The theme I had in mind since the beginning was simplicity and elegance, so I worked with my wedding planner Yana to have the floral and other decor reflect this image. I wanted there to be greenery with small white flowers incorporated in it, along with some gold details here and there.

We made it our own by including a “first look” meeting up in the mountains—this is not a traditional practice in Eastern Europe. However, once at the reception the event followed traditional practices, such as a folk dance group for entertainment, dancing to folk music (called horo), and breaking of bread. “


What was your first dance song?


“It was a cover of “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Kina Grannis. Her voice is angelic and it gives me chills every time I listen to her.”


Three words that best describe your partner:


“Dani: 3 words that describe Valentin are kind, patient, and intelligent.
Valentin: 3 words that describe Dani are passionate, supportive, and kind.”

Dani + Valentin’s Bulgarian Wedding Vendors
Were you a Lea-Ann Belter bride? We’d love to see your pictures and share your story! Email Jessica@Lea-AnnBelter.com.