A bohemian chic wedding in Bulgaria
05 Dec 2019
Inviting 44 guests from 10 different countries to Bulgaria, Teddy Todorova and Michael Pernikis planned their destination wedding from afar
How did you meet?
In Loughborough University, at the students’ union.
Tell us about the proposal.
Michael was in Paris for a work trip, so I joined him for a long weekend. On our last evening he took me to the Eiffel Tower at night. I was totally clueless despite him buying a champagne bottle. We watched the shimmering tower as he asked a group of girls to take our picture – each of us on one side of the tower. Then he went on one knee and the rest is history.
What was the theme for the day, and did you have a colour scheme?
We got married on a pretty warm summer's day, so we knew we wanted a relaxed, romantic bohemian chic wedding – lots of pastel tones, including dusty blue and pink, greens and beiges.
What venue did you choose and why did you choose it?
We chose a golf course venue on the North coast of the Black Sea in Bulgaria. We hadn’t previously seen it, so 100% trusted our co-ordinator and the website pictures. It was near a town where we went on our first holiday together nearly 10 years ago, so it felt like it was meant to be. We also chose it because we fell in love with the view and the Lake Taverna where the reception and party were – it was chic yet a little rustic. Just perfect for a summer wedding.
When did you know you’d found ‘the’ dress?
It was love at first sight to be honest – it was my second visit at David’s Bridal in Stratford, London. I went with a friend and a bunch of printed pictures. I felt much more prepared and there it was – the perfect dress and the perfect fit, which made me feel confident and effortless but most importantly it made me feel myself. The dress was a Galina lace all-over beaded dress. I had previously been to two more bridal shops and had probably tried 15 dresses in total.
Does the dress match the one you originally thought you would choose?
Not at all. I always thought I’d go for straps and a V-neck, but I ended up wearing a strapless gown with an Empire waist. What I always knew I wanted though was the lace, and a lightweight material so I could dance, eat and breathe.
Who were your bridesmaids?
I didn’t have bridesmaids per se, because I didn’t really want roles at the wedding... or my best friends dressing the same. My maid of honour was my sister, who wore a beautiful baby blue dress, and my three best friends got ready with me on the day and supported me throughout. They were Kirina, my oldest friend from school in Bulgaria; Nina, my fellow Erasmus exchange friend I met before I even met my future husband; and Federica – an ex-colleague and really close friend from Italy. They actually ell ended up wearing blue anyway.
What did the mother of the bride wear?
She wore a black midi lace dress with red shoes, a red clutch and pearls.
Where did you find your suit?
Moss Bros, London – but he spent a lot of time on Pinterest before, planning each detail.
Did you hire a wedding planner? How did they help?
Yes, we did. We hired Mariella Wilson from Fairytale Day Wedding. Mariella is originally from Bulgaria, but now lives in London and organises weddings across Bulgaria, Greece and beyond. She’s amazing.
Tell us about your floral arrangements.
We had a simple arch, covered with baby breath all over. I also had baby breath in my hair. We had white and pink garden roses and greens on the table, as well as candles and fairy lights. The head table was absolutely dreamy. The whole arrangement felt a little bohemian, a little Italian – just the most romantic mixture.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail – tell us about the details of the day.
We definitely went a little over the top on the DIY stuff, because we wanted a few special elements that we chose ourselves. Starting with custom-designed wine bottle labels (by my artist sister), through to DJ request cards, milk chocolate heart favours, Polaroid black and white pictures for the guests’ place cards, a guest book and 'wisdom wishes' for guests to fill in. Those details were all super fun to pick.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
The nerves got to me right before I had to walk down, because I was desperate to hear the music and I couldn’t. I was standing there with my dad for what felt like ages, super impatient. Walking down the aisle was fun. I wish I could have made more eye contact with my husband, but my shoe heel got inside the lace of my dress so I had to stop for a good half minute to release it. Luckily, I saw the funny side.
How did you make the ceremony personal to you?
The only thing we really insisted on was translation. The officiant spoke in Bulgarian and we had a lovely lady translate consecutively – in English. It was important for us that all our guests understood what was said. Michael got to repeat the lines for the ring and the vows in Bulgarian, which isn’t his native language and he did so well.
What was your most memorable moment?
So many – the ceremony and the first kiss, then breathing a sigh of relief. The photoshoot and definitely our first dance as well.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
The fact that the venue was a four-hour flight away and not just down the road definitely made it challenging. Learning about all the little details that you’d never thought about before – and how much they make the wedding. Also bringing everyone together – guests and family flew or drove from 10 different countries.
What was the most important investment for you?
The food and drinks, the videographers and the flowers and decorations. And they were all equally amazing – so totally worth it.
What song did you choose for your first dance, and why?
The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations, as it’s such a feel good song. We had a little choreography prepared for it (we danced the jive) and we were by the beach, so it totally made sense. And because I am a music junkie and know that it inspired Bohemian Rhapsody, a favourite song of mine, as in it was so different for its time. For me, good vibrations is about that sense you have when you’ve found the one, and everything is good in the world.
Did you have any evening entertainment?
We had a DJ, who also hosted the entire evening in two languages – an absolute legend. The party was amazing.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
We chose a Victoria sponge naked strawberry cake – it was delicious, and the presentation was really something else.
If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
I’d probably stress a little less the month prior to the wedding and just trust that we’ve done is enough. I’d also stay until 5am to dance, I definitely had a lot of energy after the guests left.
Did you have a custom hashtag for social media? If so, what was it?
Was there anything you wish you’d known before?
I think we were more than prepared. We knew the day would go super quickly, so we definitely reminded ourselves to just enjoy it, and make the most of it.
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We went to Istanbul for a week, three days after the wedding. It gave us enough time to chill with our guests, have another big meal and a beach day and spend quality time with family that live far away.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Use spreadsheets to capture all costs, and Trello to project manage in a more visual way. Also ask suppliers upfront about anything and everything you’re not clear about – this will give you peace of mind on the day, that is irreplaceable.
Steal their style:
Wedding co-ordinator and agency: Mariella Wilson
Venue: Black Sea Rama Golf & Villas
Photography: Mariana Dimitrova
Videography: Nikolay Nikolov at Provideoz
Make-up: Victoria Radoslavova at Freya Beauty
Wedding rings: Kei Tominaga
DJ: Aivan at Party DJs Varna
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