Joseph Kempf and Valentina Atanasova

UNITED IN MARRIAGE — Joseph Kempf, the son of John and Kim Kempf of Fort Atkinson, and Valentina Atanasova, daughter of Valentine Atanasov and Sofia Atanasova of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria, were united in marriage on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Bulgaria. Two candle light ceremonies were held on the evening of the 27th. The first ceremony was a civil service, which was followed by a Christian ceremony at the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Church. Two priests officiated the wedding in the church, which was built in 1844. Holy Communion was served to the couple and their sponsors. Also served was Pitka bread with honey, which symbolically represents the new family unit that the forthcoming wedding will bring. The couple then was crowned as a symbol of giving one life to the other as man and women. After the exchange of the rings, the priests led the couple in a procession around the offering table at the center of the church. The couple had a small family ceremony and celebrated with a dinner at a local restaurant afterward. The couple’s sponsors were the bride’s cousin, Violeta Dimitrova, and her husband, Jimmy Dimitrov. Also in attendance were the sponsor’s three daughters, Alexandra, Damyana and Andrea; a cousin, Dimitar Zayko; the bride’s grandmother, Stoyanka Velikova; and both Joseph’s and Valentina’s parents. Joseph graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a bachelor’s degree in geography. After graduating, he served in the Peace Corp in Bulgaria for three years and attended Word of Life Institute in Hungary. He currently is employed at the University of America in Blagoevgrad. Valentina graduated from South-West University in Blagoevgrad with a bachelor’s degree in education and psychology. She currently is enrolled in a master’s program and is employed at the Blagoevgrad Municipality.

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