Norwegian Wedding Traditions
You might notice some similarities between different Scandinavian countries, but there are also some unique traditions. Whether you’re planning a Norwegian wedding of your own, trying to connect with your Norwegian heritage, or just interested in Scandinavian traditions, read through our blog and see what you learn about Norwegian weddings!
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Bride and Groom Dress
The Norwegian bunad is a traditional, hand-made woolen suit that is made up of a silk short, short pants, stockings, a vest, and a top coat. It is often covered with intricate and colorful designs.
This bunad is traditionally worn by the groom and his groomsmen on a wedding day. It is also common to see other wedding guests wearing their traditional bunads at weddings and other important celebrations. The bride could also wear a dress variation of the bunad to her wedding.
But, instead of the bunad, the bride generally wears a silver or white brudekjole (wedding gown) with a Norwegian bridal crown. We will talk about the significance of the bridal crown later. The bridesmaids then dress similarly to the bride, partly to help protect the bride by confusing any evil spirits who might want to ruin the wedding.
The Wedding Ceremony
A traditional Norwegian wedding is held in either a church or a civil ceremony at city hall. Both are considered civil weddings as church and state are still one in Norway.
The wedding will begin with a procession where fiddle or violin players lead the bride and groom down the aisle. Behind the bride and groom are their parents, bridesmaids, the ring bearer, and flower girls with the guests processing in last.
Norwegian Bridal Crown
The bride will wear a Norwegian bridal crown with her wedding dress, something that is a treasured family heirloom. In Norwegian tradition, these bridal crowns were made out of silver and are attached to long veils. This crown is meant to represent the Virgin Mary and the purity of a woman at her wedding.
Sometimes small spoon-shaped bangles will dangle around the crown. When the bride moves or turns her head, the spoons will make music. There is a Norwegian tradition that says this music will ward off evil spirits. This is especially important during the wedding reception as the newlywed couple dances because the addition of music from the dangling spoons will ensure that nothing spoils the bride’s happiness.
Speeches and Toasts
When it comes to Norwegian weddings, a lot of the reception consists of wedding speeches and toasts. The family and guests of the newlyweds take this as a chance to focus on stories and good wishes about the new couple. A toastmaster will help introduce each person who wants to speak. Anyone who wants to offer a toast or speech can, but you can always expect a speech from the father of the bride, the bride, the groom, the main bridesmaid, the best man, and the father of the groom.
In addition, all of these speeches are spread out over the course of the meal instead of saving them for after everyone has eaten. These speeches tend to be emotional and heartfelt and add a personal touch to the bride and groom’s special day.
Music in general is an important aspect of any Norwegian wedding. “Come to the Wedding” is a song that is played on an accordion and is used to escort the couple out of the church after the ceremony. Then, at the conclusion of the dinner, toasts, and speeches, the music and dancing will start!
Rye and Barley Grains
A lot of wedding traditions involve throwing rice, grains, or other things in the air to celebrate the couple. At Norwegian weddings, rye and barley grains are thrown at the newlyweds. The bride then tries to catch as many grains as she can. The more grains that are collected, the brighter future the bride and her new husband will have!
This is a fun tradition that happens after the wedding. If the groom gets up to go to the bathroom, all of the male guests will take this as an opportunity to kiss the bride. Then, if the bride goes to the bathroom, all of the female guests will kiss the groom.
If the wedding guests want the bride and groom to kiss, they can clink a fork or knife on a wine glass. Then, the bride and groom will stand on their chairs and kiss. If the guests stomp their feet, the bride and groom need to kiss each other under the table.
The Wedding Cake
What is a wedding without a cake? There are a few traditional Norwegian wedding cakes you can expect to see. One is a Bløtkake, or soft cake. This is a sponge cake filled with cream and topped with icing and fruit. Another popular wedding cake is a Kransekake, or a tower cake. This is an almond-based ring cake that is stacked in layers to form a pyramid. It’s then held together with icing and you can top it with fruit or decorations. In fact, a Kransekake is more cookie than cake.
Beyond that, the newlyweds could choose a cheesecake or chocolate cake for their wedding.
Get Scandinavian Products the Norwegian in Your Life
Norway has a lot of beautiful traditions to make any wedding day special.
If you’re planning a Norwegian wedding of your own, try incorporating these cute Norway table flags into your centerpieces. Or, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a Norwegian friend or wedding you’re attending, grab them a Norwegian magnetic poetry kit or a Norway & USA flag heart ornament to help celebrate their different cultures.