Thursday, April 30, 2009

Norwegian Weddings

Here we are at the end of April, about to enter what has traditionally been the prime season for weddings in America. I was reminded of this fact when I received an e-mail this morning from a couple of members in California who are renewing their vows this coming weekend. Normally this isn't something I'd blog about, but the fact that they are doing it at this year's Norway Day, a huge event in San Francisco, makes it newsworthy. Well, that and the fact that the doting couple in question are Carl and Mary Beth Ingvoldstad!

If anyone is interested in attending the info I have says the renewal will be at 11 AM on Sunday, May 3rd on the main stage of Norway Day. Appropriate dress will be Bunads and there will be a kransekake tasting afterward. If you go, please send them a hearty congratulations from Sons of Norway!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with a traditional Norwegian wedding, here's some interesting factoids:
  • The couple normally wear Bunads that represent the regions they are from.
  • The bride often wears a bridal crown that is decorated with small metal bangles that make a somewhat metallic musical sound as the bride moves.
  • This sound is supposed to ward off evil spirits who might do harm to the bride.
  • Historically the invitation was something done in person by a an individual designated the bedamann ("bidding man").
  • At the end of the ceremony the couple will exchange wedding bands and then kiss. The circular wedding bands are symbolic of endless love and the kiss represents the couple exchanging their souls.
  • After the ceremony there is a reception, but unlike modern receptions the celebration of old would last as much as a week!
  • Finally, at the couples new home, two small fir trees are planted on either side of the couples door as a symbol of the children to come.
If you are considering a Norwegian wedding for yourself, check out Viking magazine for retailers with all the traditional items you need. Also, check out the June 2001 issue of Viking, which was a wedding issue. Also, you can check out this website with a step-by-step guide to planning a wonderful, traditional Norwegian wedding.


Anonymous said...

I remember once I passed by one. The celebration was totally traditional, except it was hosted on a huge barge on the fjord, complete with folk dancers and live music. With the mountains as a backdrop, it was unforgettable. Traditional Norwegian weddings are really quite special.

Sons of Norway said...

I've never seen a full-on traditional wedding (other than in photos) but I'm sure it's quite a striking thing to see. For my own part, my wife and I had traditional Norwegian music played at our wedding. We thought it was a nice touch.