Whether you’re trying to get in touch with your roots, honoring your or your fiancé’s family expectations, or even attending a Swedish wedding, there are a few very special traditions that you should know about. Despite the fact that Sweden has very much kept up with modern times (meaning that many weddings today are not much different from Western weddings), there are quite a handful of traditions that still stick.
It might surprise you, but despite being “traditional,” these traditions are not out of place when it comes to 21st-century standards. In fact, they might seem normal for the trends today. So, if you’re looking to do some research or are simply curious, here are a few very common Swedish wedding customs you’re likely to see on someone’s big day.
We Walk Together
In most Western cultures, it’s typical for the father of the bride to walk his daughter down the aisle. In Sweden, this has always been uncommon. Instead, the bride and the groom are expected to walk down the aisle together. The reason for this (and some other wedding traditions) is that Sweden has long been an egalitarian society that believes in equality on all terms.
I Call Dibs!
Speaking of equality, the “head of household” doesn’t always mean the man in the relationship. Instead, the person who first walks to the door of the marital home receives said title. It might surprise you, but quite often the husband purposefully lets his wife cross the threshold first as a sign of respect.
Talk It Out
Speeches at a Swedish wedding reception are not reserved only for the VIPs. Instead, any guest (in theory) has the right to own the microphone for at least a few minutes. (Having said that, most modern Swedish couples have some form of crowd control to prevent embarrassing moments.) But this means that wedding speeches are almost essentially a free-for-all and they can last for hours—so be prepared!
Something Stuck in the Shoe
To ensure continued prosperity as well as a lasting bond with her family, the bride will have a coin in each of her shoes during the ceremony. According to tradition, the bride’s left shoe has a silver coin given by her father, while the right shoe has a gold coin given by her mother.
Own the Crown
In lieu of a veil or tiara, most Swedish brides opt for a flower crown, or at least one made from myrtle leaves. This is a long-standing tradition that can be found among other Nordic cultures and is meant to symbolize innocence. Brides who are keen on sticking to tradition may accompany the myrtle leaf or flower crown with a traditional folk costume, or opt for a multi-colored wedding dress as a sign of respect for their heritage.
Kisses for All!
If you’re the jealous type and having a Swedish wedding, you might not want to leave your new spouse alone! According to Swedish tradition, if either the bride or groom leaves the reception for any reason, any guest can request a kiss from the newlywed left behind. But since most couples now see this as a humorous tradition, it’s common for the couple to quite literally ring a bell to signify that they are (at least for the moment) a human kissing booth.
Leave on a Cliffhanger
One of the signature events of a traditional western wedding—the bride’s bouquet toss—may not be a major event at a Swedish wedding at all. Instead, Swedish brides get to keep their flowers! Considering the average cost of a bridal bouquet, this doesn’t seem like the worst idea ever.
Cut the Crowd
Moist Swedish weddings do not have a group of bridesmaids or groomsmen. In fact, many even skip on the maid of honor and the best man, too. So, if you’re on a budget, this will work as a great excuse to avoid dealing with a wedding party.