Here are the top 10 Swedish wedding traditions!
If you’re planning a “Bröllop” in Sweden, you might want these traditions on your big day! Integrating some wedding customs into your big day is a brilliant way to personalize your celebration. Present around the world, these nuptial traditions signify various things such as shared beliefs and unusual practices of a certain nation. Sweden, just like any other country, also offers a set of both entertaining and interesting wedding customs that you should know about!
Mostly rooted in the nation’s ancient view of marriage, the Swedish wedding traditions have been passed down through the generations. Though historical in nature, these wedding customs are known for their unique and charming characters!
Here are the Top Swedish Wedding Customs
If you’re planning your wedding in the Kingdom of Sweden, you might have come across the idea of incorporating the country’s traditions on your big day. After all, applying these customs in your celebration is a wonderful opportunity to develop a deeper appreciation of the Swedish culture! Without further ado, let’s dive into the list of Sweden’s most precious wedding traditions.
1. The Bride’s toast
Now, this is a Swedish wedding tradition I can get on board with! Proposing a toast to the newlyweds is the first thing that happens when the bridal couple arrives for the cocktail hour, and all the guests are gathered. Everyone joins in (or shouts) “cheers to the bride and groom” and raise their glasses. The toast can also be made at dinner or after the welcome speech. Traditionally, champagne or sparkling wine is served, but sometimes the Swedes choose snaps! Although it is called The Bride’s Toast, the toast is really for both the bride and the groom and an excellent opportunity to get tipsy!
2. ‘A Walk to Remember’
Instead of the usual father-daughter moment, the bride and groom often walk the aisle together in the Swedish context. Due to the egalitarian nature of the Sweden society, the church discourages the patriarchal gesture of a father giving his daughter away. Besides, the couple’s walk in the aisle highlights the equality of a man and a woman who marry out of their own choice, and that is perhaps not only a Swedish wedding tradition but also says a lot about Sweden as a whole!
3. Photoshoot Before The I Do’s
In many cultures, the groom is not allowed to see her bride before the wedding ceremony. However, for weddings in Sweden most couples walk down the aisle together, so it’s no big deal to meet before their I Do’s. A ‘first look’ is a great way to calm the looming nerves that the bride and groom usually feel before their wedding. In addition to this, a first look is also an excellent opportunity to take your first snaps. It’s common for Swedes to do their portrait shoot before the wedding ceremony. Besides, doing a photoshoot before walking down the aisle is an excellent way to get ahead of your schedule!
4. Minimalist Bridal Party
For a traditional Swedish couple, an elaborate wedding entourage isn’t a necessity. Most of the time, the bride and groom will choose one bridesmaid and one best man to keep the entourage simple. Other times, some Swedish couples don’t have a bridal party at all!
If you’re a couple from a Western culture who wants to apply this entourage custom, this might sound unusual to you and your loved ones. To avoid hard feelings, explain to Olivia or to Emma that not including them in the entourage is simply in line with Swedish’s wedding traditions, not a personal attack.
5. The Bridal Crown
Nowadays, most brides opt for a modern headpiece alternative such as tiara or veil, but you might want to pull off a traditional Swedish hair accessory at your wedding. During the ancient period, it is customary for brides to wear a crown of myrtle leaves over her head. This garland of greenery is a symbol of innocence, and I believe that this is an ancient Swedish wedding tradition that bohemian brides will love!
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6. The Kissing Booth?
When a Swedish celebrant announces, ‘You may now kiss the bride,’ you might be surprised at what comes next. After the bride and groom share their first kiss as husband and wife, it is pretty acceptable for the couple to kiss other people during their big day. Once the bride makes an exit, all the women will get up to kiss the groom. When it’s the groom’s turn to leave the room, it is time for all the men to line up to kiss the bride! This Swedish wedding tradition is super fun to shoot as a wedding photographer and makes for some funny photos!
7. Wedding Rings
When getting engaged, according to tradition in Sweden, engagement rings are worn on the left-hand ring finger. In the past, these rings were smooth without any embellishments. In other countries, it is often the engagement ring that is the more elaborate ring. Still, with increased globalization, it has become more and more popular in Sweden with diamond engagement rings. If the guys think that this tradition is a bit unfair, don’t worry! Per Swedish wedding traditions, you will also get a gold engagement ring.
In Sweden, both the man and the woman wear the engagement ring from the engagement to the wedding. Before the wedding, the guy returns his ring, which he then gets back during the ceremony. The bride receives a wedding ring, often it is a more ornate ring and with a larger gemstone.
8. Dinner Seating
The Swedes encourage the excitement of meeting new people, and this applies to the wedding seating charts. According to Swedish culture, the couples in the guest list should be seated away from each other during the reception dinner. This Swedish wedding tradition can be challenging for some, but socializing with new people can be fun!
9. Bridal Bouquet Toss, Nope!
One of the most humorous parts of a wedding is when the single ladies become competitive during the bouquet toss. Who wants to be forever alone, anyway? Unfortunately, a Swedish wedding is not the perfect time for bachelorettes to try their luck in love. During a Swedish celebration, the bride gets to keep the bouquet to herself. Sorry ladies!
10. Wedding Speeches
Very Swedish wedding tradition, the many speeches! The Swedes are particularly expressive during weddings, and this shows up during the wedding speech traditions. Pretty much any guest who wants to share their word can express their well-wishes to the bride and groom. To make sure that the dinner reception is smooth-sailing and that everyone will acquire the time they need, the couple usually appoints a ‘toast-master’ or ‘toast-madam’ to coordinate these matters. Nonetheless, you can still expect that the speeches will drag on over the whole dinner!
Bonus tip! Red dress and stereotypes
This one isn’t a tradition I’d say but more of a silent rule. If you’ve always kept your favorite red outfit for special occasions, attending a Bröllop might not be the best time to show it off. Presumably, red has been historically connected with scandal, lust, and seduction. If you appear in a red outfit during a Swedish wedding, some guests will perhaps assume that you’ve been in a romantic affair with the bride or groom. Bye for now, little red dress!
Want to know what to wear for a wedding in Sweden? Check this out!
Let me know if you have ever attended a Swedish wedding and what traditions you enjoyed and what you didn’t enjoy!
Library of valuable wedding planning articles right here!
Dear Isabelle, thank you so much for this article. I am eager to know about that wedding theme or wedding color do swedish prefer? Thank you!
Thank you for your comment. I would say there are so many variations in themes and colors on a Swedish wedding much like at any wedding worldwide. I have photographed circus-themed weddings, rainbow-themed weddings, black-tie events as well as all-white events. For summer weddings I see a lot of pastels and for winter weddings I often see a bit of a darker color palette, all beautiful in their own way. I hope that helps! Big hugs, Isabelle
[…] Bridal Crown Traditionally, brides in Sweden didn’t wear veils or tiaras but rather a bridal crown made of myrtle leaves to symbolize innocence. This was usually paired with a traditional multi-colored wedding dress quite different from the […]
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