We’ve just arrived back in the UK after several days on the Castello Del Trebbio vineyard estate in Tuscany where two of our closest Norwegian friends got married. This was our first Norwegian wedding and despite it not actually being hosted in Norway, I was told that the traditions were quite the same and I noticed some significant differences to a British wedding – mostly around the speeches. Here are my observations:
- The Traditions: Some are the same including the first dance, the guest book, the photo opportunities but I noticed a couple of new ones. When the guests start clinking cutlery against their glass, the Bride and Groom have to stand on their chairs and kiss. When the guests start to stamp their feet on the ground, the Bride and Groom must get under the table and kiss. If the Bride leaves the table to visit the bathroom, all the ladies in the room must quickly pass the Groom and kiss him on the cheek and again, if the Groom leaves the room for a few minutes, the gentlemen in the room get up and kiss the Bride. There seems to be a lot of kissing involved!
- The Number Of Speeches: In the UK there are usually 3 speeches – The Father of the Bride, The Groom and The Best Man. In Norway there are many more and the order normally goes something like this.
- The Father Of The Bride (Far til Brud)
- The Groom (Brudgommen)
- The Bride (optional) (Brud)
- The Chief Bridesmaid (Forlover)
- The Best Man (Forlover)
- The Father Of The Groom (Far til Brudgommen)
- Anyone else who would like to say something
- Thanks for the food speech (Takk for maten talen)
- The Timing Of The Speeches: In the UK the speeches are normally delivered after dinner and can take a while. In Norway, the speeches are delivered throughout the meal. The toastmaster introduces each of them throughout the evening after each meal course and each take about 5-10 minutes long. It makes for a long dinner but a great break in between meals.
- The Content Of The Speeches: In the UK the speeches will tend to have much humour (especially the Best Man speech) and whilst the Groom mainly delivers that “Thank You” speech on behalf of him and his wife, the Best Man will tend to dig up the embarrassing situations the Groom found himself in during his life. In Norway, the speeches tend to be extremely emotional. The Groom directs his speech to his wife and vice versa. They tend to be full of emotion from start to finish (many tears were shed) and extremely moving. Even the Best Man speech.
- Raising A Glass: In the UK the toasting is done after dinner at the end of each speech. A glass of champagne is served and the toasts are normally set e.g. the father of the bride toasts ‘the bride and groom’, the groom toasts ‘the bridesmaids’ and the best man toasts ‘Mr and Mrs [newly-weds’ surname]’. In Norway, you raise a glass when you want to and shout “skål” and everyone else joins in. There doesn’t have to be a reason. You just need to make sure your glass is full so you’re not caught out!
- The Party: From experience, I know that Norwegians can party hard so when joining them for a wedding at a location set in a Tuscan vineyard, all I can say is that they’re difficult to keep up with. Despite us being a relatively small party of 20, we danced until 3am to a custom-built playlist on an iPhone. No band. No DJ. Just a fantastic mix of personal songs that meant something to either the Bride, Groom or the guests. Everyone contributed before the wedding.
- The Rings: The Norwegians wear their wedding ring on their right hand and not on the left. It’s the other way around in the UK!
Has anyone noticed any other differences? Perhaps Norwegians who have attended a British wedding?