Norse and Viking themed handfasting and wedding ceremonies are the favoured kind of ceremony for many couples. Requests for these themes for ceremonies have increased, and this maybe for a number of reasons. Many people want to pay homage to their Norse/Scandinavian heritage, some have an interest due to the television programme ‘Vikings’. Whatever the reason for choosing to have a Norse/Viking themed ceremony, there are so many things which can be included.
As an alternative wedding Celebrant, time is spent researching many different wedding customs. Most of the customs we know and use in wedding ceremonies are of Pagan origin, including the handfasting ceremony. Handfasting ceremonies are usually part of a Pagan wedding ceremony, and as Pagans, Norseman may have included handfasting during a wedding.
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Weddings were colourful occasions, and brides wore bright dresses, with red being a common colour. Red, blue, yellow and green were popular colours used in Viking times. Silver and gold were of great importance to Vikings as were coins. Something we can all relate to in our era now too.
Norse Gods and Goddesses played a huge part in all aspects of Viking life, and weddings included trinkets, charms and representations of important things. A depiction of Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer was placed in the lap of Viking brides as it was thought to aid fertility. Sword ceremonies were part of Viking marriage rituals, as was bathing for the bride to be.
Couples who have Viking themed handfasting and wedding ceremonies today usually request to take part in a mead ceremony with traditionally made mead being drank from drinking horns. The giving and receiving of replica coins, Odin’s compass Vegvisir, sword charms, symbols of Yggdrasil, the Norse Tree of Life and home to the Gods, and Odin’s ravens Huginn and Muninn are included. The ravens names mean ‘thought’ and ‘memory’ and these, as well as the meaning and symbolism behind the other included aspects are essential for a successful Norse/Viking marriage to succeed.
There are so many things to include with Norse/Viking ceremonies, and no ceremony would be complete without a reading from the Edda. Some couples want to include prose from the sagas, some want to include poetry of Gods and Goddesses. Acknowledgement to the Goddess Frigga who is the Goddess of marriage, love, childbirth and motherhood is given. Friday was believed to be named after her, and because of this it is the chosen day of the week for a lot of couples to hold their ceremonies.
There are many different aspects of Norse/Viking beliefs and traditions, and all are unique to each couple. Some traditions used are taken from nature with couples choosing to hold their ceremony on a beach, in woodlands or on a boat. Choosing a Celebrant led ceremony enables the freedom to hold a ceremony anywhere not just in a licensed wedding venue.
For more information on Norse/Viking themed wedding and handfasting ceremonies, or any alternative ceremonies, please contact me.