Viking Weddings and Handfasting Ceremonies

Viking themed weddings and handfasting ceremonies have risen in popularity recently. Perhaps this is due to influence from the television programme ‘Vikings’, or it could be a result of a couple’s interest in Viking or Norse beliefs. Whatever the reason, Viking weddings and handfasting ceremonies all differ, and are unique to each couple.

Viking Weddings and Handfasting
The wedding of Floki and Helga from the History Channel’s Vikings

Internet searches vary on what was historically accurate information on Viking weddings and handfasting ceremonies. Vikings were Scandinavian raiders, seafarers and warriors from Denmark, Norway and Sweden; collectively known as Norsemen. The word Viking derives from old Norse meaning ‘pirate raid’. Wedding customs may have slightly varied for each country, and each family. Couples choosing to have a Viking themed wedding today, can add elements to their ceremonies of documented customs.

Modern Viking brides usually opt for traditional white or ivory dresses with floral crowns rather than wedding veils. Grooms tend to favour dark, plain kilts or traditional replica Viking costumes. Most couples have outdoor ceremonies in woodlands, or in the grounds of historical buildings, especially if a handfasting is to be included.

Viking wedding candles
Unity candle, runes certificate, handfasting cords and drinking horn for a Viking themed wedding and handfasting ceremony

Decorations of animal skins and furs, natural wood, evergreen foliage and wooden or pewter plates and tankards all add to the Viking theme. Online companies who hire and supply these items can be found by internet searches, as can the ideal venue. Choosing to have a Celebrant ceremony means you can hold your wedding anywhere, at anytime regardless if it is a registered wedding venue or not.

Viking weddings in Viking times were usually held on Friday’s to honour the Goddess Frigga whom Friday is supposedly named after. The wife of Odin, one of the main Norse Gods, Frigga is the Goddess of love, marriage, childbirth and motherhood, and associated with the colours blue, ivory and gold. These colours are favoured colours in the Viking weddings I have been involved with, and couples use these colours for handfasting cords. Mjolnir, the hammer of Thor the God of thunder is also a significant part of Viking themed weddings and handfastings. Some couples include a charm on their handfasting cords, some have it as a decoration on candles, and some have it as jewellery.

Viking unity candle and rings
Viking rune wedding rings found on Pinterest and unity candle with Mjolnir made by Alternative Ceremonies Uk

Wedding rings for Viking themed ceremonies can be decorated with runes, and like the oath rings exchanged during weddings in Viking times, they are symbols of commitment. Ring exchanges usually take place after a mead ceremony, and mead is drunk from a traditional Viking drinking horn.

Traditional Norse poems and vows can be used during Viking themed ceremonies, and blessings and offerings to Viking Gods and Goddesses. As an alternative wedding officiant and Celebrant, I have included various suitable poems and vows into Viking themed ceremonies, and the last clients I performed a ceremony for chose to have their wedding parchment in runes and on handmade paper.

Viking wedding parchment
Viking themed wedding parchment

After the ceremony, Viking themed foods can be served to guests; with hog roasts currently being a popular option. Mead is served, and the all important wedding cake can also fit in with the theme. Animal skulls, shields and longboats make ideal cakes for Viking themed weddings and handfasting ceremonies, and as for music, there are Viking metal bands such as Amon Amarth, Sabaton and numerous other bands to provide your music via DJ or playlist.

Cake with antlers and edible animal skulls
Animal skull wedding cake from Conjurers Kitchen

If a Viking wedding or handfasting ceremony appeals to you, but you lead a vegan lifestyle, I can help with fake fur decorations, glass drinking horns and mead style beverages. There are also numerous vegan/vegetarian catering companies to provide burgers and hot dogs for your reception, and a vegan wedding cake.

For more information on Viking, themed or alternative wedding or handfasting ceremonies, please contact me.