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Traditional Danish wedding with all the customs, beauty and fun

May 25th, 2008 | Tina | Denmark, Events and Activities, General | 11 Comments »

Far og Sanne

May 31st 2008 was a big day in my family. It was the wedding day of my wonderful father to his girlfriend Sanne. In the article below you get an idea about what a traditional Danish wedding entails in terms of customs and traditions.

Traditionally the man proposes to his girlfriend, but they buy the wedding rings together (and usually share the cost). The preparation and cost of the wedding is also shared between the bride and groom.

As for the wedding dress, it is bought by the bride and is not to be seen by the man before the wedding. The bride needs to wear four things: something new, old, borrowed and blue. And if the bride is young the guests of the wedding may insist on seeing that she is wearing all four things (typical pervert Danish humour :-)).

It is the job of the groom to purchase the bridal bouquet.

The night before the wedding the bride and groom are supposed to sleep separately. In Denmark most couples live together for several years before they get married and therefore the separation for one night is to make a distinction between the wedding day and other days.

On the day of the wedding itself the groom arrives at the church 30 min before the wedding and the bride arrives 5 min before and is led by her father. However, many couples in Denmark prefer a secular wedding at the city hall with a party afterwards.

Once the church wedding ceremony (or city hall) is finished the couple leaves the church together and is greeted outside by friends throwing rice (not cooked) at them. It is a way of symbolically wishing the new couple fertility.

Danish weddings are typically kept quite small in terms of the number of guests. We usually only invite close family and friends so on average we may invite somewhere from 25 – 80 guests (usually not more).

After the church the couple often has their pictures taken, or some kind of reception, or something like at my father’s wedding where we went on a boat trip on Silkeborg lake. After this event there is a beautiful dinner with lots of speeches, songs, fun games, and dancing. There is a special order in which to conduct the speeches: 1. Bride’s father, 2. Groom, 3. Bride, 4. Family (hereunder the groom’s parents), 5. Friends.

Wedding picture

The following two customs are always played out during the wedding: 1. while the bride is absent (e.g. using the ladies room during dinner) all the ladies (guests) run over to kiss the groom and vice versa – while the groom is absent all the men run to kiss the bride. 2. All the guests knock on the plates or glasses (many times during the wedding) until the bride and groom climb onto their chairs and kiss each other in front of everyone.

Last but not least, the wedding waltz is to be danced before twelve a clock midnight and after that the male guests lifts up the groom and cuts the tip of his socks on both feet. It apparently symbolises that now he should no longer walk in the footsteps of other women (not that we would ever tolerate that he did :-)).

The night ends with lots of dancing, drinking and Danish hygge.


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11 Responses to “Traditional Danish wedding with all the customs, beauty and fun”

  1. Leon
    June 17th, 2008 @ 1:12 am

    Congratulations !!!

  2. Dark Angel
    August 15th, 2008 @ 8:45 pm

    I have a Danish boyfriend…. I’m learning.. nad getting ready!!

  3. Pernikahan tradisionil Denmark « taradigading
    November 16th, 2008 @ 1:02 am

    […] maya. Sungguh beruntung sekali dapat menemukan website Tina dalam artikelnya dan video, Traditional Danish wedding with all the customs, beauty and fun, yang memberikan gambaran pernikahan tradisionil di Denmark. Dia menceritakan prosesi upacara, […]

  4. Video: Traditional Danish wedding | Earthoria
    July 29th, 2009 @ 8:06 am

    […] NB. To read more about Danish wedding traditions, please read here […]

  5. sillina
    April 19th, 2010 @ 11:36 pm

    thats on my birth day when they got married

  6. Rebecca
    November 9th, 2010 @ 10:32 am

    My Dane of over 7 years has finally proposed, but we are having our wedding on the beach in California where we live. How can I incorporate the Danish culture? Thus will be the first time our families meet as well.

  7. Nina
    March 9th, 2011 @ 2:41 am

    Rebecca: I would make sure your friends (and his American groomsmen) know about the sock clipping . . . order a kransekage cake . . . and write a song in honor of your groom to something like Oh Susanna or a song known in both cultures. He will appreciate these tokens. Skoal!

  8. nicki
    May 12th, 2011 @ 7:24 pm

    hi cool page who ever made this website its full of imformacion i needed

  9. Vivek
    June 25th, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    Hey Tina, I am organizing a Danish wedding in India for a client and wanted to bring a close danish experience to their special event… have been wondering on what all I can, and your post really helped… Thanks a ton… all the best and Congratulations…:) Have a wonderful life. Cheers Vivek

  10. Tina
    August 20th, 2012 @ 4:08 am

    Thank you Vivek. I am happy you enjoyed it.

  11. soufian
    August 30th, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

    this is great , really ,congratulations ,a very beautiful traditional wedding that must be explored by others ,i invite you too to explore the berber wedding , a traditional wedding of the native inhabitants of North Africa , Morocco as example, i have posted an article in my page of face book , good enjoyment , and thx

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