Wedding Traditions – Denmark

Back in January I wrote a post about Ghanaian/Ashanti wedding traditions. I talked about how Jeffrey’s family are Ghanaian and how this element must in some way play a part in our (/the dreaded) ‘theme’. Now we’ve only really managed to get a couple of Ghanaian aspects planned because, as I mentioned before, much of the Ghanaian traditions centre around the bride’s family and we can’t really see how we’d tie it in.

But not only are we thinking about Ghanaian elements, but also aspects of Danish wedding traditions due to my Mother being Danish.

So here I give a run down of some of the Danish wedding traditions I know of, and which we may well try and tie some of in to the wedding in some way.

The typical Danish wedding is very similar to the English in that it starts with the bride and groom sleeping separate the night before the wedding (to make a distinction between the wedding day and every other day), a trip to the church or town hall for the ceremony, followed by the wedding reception.

But the Danish wedding reception feels quite different to the English. There are a few customs that tend to take place at Danish wedding receptions that don’t feature in the typical English reception:

  1. Before the wedding, an arch of pine branches is built around the doorway of the bride’s family home. This is called the Gate of Honor. Another is built when the couple celebrates their silver anniversary.
  2. At some point during the ceremony, if the bride leaves the room all the female guests have to run over to kiss the groom, and if the groom leaves the room all the male guests kiss the bride.
  3. When guests bang their cutlery on their plates or glasses the bride and groom have to climb onto their chairs and kiss. When guests stamp their feet the pair have to kiss under the table.
  4. The bride and groom dance the wedding waltz before midnight. Guests stand in a big circle, clap and slowly move closer so that the circle gets smaller until the couple are surrounded by their loved ones.
  5. The male guests pick up the groom to remove his shoes and cut the toes of his socks off. There are a couple of suggested reasons for this: 1) to allow the bride to prove she can sew, and 2) to symbolise that the groom should no longer walk in the footsteps of other women.
  6. Family members often write songs instead of giving speeches. The song lyrics are written to popular melodies and the words are passed around so that everyone can join in.
  7. The traditional Danish wedding cake is made of marzipan rings stacked on top of each other. This cake (Kransekage – below) is decorated with icing and flags and is cut by the bride and groom together to avoid bad luck.
And that’s all the traditions I can think of. A fair few to choose from! So now we just need to work out which we take part in. But we know for definite that we are having the Danish wedding cake. It’s far nicer than fruit cake.

And here’s the Danish Crown Prince Frederik’s Wedding Waltz with his new wife, Mary, for you to pore over:

 

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Wedding Traditions – Denmark

  1. Pingback: Goodbye… | Sophie Kingo is Married

  2. Nini

    Nice ! I am French *mixed from Cameroon* but live in Denmark and will marry an Italian ! I know what you mean with including the traditions from different culture ! I love the ones from Denmark anyway! HOpe your wedding went well

    • Thanks. It was lovely. I think adding traditional elements from each culture makes the wedding extra special. I hope your French/Cameroonian/Italian/Danish wedding goes well.

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