Gothenburg Stories and Tips

A Swedish Wedding

Stephen and Lena, Cutting the Cake Photo, Gothenburg, Sweden

The wedding itself seemed to be pretty much like a wedding in Australia. The limo didn't turn up on time, thinking that the wedding was an hour later, so the bride's family had to go get the bridal party and bring them in their cars. (The limo company said that the limo (a Volvo!) would be free to take them away from the wedding, due to the mix up!)

When everyone finally got to the church, the wedding went as you'd normally expect. There was the bridal march, the minister marrying Stephen and Lena, some singing of hymns (some in Swedish, some in English and some a mix of both!), and some singing by the soloist. It was a beautiful wedding, with the bride looking wonderful, and my brother scrubbing up well for the event. After saying the vows and exchanging the rings, they kissed and were married without another hitch.

Moving on to the reception was where the culture shock really happened. It was a Christian wedding and apparently in Sweden, the Christians don't drink and they don't dance -- it's more liberal for Christian weddings here in Australia. So there was a whole reception without dancing, which was very odd. There was no bridal waltz, no space for dancing, no nothing. They did, though, have a few light (low alcohol) beers and some pear cider. I discovered that I love pear cider, the decent stuff they have in Sweden anyway.

What do the Swedish do at a wedding reception (from lunch time and continuing on into the evening) when they don't dance and there isn't much in the way of alcohol? Well, they have speeches, songs, skits, and games!! There was even a booklet about the couple, filled with photos, song lyrics, and an interview with the couple!

It was pretty much like going to a games night at your local church rather than a reception! There were the normal wedding speeches -- some in Swedish and some in English -- talking about the bride and the groom from friends and family.

As for the rest of the reception? There was the food, stopping to get everyone singing from the booklet (I can't even begin to pronounce Swedish!), and playing a strange game where you put a plastic bag on your head, plastic cups for glasses over your eyes, two sugar cubes for teeth, and paper plates over your ears!! There were people going up on stage to do various skits and sketches about the couple to playing a game where my brother and two other guys went behind a curtain, and Lena had to be blindfolded and guess who was Stephen by feeling hands and the like! And there was even a magic show by two people all dressed up as clowns!

Culture shock. I've never ever seen a wedding reception like it, but apparently all the games and skits are quite normal in Sweden. It is meant to be a celebration of the couple, a fun party for the wedding couple. It was a fun afternoon and it was an interesting insight into the Swedish culture.

Celebration of the Wedding Couple

Hylla Lena och Stephen, fyll med glädje vart bröst.
Sång till dagens brudpar tolkas nu av var röst.
Mäktigt vi saluterar, med allsång och bröllopsdagslåt,
Brudpar ty ni skall firas här med pompa och ståt!
Brudpar ty ni skall firas här med pompa och ståt!

Lena och Stephen nu firas, se er omkring nu och le.
Se hur ni fått oss att trivas, känn hur hjärtat är me.
Jubelsången nu klingar från oss alla idag.
Vi vår hyllning er bringar på er brö-ö-llopsdag!
Vi vår hyllning er bringar på er brö-ö-llopsdag!

(stand up and blow up your balloon)

Glada vänner omkring er nya, gamla är här.
Sådan vänskap förgår ej genom livet den bär.
Bröllopssången skall ljuda, sång och salut i vårt lag.
Vi vår hyllning vill bjuda på er brö-ö-llopsdag!
Vi vår hyllning vill bjuda på eeeeeeeeeeeeer. . . brö-ö-llopsdag!

(pop the balloon!)

Hipp hipp. . . Yeää!

Been to this destination?

Share Your Story or Tip