Last Saturday I had the awesome chance to attend a Swedish wedding of my amazing friends Anna and Jörgen in Västerbotten. And all in all it was an amazing experience!
As most weddings go, they were running around getting things ready a few days before and ended up taking off work to get everything done.
The night before the wedding, we went to pick up the cake which was made by a local in Skellefteå. Yes, they were pleased!
Every part of the cake was edible except for the black bands on the bottoms of each stack. And the cardboard holding below it. Besides that, all the leaves, etc could be eaten. Pure sugar, but delicious!
Next we had to take the cake to Innansjön, a small village about 5 Swedish miles (50 km) from Skellefteå where the wedding was going to be held.
The wedding itself was at a church, but the reception was being held at the skolan (school). The bride and groom’s family was already there prepping, and the place looked amazing!
Place cards were set and alcohol had filled the fridge.
Alcohol included a selection of wines (both red and white), Norrland Guld beer, some Irish beer, New Castle beer, two different kinds of cider and of course some water and cola for those who didn’t want to get Swedish drunk.
My friends decided to offer an open bar at their wedding. Their Swedish wedding… You know what that means! Lots of Swedes getting Swedish drunk!
The bride’s brother also brought some whiskey glasses and I noticed at the reception different types of whiskey started to show up at the bar. It surprises me, since I don’t consider whiskey a very Swedish drink. But Swedes drink enough of it to make it a Swedish tradition!
This evening I also got to meet Anna’s very cool far och mor (father and mother). And surprisingly, while I haven’t used Swedish in 9 months, I was still able to hold full conversations in it! Sweet 🙂
Before leaving, the bride and groom wanted to do some practice waltzing for the first dance. And I learned a bit of the dance myself, having no idea how to waltz before. Didn’t seem that difficult 🙂
We didn’t stay long. Most things were prepped, and tomorrow was the big day! So we headed back to Skellefteå for a good nights sleep.
I asked Anna if she wanted any help getting ready on the wedding day. Her and the groom decided not to have a wedding party. However, they were taking pictures in the morning with the photographer at the church in Skellefteå before getting married and didn’t want me waiting in the car for 2 hours. So, I’d be doing as the locals do. Anna and Jörgen hired a bus to take their friends from Skellefteå to get to Innansjön. It was a great ride and fun to see my friends from Skellefteå!
At the church, we gathered inside to enjoy the wedding. I heard that it was tradition for the couple to walk together down the aisle (because Swedish women are independent and don’t need their fathers to give them away to anybody!). There was a bit of an uproar when the Swedish crown princess Victoria had her father walk her down the aisle!
Anna and Jörgen walked themselves down the aisle behind the priest. It was all so beautiful!
The ceremony itself only took about 30 minutes. We sang some Swedish hymns celebrating their love.
And whoever says that Swedes aren’t emotional, obviously hasn’t met Anna! She cried the entire time during the ceremony, causing a wave of tears in others as well. Though we ended up hiding it better as we weren’t in the spotlight.
At the end of the ceremony, the couple walked out and we followed. They then stood by the church door and we waited in line to congratulate them on their happy marriage!
We also received bags of rice, which many of us didn’t know when to throw at them. So we just started throwing it at them randomly! Poor Anna, I think she was pulling rice out of her hair all night long!
Now that the beautiful ceremony was over, everyone was getting hungry and ready to have a party! Anna and Jörgen took off in a hot car, and we boarded the bus again to get to the school in Innansjön.
The school house itself had even more decorations once we got there. We had to wait outside a bit while… something happened inside. Not sure what.
But once we were inside, everyone sat down, had some drinks, and waiting for the food to be served!
We were treated with renkött (reindeer meat) appetizer, which was delicious but left one wanting more. I probably could have eaten half a ren at that point 🙂
The main corse was an oxfile with chanterelle sauce and gratin potatoes. O.M.G. Freaking yummy!
And while we were eating and waiting for the food, we got to hear the traditional speeches friends and family members make at weddings. Many stood up to give Anna and Jörgen advice in life and love, and wishing them all the best. It was great to hear all these people being so happy and loving them so much! The room was just filled with love!
Next up was the traditional first dance. We all went inside the dancing room and watch Anna and Jörgen take their first waltz as a married couple!
Soon many others started to join in. The next song was reserved for the groom and his mother, and the bride and her father. All of it being the traditional waltz.
After the dancing, it was time for the party to start. Open bar meant just that. Or “get drunk!”. Which many did 🙂
Before people became too happy, it was time to cut the cake. Which also wasn’t the traditional “Bride feeds the groom, groom feeds the bride” cake-cutting. They just cut it, grabbed their pieces, and ran to sit down. It was perfect!
The cake was good, and I thought it was interesting that we all served ourselves. It reminded me of the term “lagom“. Leave it to the Swedes to not take too much nor too little, but just enough so that there was only one slice of cake left over! For some reason, I don’t think that would have ended well in America, letting the guests serve themselves. Surely they would have ran out of cake!
As the night went on, there was a lot of dancing and talking. I was reminded again about how amazingly super nice and loving Swedes are! Had great conversations about hunting in Sweden, learned more about Anna’s family from her father, and got to dance the waltz as well (though I did step on some toes!).
Later in the evening, I started to notice the whiskey was out and about. Oh dear. Swedish drunk, here we go.
As I started to get a tad annoyed by the “ful” people, I thought to myself, well, might as well join them! And quickly caught up in the Swedish drunkness. I have to say, I did regret it the next day.
Right, Swedish drunkness also means Swedish hangover in the morning. Doh!
All in all it was an amazing trip and made me miss Norrland even more than before. And it was good to know that I was somewhat missed and how cool everyone thought it was that I made it up there for the wedding.
The best part of it all? Staying with Anna and Jörgen! What cool people who open their home to me and let me crash the week of their wedding!
Not only that, they took me to my first hockey game (which is another blog post coming soon).
Tack så mycket Anna och Jörgen!