21 Best Viking Wedding Traditions (Common, Famous & Bizarre)

Would you like to know, what are the most famous or bizarre Viking wedding traditions? You have found the right place:

1) Exchanging swords

Apart from exchanging rings, the bride and groom must also exchange swords. To the Vikings, exchanging swords at weddings symbolized the transfer of protection between the groom’s and the bride’s family. Although not as important as the sword ceremony, exchanging the rings symbolized the union between the couple just like today.

2) Wedding hair 

Bridal wedding hair was crucial to the Vikings as it symbolized the bride’s sexuality. It was even more important than the wedding dress. As stated before, the bride wore a bridal crown which she inherited from her mother. They adorned the crown with many ornaments. They decorated the wedding bridal crown with flowers, straw, wood, crystals, or any other important materials that were available.

3) Wedding clothing 

The Vikings didn’t care about the wedding clothing as much as they cared for the hair. Brides probably wore bright, red dresses as it was a popular color during that time. Other colors that were popular during that time period included blue, green, and yellow. 

4) Drinking horns 

A Viking wedding would not be complete without a few drinking horns! In Norse culture, drinking horns were often used during ceremonies and celebrations. During a Viking wedding, guests would typically drink mead or ale from horns, and the bride and groom would often share a horn as part of the ceremony. Today, many couples choose to serve honey mead or ale in horns during their Viking-themed wedding.

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5) Traditional Viking wedding feast 

A Viking wedding feast was typically a grand affair, featuring a variety of meats, cheeses, breads, and other dishes. The bride and groom would often sit at the head of the table, and guests would help themselves to food and drink as they pleased. Alcoholic beverages such as mead, ale, and wine were typically served at Viking wedding feasts.

6) Honeymoon

After the wedding celebrations were over, six people would accompany the lovers to their bridal bed to let the couple consummate their marriage. The couple’s friends and family would give them enough honey mead that would last them a month (moon cycle). The first month of marriage was to increase the chance of conceiving a child.

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7) Animal sacrifice

Vikings made animal sacrifices to receive blessings for their gifts of fertility. After the end of the premarital rituals, it was time for the wedding ceremony to begin. For Thor, they slaughtered a goat. For Freyja, the goddess to love, fertility, battle, and death, they sacrificed a female adult pig. And for Freyr, the god associated with peace, fertility, rain, and sunshine, they offered a horse. The Gothi, the person responsible for the wedding, usually sacrificed the animal.

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8) Frigga’s day

Viking weddings always took place on a Friday also known as Frigga’s day, a day sacred to Frigg, the goddess of marriage, love, and fertility. She was also the wife of Odin, one of the principal Norse gods often associated with wisdom, healing, magic, war, death, poetry, etc.

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9) Soak, steam, and gossip

Long ago, young Viking couples took part in a deeply symbolic bathing ritual the day before the ceremony in order to wash away the innocence of youth and welcome adulthood. The pair was sent to separate rooms and immersed in warm soapy water by their married friends and relatives. Modern Pagans still follow these bathing rites, but today’s symbolic soaks are usually held at spas and natural springs, and are less gendered affairs than in centuries past.

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10) Magic in nature

Viking weddings are a natural fit for the magic and majesty of the outdoors. Be it forest or lake front, back yard, ocean shore, or field of wildflowers, an outdoor wedding ceremony invites spirits and gods and the blessings they bring. 

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11) The morning after

On the morning following the ceremony, the last part of the wedding took part the morning present. The newly married couple were once again parted on this first morning. The bride is dressed by her attendants, and her hair is braided or bound up in the fashion reserved for married women. 

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12) Bride running rituals 

Once the ceremony ended, the bride and groom’s families would race to the mead hall. The family that lost would have to serve drinks to the family who got there first for the rest of the wedding celebration.

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13) Payment was required from both sides 

As part of the wedding contract, both the groom and the bride’s parents had to contribute. Viking courtship and proposals could involve many gifts, but typically there were three specific types of offerings included in traditional weddings: the mundr, the morgengifu, and the heimanfylgia.

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14) The Mundr

The mundr was the “bride price.” This price is what the groom paid to the bride’s father. In Norway, the minimum mundr was twelve pieces of silver, while in Iceland, the minimum was eight.

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15) The Morgen Gifu 

The morgengifu was the “morning gift.” This is a gift that the groom would give his new bride the morning after the two had consummated their marriage. The morgengifu could be many things, but they were often expensive: jewelry made from precious stones and metals, land, or livestock. This gift was the bride’s to keep, even if the marriage were to end in divorce.

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16) The Haiman Fylgia 

The heiman fylgia was the dowry paid by the bride’s family. While the dowry was meant as a way for the bride’s family to participate in the establishment of the new household, the dowry remained the bride’s property in the case of divorce or death of the groom.

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17) Preparations for women 

Close married female family and friends supported the bride during her pre-wedding rituals. Two significant ceremonies included the removal of the kransen and a cleansing. The kransen was a circle that Scandinavian girls wore in their hair to symbolize their virginity. For the wedding, the kransen was replaced by a bridal crown, often a family heirloom. While the crowns were often elaborate, made of silver and crystals, the bride and her “maids” would adorn the crown with things like flowers. Before the wedding, the bride would also visit a bathhouse to cleanse herself of her maidenhood.

18) Preparations for men 

Throughout history, men have always been a little preoccupied with their swords, and Viking men are no exception as part of their pre-wedding festivities. The groom would break into an ancestor’s grave and steal his sword. This act represented the “death” of his boyhood and his emergence into the world as a man. How’s that for a bachelor party? Like the women, the men would also take part in cleansing to wash away their bachelorhood and purify themselves for the wedding.

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19) Bridal crown 

In Norse culture, bridal crowns were often worn by the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. These crowns were usually made of metal, and they were often adorned with symbols of fertility, such as animals or plants. Sometimes, the bride and groom would each wear a different crown during the ceremony. After the ceremony, the crowns would often be hung on the couple’s bedpost.

20) Viking wedding blessings 

After the wedding ceremony, the couple would often receive blessings from their families and friends. Many of these blessings were based on old Norse legends and myths. For example, one popular blessing was “may your love be as strong as Thor’s hammer.” Other blessings invoked the gods and goddesses of Norse mythology, such as Freyja, the goddess of love, and Freyr, the god of fertility.

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