A Swedish Wedding

Yesterday my beautiful friend Bea got married in Stockholm and I got to experience a Swedish wedding. There were quite a few differences to an English one, the biggy being a huge amount speeches at the reception – around 15!

At this wedding, the bride walked up the aisle alone, followed by her two bridesmaids. The ceremony was simple and similar to an English one, although an amazing soul singer belted out a couple of songs including Come What May from Moulin Rouge.

Friends wish the bride well after the ceremony

Afterwards we grabbed fists of rose petals and waited for the newlyweds to emerge from the church doors so we could fill the air with flowers. Then everyone crowded around the bride and groom to say their congratulations – the arrangement was a lot less formal than the line at English weddings.

From Oscars Church in Östermalm – the smartest district in Stockholm and right in the centre, we walked over to Djurgården for the reception. Djurgården is a beautiful parkland island that holds many of the embassies, some museums and a few fantastic restaurants. One of the famous landmarks is Skånska Gruvan, which was built for the Stockholm Exhibition of 1897.

Skånska Gruvan - the reception venue

The funniest and best tradition involves lots of kissing! During the reception, whenever the bride leaves her groom at the table, everyone starts dinging their glasses and all the girls rush to kiss the new husband. It works the same way when the groom leaves the table, all the men process up. It does mean that the couple will often get up together to thank people and talk to their guests otherwise it could get a bit ridiculous!

So to the speeches. They are every five minutes and all the major people in the couple’s lives get to speak including all their best friends, family members etc. It’s quite excessive if you’re not used to the protocol, but it’s fun to hear the anecdotes.

The food was fantastic, made by a pair of sisters using local, seasonal ingredients. Skånska Gruvan is open as a cafe normally, so is definitely worth checking out during a Stockholm visit http://www.helinvoltaire.com

After the meal, the tables got pushed to one side, the dj came out and we danced to club anthems until 2am when the couple left and the party people went on to an infamous Stockholm after-club Hell’s Kitchen at Sturecompagniet http://www.sturecompagniet.se/hells-kitchen-3.aspx So much fun.

Take a look at these pics…

The couple are greeted and hosted by the best man after arriving at the reception by horse drawn carriage

Typically gorgeous Swedish bridesmaids

We started with champagne, then cider or beer, then wine, snaps and the milk with coffee even came in a beer bottle!

Floor dancing....

Chair dancing.... just before they undid their shirts!

My beautiful friends Ebba and Petra before attacking Hell's Kitchen