9 Swedish Wedding Traditions and Rituals

Are you looking for unique and interesting wedding traditions to add a touch of Swedish culture to your special day?

From the engagement ceremony all the way through post-wedding celebrations, there are many Swedish wedding traditions that can be incorporated into any couple’s big day.

Whether it’s a traditional handfasting ritual or surprising guests with some good old-fashioned smorgasbord snacks at the reception – we have rounded up key Swedish wedding traditions that will give your nuptials an extra dose of Scandinavian flair.

Read on to learn more about engaging in these time-honored customs during one of life’s most memorable moments.

Swedish Wedding Traditions

Engagement Traditions

Engagement Traditions are an important part of the wedding process and can be a fun way to celebrate your upcoming nuptials.

Ring exchange is one of the most popular engagement traditions, symbolizing the couple’s commitment to each other.

When exchanging rings, couples often choose bands that represent their personalities or have special meaning for them.

Proposal customs vary from culture to culture but usually involve some kind of romantic gesture, such as writing a poem or singing a song.

Commonly, the Swedish proposal is made during a candlelight dinner or special outing, where the man presents an engagement ring to his partner.

Other romantic proposals include taking her out on a boat, decorating her home in flowers, or writing her a letter sharing his feelings and asking for her hand in marriage.

After she has accepted his offer, it is customary for both families to meet with each other to formalize the agreement.

1. Ring Exchange

Exchanging rings is one of the oldest engagement traditions in many cultures worldwide and has been practiced for centuries. The Swedish tradition is no exception. 

Rings are typically made out of precious metals like gold or silver and may feature gemstones such as diamonds or rubies.

Couples may also choose to engrave meaningful words on their rings as a reminder of their love for each other.

2. Pre-wedding celebrations

Pre-wedding celebrations are common in many cultures and involve gathering family members and friends together before the big day arrives.

These events usually include dinner parties where guests share stories about how they met each other, along with bridal showers where gifts are exchanged between the bride-to-be and her loved ones.

Other activities may include game nights, spa days, photo shoots, and cake tastings – all designed to help make this special time even more memorable.

From the exchange of rings to pre-wedding celebrations, engagement traditions in Sweden provide couples with meaningful ways to honor their commitment and joyfully anticipate the start of their marriage.

As we move on to wedding ceremony traditions, let’s explore some of the customs that are associated with this special day.

Wedding Ceremony Traditions

Wedding ceremonies are steeped in tradition and often include a variety of customs. Swedish weddings have several traditions, but they also are similar to many other countries’ traditions. 

3. Processional and Recessional

During a traditional Swedish wedding ceremony, processional music is played as the bride walks down the aisle, while recessional music is played when the couple exits after being pronounced husband and wife.

This helps set the tone for an emotional moment between two people who are about to embark on a lifelong journey together.

Popular choices for processional music include “Canon in D” by Johann Pachelbel or “Ave Maria” by Franz Schubert; popular choices for recessional music include “Ode to Joy” by Ludwig van Beethoven or “Here Comes The Sun” by The Beatles.

4. Vows and Exchange of Rings

After exchanging their vows with each other, couples exchange rings as a symbol of their commitment to one another.

Traditionally, these rings were made from gold, but modern couples may opt for silver or even platinum depending on their preference.

As part of this ritual, couples also recite special words such as “with this ring I thee wed” which signify their promise to stay together forever despite any challenges they may face along the way.

5. Bridal Crowns and Veil Wearing

Bridal crowns are worn by both the bride and groom during a traditional Swedish wedding ceremony, while veils are worn only by brides-to-be.

These accessories help add an extra layer of symbolism to what is already an incredibly meaningful event – they represent unity between two individuals who have chosen each other out of love rather than obligation or duty alone.

In addition, wearing these items can also be seen as honoring one’s ancestors who passed down similar traditions over generations before them.

At the end of every wedding ceremony comes the signing of marriage documents, which makes it legally binding.

Couples should take time beforehand to familiarize themselves with all relevant laws so that everything goes smoothly on their big day without any hiccups along the way.

Swedish wedding traditions are full of meaningful and beautiful ceremonies that honor the couple’s commitment to each other.

From processional and recessional to bridal crowns, these rituals bring a unique touch to any celebration. 

Reception Traditions

6. Toasting and Speeches

These are an important part of Swedish receptions. Toasts are made to honor the newly married couple, while speeches can be given by anyone who wishes to share their well-wishes for them.

The toast is usually made with champagne or wine, and it’s a great way to show your support for the couple.

Speeches often include stories about how the couple met, funny anecdotes from their relationship, or heartfelt messages of love and encouragement.

It’s also common for family members or close friends to give speeches at Swedish receptions as a way of showing their appreciation for the newlyweds.

7. Dancing

Dancing is another key element in Swedish wedding receptions. Couples will perform special dances together, such as waltzes or polkas, while guests join in on group dances like schottisches and hamboes.

Music performances are also popular during these events; traditional instruments like fiddles and accordions may be played along with more modern tunes that everyone can enjoy dancing to throughout the night.

Traditional Swedish wedding first dance choices usually include classic ballads like “Ack Värmeland du sköna”, a love poem written for a Swedish opera in the 1800s.

Other popular songs include ABBA’s “Mamma Mia” and more recent hits from Swedish artists such as Robyn and Jens Lekman.

Couples also often opt for classic waltzes such as Schubert’s Ave Maria or Grieg’s Wedding Day at Troldhaugen as a beautiful way to start their married life together.

8. Food and drink

Food and drink specialties play an integral role in Swedish weddings too. Traditional dishes like herring salad or pickled salmon are served alongside drinks like champagne or wine so that guests can enjoy themselves throughout the evening festivities.

A smörgåsbord, or Swedish buffet, is a tradition at many Swedish weddings. Typically held on the evening of the reception, guests can enjoy an array of dishes such as pickled herring, cold fish, and meatballs, as well as salads and sweet treats like cakes and cookies.

Sweets such as kransekake (a type of almond cake) may also be served after dinner has been completed. This dessert is especially popular among Swedes due to its festive look, which symbolizes celebration.

After a night of toasting, speeches, dancing, and music, the reception ends.

But the wedding celebrations are not over yet – now it’s time for some post-wedding traditions like the bride’s farewell dance, gifting of the bride’s bouquet to single guests, and honeymoon sendoff.

Post-Wedding Traditions

9. Post-Wedding

In Sweden, post-wedding traditions are an important part of the celebration. One such tradition is the bride’s farewell dance.

The bride’s farewell dance at a Swedish wedding is typically called the “ölslut”.

This involves her dancing with all of her male relatives one last time before she leaves for her honeymoon.

It’s a way to show gratitude and appreciation for their support throughout the wedding planning process and the journey ahead.

Another post-wedding tradition in Sweden is gifting of the bride’s bouquet to single female guests at the reception.

This custom is meant to bring them luck in finding love soon too. The bride will often throw her bouquet over her shoulder as she walks down the aisle or during a special moment at the reception, like when she dances with her father or new husband.

The final Swedish post-wedding tradition is known as a honeymoon sendoff ritual which involves throwing rice over the newly married couple as they leave for their honeymoon destination as a sign of good luck on their journey together.

Guests may also give gifts that can be used on their trip such as travel vouchers, luggage tags, or even personalized maps highlighting places they should visit while away from home.

These traditional customs provide an opportunity for family and friends to celebrate alongside newlywed couples after saying “I do”, offering meaningful ways to honor them before embarking on this exciting chapter in life together.

They give a chance for everyone to come together one last time before the couple leaves for their honeymoon, wishing them luck and blessings as they start their journey as husband and wife.


Swedish wedding traditions are a unique and beautiful way to celebrate your special day.

From the engagement ceremony to the reception and all of the post-wedding festivities, these customs allow couples to express their love meaningfully.

Whether you’re looking for traditional Swedish elements or something more modern, incorporating Swedish wedding traditions into your big day will make it truly unforgettable.