The Vikings are known for their incredible seafaring skills, ruthless raids, and unique culture. But, one aspect of Viking culture that is often overlooked is their wedding ceremonies and the bride and groom’s attire. In this article, we will explore the historical Viking wedding dress worn by Viking brides, as well as the ceremony itself.
What is a traditional Viking wedding?
The Viking wedding ceremony was quite different from modern Western weddings. The ceremony was usually held in the bride’s home, with only close friends and family in attendance. No priests or religious figures were involved, and the couple officiated the ceremony.
The bride and groom would exchange swords, which were considered sacred in Viking culture. They would also exchange rings made of silver or gold, which symbolized their commitment to each other. The bride would then be escorted to the groom’s home, where the couple would start their new life together.
What was the Viking marriage vow?
The Viking marriage vow was a straightforward pledge between the bride and groom to love and support each other for the rest of their lives. The vows were often recited during the wedding ceremony, which was officiated by the couple themselves.
The Viking marriage vow typically included promises to:
- Love and cherish each other
- Be loyal and faithful to each other
- Support each other through good times and bad
- Protect each other and their family
- Build a life together based on mutual respect and trust
The vows were often personalized to reflect the specific desires and intentions of the couple. Some couples may have included additional promises, such as a commitment to share household duties equally or to work together to achieve shared goals.
The Viking marriage vow was a solemn and binding commitment the bride and groom took very seriously. Divorce was possible in Viking society, but it was relatively rare and was generally viewed as a last resort. Instead, couples were expected to work through their problems and challenges together, with the help of their families and communities.
Viking wedding handfasting at the glance
Viking wedding handfasting is a traditional ceremony practiced by the Vikings during the Middle Ages. The ceremony involved the binding of the hands of the bride and groom together, which symbolized their commitment to each other. This practice, also known as “tying the knot, ” is still used in modern weddings.
During the Viking wedding handfasting ceremony, the bride and groom would stand facing each other with their hands bound together by a ribbon or cord. This binding of the hands was meant to symbolize the couple’s union and commitment to each other.
A close friend or family member often did the binding, who would wrap the ribbon or cord around the bride and groom’s hands three times. Each wrap represented a different aspect of the couple’s commitment to each other: body, mind, and spirit.
After the binding was complete, the couple would exchange vows and rings, as was traditional in Viking weddings. The ceremony was then followed by a feast and celebration, which could last for several days.
In modern times, Viking wedding handfasting has become a popular alternative to traditional Western wedding ceremonies. Many couples incorporate elements of the Viking handfasting ceremony into their wedding ceremonies, such as the binding of the hands and the exchange of vows and rings.
What would a Viking bride wear?
The traditional Nordic Viking wedding dress was quite simple. The bride wore a long wool or linen dress, often decorated with embroidery or other embellishments. The dress would be belted at the waist, and the sleeves would be long and fitted. The neckline of the dress would be square or rounded, and the dress would typically reach the ankles.
The dress would be accompanied by a simple cloak made of wool or fur. The cloak would be fastened at the shoulder with a brooch or pin and worn over the dress to keep the bride warm.
How did a Viking bride wear her hair?
The hairstyle of a Viking bride was an important aspect of her overall appearance. Hair was seen as a symbol of strength and beauty, often styled in intricate braids and knots.
One popular hairstyle for Viking brides was the “shieldmaiden” braid. This style involved weaving the hair into a long braid and then looping it over the top of the head like a crown. The braid was often adorned with beads or jewelry, adding elegance to the overall look.
Another popular style was the “dragon’s tail” braid. This style involved braiding the hair into two sections and then twisting the sections together to create a rope-like braid. The braid was then wrapped around the head like a headband, with the ends tucked under the hair at the nape of the neck.
Viking brides also sometimes wore their hair loose, particularly if they had long, flowing locks. The hair would be parted in the center and left to hang in loose waves or curls. This style was often accented with a simple headband or headdress.
Fur was also a popular accessory for Viking brides. A fur hat or hood would be worn over the hair to keep the bride warm during the cold winter. The fur would also add a touch of luxury to the overall look.
Nordic Viking wedding dress at the glance
The Nordic Viking wedding dress was a symbol of simplicity and functionality. The Viking brides valued practicality and durability over extravagance and showiness. The dress was designed to keep the bride warm and comfortable during Scandinavia’s harsh winters.
The dress was often made of wool or linen, readily available in the region. The dress was usually dyed in deep, rich colors, such as red, blue, or green, believed to bring good luck and prosperity. The dress was often embellished with intricate embroidery or weaving, which added a touch of elegance to the overall design.
The Nordic Viking wedding dress was usually worn with a cloak or shawl made of wool or fur. The cloak was worn over the dress to keep the bride warm during the cold winter months. The cloak was fastened at the shoulder with a brooch or pin, which was often made of silver or gold.
Fur was a common material used in Viking clothing, often used to trim the edges of the dress or cloak. Fur was also used to line the dress’s collar and cuffs, adding an extra layer of warmth and comfort.
The Viking wedding dress was often accessorized with a headdress or headband. The headdress was usually made of metal or leather and was adorned with beads or jewels. The headband was often made of metal and was engraved with intricate designs.
What color did Viking brides wear?
Contrary to popular belief, Viking brides did not wear white on their wedding day. Instead, they would wear dresses in rich, deep colors such as red, blue, green, or brown. These colors were considered auspicious and often associated with fertility and prosperity.
Red was a prevalent color for Viking brides as it was believed to symbolize passion and love. It was also associated with the goddess Freyja, the goddess of love and fertility in Norse mythology.
Blue was another popular color for Viking brides, and it was associated with the god Odin, the god of wisdom and victory. Blue was also believed to have protective powers and was often worn as a talisman to ward off evil spirits.
Green was another color that was popular among Viking brides. It was associated with growth, fertility, and abundance. Green dresses were often embellished with intricate embroidery or weaving, which added a touch of elegance to the overall design.
Brown was also a popular color for Viking brides, particularly in the later Viking period. Brown dresses were often made of wool or linen, which were readily available in the region. They were often accented with fur or leather to add an extra layer of warmth and comfort during the cold winter months.
Celtic wedding dresses
Celtic wedding dresses are a popular choice for modern brides who want to incorporate elements of Celtic culture into their wedding ceremonies. These dresses are inspired by the traditional clothing of the Celts, who were ancient people who lived in the British Isles and parts of Europe during the Iron Age and the Medieval period.
Celtic wedding dresses typically feature intricate knotwork and other Celtic designs. They are often made of natural materials such as linen, wool, or silk and are designed to be both comfortable and elegant.
One popular style of Celtic wedding dress is the “A-line” dress, which features a fitted bodice and a flared skirt. The dress is often accented with lace or embroidery, which adds a touch of romance to the overall design.
Another popular style is the “draped” dress, which features a loose, flowing silhouette that drapes over the body. This style is often made of silk or chiffon and is designed to be comfortable and elegant.
Celtic wedding dresses often feature traditional symbols such as the triskele, the triquetra, and the Celtic cross. These symbols are believed to represent concepts such as the cycle of life, the balance of nature, and the interconnectedness of all things.
Accessories such as Celtic-inspired jewelry and headdresses are often worn with Celtic wedding dresses to complete the overall look. These accessories are usually made of silver or gold and feature intricate Celtic knotwork and other designs.
Modern Viking wedding dress
In modern times, many couples have incorporated Viking elements into their wedding ceremonies, including attire. While traditional Viking wedding dress is still popular, many modern brides have opted for more elaborate and ornate dresses.
Some modern Viking wedding dresses incorporate fur, leather, and other natural materials. The dresses may also feature intricate beadwork, embroidery, or other embellishments.
Goddess Viking wedding dress
For brides who want to channel their inner Viking goddess, a goddess Nordic Viking wedding dress would be a perfect choice. These dresses are typically made of flowing fabrics, such as silk or chiffon, and feature intricate beadwork or embroidery. The dress may also be accented with fur or leather for a touch of Viking authenticity.
Winter Viking wedding dress
A winter Viking wedding dress would be the perfect choice for winter weddings. These dresses are typically made of heavier fabrics, such as wool or fur, to keep the bride warm. The dress may also feature a hood or fur-lined collar for added warmth.
Black Viking wedding dress
For brides who prefer a darker color palette, a black Viking wedding dress would be a striking choice. These dresses are typically made of wool or linen and feature intricate embroidery or beadwork. The dress may also be accented with fur or leather.
The traditional Viking wedding dress was a symbol of simplicity and functionality. The dress was designed to keep the bride warm and comfortable during Scandinavia’s long, harsh winters. The dress was often made of wool or linen and was dyed in deep colors. The dress was often embellished with intricate embroidery or weaving and worn with a cloak or shawl made of wool or fur.
These days, many couples have chosen to incorporate Viking elements into their wedding ceremonies, including their attire. While traditional Viking wedding dress is widespread, many modern brides have opted for more elaborate and ornate dresses. Whether you choose a conventional Nordic Viking wedding dress or a modern interpretation, the important thing is to make sure that the dress reflects your personality and unique sense of style.