Evangeline & Corey's Norse viking wedding

July 8 |
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Photos by N'Sight Photography

The offbeat bride: Evangeline, PhD Student

Her offbeat partner: Corey, Field Engineer

Location & date of wedding: On top of the mountain in Monte Sano State Park, Huntsville, Alabama — October 22, 2010

What made our wedding offbeat: We aimed to model our wedding after 10th Century Norse Vikings. I made all the clothes for myself, my groom, and the entire, all-male wedding party. I also wove all the trim work for the clothes.

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We had a Viking ship wedding cake and all of the plates and bowls were biodegradable bamboo. The centerpieces were wheat/oat bundles and I carried a wheat bundle for a bouquet. The guest seating was haybales covered with lengths of fabric from my personal stash.

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A lot of our guests dressed up and had a blast in their viking/medieval clothes.

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Tell us about the ceremony: The ceremony was performed in two languages, English and Icelandic, with a dowry contract negotiation and a bride price exchange. I was NOT cheap!

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We had a double sword exchange, ring exchanges, and Corey gave me the ceremonial keys to the household. I gave him a torc, a traditional open-ended neck ring. We fed each other a bite of oatcake and shared a horn of mead during the ceremony.

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Because the ceremony was going to be unfamilar to our guests, our wedding program contained information about Norse wedding customs. This included the bride price and dowry, why there were groomsmen and bridesmen, why we were exchanging swords, what the keys represented, and why we were putting our own rings on instead of putting them on each other.

At the end of the ceremony, we stated together:

"We do now proclaim ourselves one in flesh and in spririt, and pledge that from this time on, we will take the responsibilties and exercise the privileges of an independant household in the community of humankind."

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Our biggest challenge: The biggest challenge was getting the wedding party's clothes made. I made everyone else's clothes first and almost ran out of time to make my own! I also burned my arm on the iron pleating my train the morning of the wedding.

But I realized that even if I didn't get everything done for my wedding outfit, I would be the only one who knew it.

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My funniest moment: There were three funny moments at our wedding. The first was that no one realized that the big Viking ship in the middle of the hall was the wedding cake. Everyone thought it was a model of some kind. Several of our guests protested the idea of cutting it, but we insisted. It was apple spice cake with caramel filling. Yum! And the groom's cake was dark chocolate with wild berry filling.

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The second funny moment was when part of the groom's family showed up wearing Minnesota Vikings jerseys, instead of Norse Viking clothes.

The third funny thing was the last song of the night. We played "Good Night Demonslayer" by Voltaire and we were all singing it as we danced.

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My advice for offbeat brides: Enjoy the process of planning. Make sure that you have discussed everything with your partner and get them involved so it is the wedding that both of you want.

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Care to share a few vendor/shopping links?

Enough talk — show me the wedding porn!

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  1. Evangeline, this is truly amazing! I am so jealous! My wedding this coming spring will have some of the traditional viking pieces but not the entire thing like yours has had. I want to know more about the longboat cake, did you design it? Who made it?

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    • Our cake was designed and made by Bob Johnson of Couture Cakes in Huntsville Alabama. It was FANTASTIC!

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  2. amazing!!! i would love to read your program!!! or i may have to google myself to death finding out all about the details. what a kick ass wedding!!

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    • What Is Going on Here? Explanations of Norse Wedding Customs
      Groomsmen and Bridesmen????
      During the early Scandinavian Norse period it was customary to have six men, three for the groom and three for the bride, in attendance on the Bride and Groom. It insured the safety of the Bride and Groom against violent dissension and it lent weight to the marriage by having six landowning men as witnesses in case of any possible future legal ramification.

      What is all this about a Bride Price and Dowry?
      Sixteen months ago, the Groom (with a mediator) called on the Bride’s family to negotiate the terms of the contract that is binding the couple today. As a sign of good faith and to demonstrate his worthiness, the Groom paid the Bride price (mundr) of 12 ounces of silver to the family as well as guaranteeing that the Bride would be able to make yearly visits to the family at their steading.

      What is the Bride's Price?
      It was a payment to the father of the bride for control of the mundium, a Latin term for the right of protection and legal guardianship which was held by her father or other kinsman until she was married. In addition to ensuring the economic soundness of the marriage, payment of the Bride's price served to compensate the bride's family for the loss of her labor at the homestead.
      The amount of the mundr was set by statute and was the minimum amount which would render the children of the union legitimate in law .The reason that a minimum payment was required went back to the Norse concern for the economic support of any children produced by the couple: a man who could not afford the minimum mundr had no hope of supporting his offspring, and should therefore not marry.

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      • What is the Bride's Dowry?
        The dowry represented a girl's portion of her father's inheritance. The dowry was administered by the husband, but he kept it as a trust which could not be spent unwisely nor squandered. The dowry could not be confiscated with the husband's other goods during outlawry proceedings, nor could he use it in the repayment of debts. The dowry was intended in part for the wife's maintenance during the marriage.

        Why are the Bride and Groom Exchanging Swords?
        The sword given by the Bride to the Groom is a symbol of the Bride's willingness to accept the Groom as the protector and family spokesman.
        The sword given by the Groom to the Bride signifies the traditions of the family and the continuation of the bloodline. The Bride is to hold the sword in trust for future generations.

        Oath Ring
        These were used to consecrate the wedding vows strengthen the link between the concept of the unbroken circle of the ring and the unbreakable nature of the vow.

        Why are they putting on their own wedding rings?
        The wedding ring is a symbol of a binding oath. The Norse believed that an oath could not be placed on a person, therefore the Bride and Groom are placing the symbol of their oath on their own finger.

        What is up with the Keys?
        The keys given by the Groom to the Bride symbolize his willingness to entrust the Bride with the care-taking and maintenance of the household.

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        • And I paid 14 ounces of silver, 2 lbs of Jamaican Blue Mtn. (very good coffee if you ask me) and a very well made Anglo-Saxon Seax, have to thank a small village outside of Edinburgh for that, we will be back next year guys:). But I have to go a viking every year anyways so I can afford to send her home. All in all I think I got a good deal.

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          • You guys are fantastic! Congratulations! Also, I totally laughed out loud that the groom's family showed up in Minnesota Viking's jerseys.That is definitely what my family would do. Glad, you both rolled with it!

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          • Where did yall get the Seax and bamboo plates/bowls?

            Your wedding looks like it was amazing and fun!

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          • The one you see in the Pictures I got online (along with the swords that I gifted to the guardsman) The Seax I used to pay for the brides prices I got at an invent somewhere in Tenn a few years back.

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  3. WOOOOOOAHHH LOVED IT ALL!!! That cake is truly amazing, but the flavor!! it has to be my favourite flavor in the world!! :D :D :D! Congrats!

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  4. WOW…such a magical day, truly breathtaking! Congrats : )

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  5. I also have to credit Calandra Terry of An Event to Remember who was our wedding 'buddy' who found all of our wonderful venders. She is truly a joy to work with and listens to what her brides want. http://youreventtoremember.com/

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  6. This is my favorite wedding featured yet! I LOVE the bride's boquet!!! And what awesome traditions :D

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  7. OMG! This is totally awesome! You did an amazing job on the costuming.

    I'm a norse viking re-enactor (through the SCA – http://www.sca.org – and also through a local viking-only group) and your costumes are so perfect that it makes me think you guys MUST be in the SCA or something similar.

    – Karla
    (aka Asny Ravnsdottir of the Barony of Lions Gate, Kingdom of An Tir, which will really only make sense to other SCA members :)

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    • *smiles*

      I am Calontiri and ended up in Meridies for love!

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      • Hailsa!

        I'm so envious, my fiance is non-SCA (though I'm excruciatingly slowly getting him into it), but he's pretty much forbidden me from planning anything resembling a SCA/medieval wedding. *sigh*

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    • That's EXACTLY what I was thinking–I was like "These guys are either Asatru… or SCA." ;)

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  8. This is AMAZING! Loved the bit you read out together, and all the little touches, you all look fab!

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  9. A++ for authenticity!
    the spirit and love of this wedding are palpable – and gorgeous!
    Felicitations to the bride!
    Congratulations to the bridegroom!
    (too many exclamation points but this is fab)

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  10. I was at this wedding! It was the coolest wedding I have ever been too!

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  11. Asatru by any chance? Love the wedding! My SO and I are Asatru and are going to have many of these elements in ours though our dress will be more modern. I love how your hall is decorated and the colors are fantastic. REALLY lovely!

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  12. OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!! I am literally in tears reading this!!! WHY?? 1) because of the awesomeness of it all, and 2) because we're having our Viking/Heathen/Norse wedding next May!!

    To see it all play out like that, the imagery, the "holycraponacracker, we're doing that, too!!!" I am sooooooo very excited that you shared this with us! I, for one, am uber-excited and can look to this for inspiration!!!

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  13. LOVE your wedding. I'm amazed by the love and the work that went into everything, but… my favorite part might be the wheat bundle. I might have to borrow that idea for my offbeat lite ceremony. :)

    Very nice work and it all looks lovely!

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  14. Leave it to OBB to find the one wedding that actually has a dowry/price for a bride, and welcomes it with open arms. THAT is offbeat. <3

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  15. She forget to tell you all this (you cannot blame her I sometimes over whelm her with great ideas). I had the ring specially made just for her, you will not see it anywhere other than on her finger. ( had it made when I was traveling….. I mean viking in the middle east)

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  16. Simply magical! The cake, the garb, everything is so beatiful!! You guys did an amazing job!! Congrats!!!

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  17. This is FANTASTIC! I desperately want a Viking meets elvish wedding (he's a viking, I'm an elf) and this is exactly what I want. And you made all the outfits! And your HAIR! I love seeing formal 'dos for actual long hair.

    This wedding. I die.

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  18. So cool, we are having a historiacal wedding ourselves, medieval though, and I just love when people takes the traditions of the past to the present. I congratulate you both on such a succesfull wedding! truly amazing

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  19. I won't lie, I screamed a little when I saw this and my fiance and I looked at the pictures and knew at once you were a couple of SCAdians!

    I kept wondering when this site would feature a SCA wedding. =) I wanted one, but we couldn't agree. My persona is Norse (I'm Helga stjarna), but my fiance is late period Japanese, so we couldn't agree!

    Your cake looked AMAZING! Congrats to you both!

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  20. Those cakes belong in the Sunday Sweets feature at Cake Wrecks. Gorgeous!

    Chalk me up as another one who knew you had to be SCAdians (or Asatruar). So many details were absolutely perfect.

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  21. I love it! I wanted to do a Norse wedding myself but in this area Norse mythology is connected with negative conginations. I will def be asking Blessed Brigid to help me in my new role as wife though.

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  22. Eavngeline I am working on our wedding right now and could use your help. I am not art of a group and am going crazy trying to find out the way that right way to do things and why some things were done. Please help me.

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  23. Hello there I was wondering if I could get some adive i'm soon to be married myself and my other half fallows the Norse gods so I am hoping to suprice him on our wedding day by wearing a real vivking wedding dress. My problem is I do not know where to start to find someone that is able to make such a dress if any one is able to point me in the right way please let me know many thanks Julie.

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    • Hey, sweetheart, maybe I can help you.

      I can recommend a couple online shops for your needs: revivalclothing.com and historicenterprises.com

      You can get nice viking ladies' outfits at either shop, and maybe you could get custom embroidery to make your dress appropriately festive. You might be able to find someone locally who can embroider, too, or even learn to do it yourself–that would be such a nice touch.

      There are also plenty of free sewing patterns and tutorials online for making clothes like these. Maybe you could learn to make your own, or work with a local seamstress.

      Good luck. :D

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  24. Oh. Ohhhhh! The tears started as soon as I saw the first photo, and by the end I was practically sobbing from the intensity of my delighted approval. This is so like the wedding I have been dreaming about, and it makes me happy that someone has done this. What a glorious wedding. <3 This gives me such hope that my dream CAN be realized.

    Greetings from An Tir, by the way. My main persona is thirteenth-century German-Swiss, and my partner's is Norse of the same period. I have not yet figured out a name, but his is Rodrekr Eirikson.

    You can imagine that we are both "black sheep" among our religious relatives. XD He says his grandmother "would have an aneurysm" if we had such a nontraditional wedding as I have proposed, or if she knew he has even the vaguest Asatru leanings. These would be very evident in the ceremony we have planned.

    I'm wondering if you had any similar issues. If you didn't, or would rather not mention them, that is fine. Just thought to ask.

    Finally, I want to congratulate you both on being so true to the traditions you chose, and on all the research and effort you poured into your wedding. Magnificent!

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  25. My fiance and I are planning a theatrical viking/norse wedding next summer. He wants to be in full berserker type garb. This will be my second time getting married, and his third so there won't be any bride price going on… unless he wants to negotiate it with my seven year old. Who, I have a feeling, will sell me for an orange soda and a new lego set.

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  26. i am hoping someone out there can assist me. I am a wedding officiant and have a couple who want me to incorporate Asatru wedding vows. Can anyone help me….

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    • I am also looking for more information on this. My fiance and i are getting married in july and we are trying to find more on the traditions.

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  27. I'm Scandinavian background and I'm seriously considering doing a Norse wedding. I'm particularly curious about where you found your information you used to with your traditions. I wonder what books or other sources you found helpful.

    I dont think we will be able to pull a quarter of the fantastic touchs that you were able to do, but maybe we will manage some elements that will make our day beautiful too

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  28. I love this! Even more because I want a SCA wedding and 3/4 of every one I know in our shire is Viking. Using this as a ref.
    love you wedding!

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  29. Hello there, first of all i would love to commend you for doing absolutely everything With this ceremony!
    My future hubby and i are having a traditional norse viking wedding as well bc my fiance is asa tru. Although we are attempting to make our own garb, we have no idea what we are doing! Could i ask what templates or patterns you used?

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  30. Ya know, it's amazing how we can glance at pics and not realize we know someone because the context is not where we're expecting to see them…….
    This wedding looks glorious fun, and the fact that two good friends of mine were bit players (the man walking the bride, and the viking in the yellow tunic on the far right in the second-to-last pic)(and probably others) makes it even more spiff!

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