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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!

Comments on Evangeline & Corey’s Norse viking wedding

  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?

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

  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!!

    • 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 Brideโ€™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.

      • 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.

        • 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.

          • 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!

          • 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.

  3. WOOOOOOAHHH LOVED IT ALL!!! That cake is truly amazing, but the flavor!! it has to be my favourite flavor in the world!! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€ :D! Congrats!

  4. 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/

  5. This is my favorite wedding featured yet! I LOVE the bride’s boquet!!! And what awesome traditions ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

      • 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*

    • That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking–I was like “These guys are either Asatru… or SCA.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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

  8. 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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