The warm spring weather marks the beginning of Sweden’s wedding (bröllop) season. Swedes like to do their weddings their own way – some will choose to be married in a church others on a boat, or a field in a converted barn.
To a foreigner it may appear that it does not matter to Swedes where they get married, the only real concerns are how warm it is when they get hitched and that they don’t outdo anyone else. All jokes aside, we have hunted down four experts on Swedish wedding customs to help us decipher Swedish wedding customs (seder), norms and faux pas. Here’s part 1 of our three part wedding series.
The Engagement and Wedding Ring:
You can learn a lot about a country by studying the custom and norms. This is certainly true when it comes to the Swedish engagement and wedding rings. We asked Irish-raised local goldsmith and creative designer, Michael O’Dwyer of Michael O’Dwyer Goldsmith about Swedish wedding ring styles and culture.
According to Micheal jewellery in Sweden is at a crossroads, “People are trying to break away from the social shackles of the 70’s and 80’s, and become more open about displaying their individual styles and tastes. The transition of this social rebellion of not being afraid to display wealth can be seen in small steps in the jewellery world.”
The traditional Swedish custom is to purchase gold bands as engagement rings for both women and men, and then buy a diamond ring, or second plain band for the bride on the wedding day. The Western European and American way is for the woman to receive a diamond ring when the couple becomes engaged and then both the bride and groom receive a gold band during the ceremony. Now the two cultures are beginning to merge with the woman receiving a diamond engagement ring and the man getting a gold engagement band.
The second change we see happening is Swedish women opting for a more ornate style of jewellery as opposed to the more Germanic crisp sharper pieces that have been the norm in Scandinavian countries.
Ring 1: “The Swedish Set ”: Swedish Style Jewellery
Ring 2: “Anvers Flower Ring ” : Michael O´Dwyer Design
Ring 3: “ The Morganite Ring ”: A Custom-made ring
Michael explains that it is not unusual in Sweden for couples to purchase all three rings at the same time. This is particularly important for the brides’ set of rings as it’s the most reliable way to assure that the set will sit perfectly together and have cohesion. Through his business in Liljeholmskajen, Michael has noticed that more Swedish couples are coming to his shop to “break away from the ‘lagom’ style of traditional jewellery” and have their own custom-made pieces created to suit and reflect their own personality.
Michael O´Dwyer Goldsmith
117 58 Stockholm
07-350 442 66
Michael O’Dwyer Goldsmith works in a more ornate romantic style, although they regularly make the Scandinavian styles to suit their customers needs. Michael is the owner and creative director of the company, and his jewellery style has been influenced by his training in Ireland, London and Belgium. The company specializes in Microscopic Setting, a tool used to ensure the pieces are created in the highest of standards. They are known for their precise stone setting, bold use of coloured stones and daring and luxurious designs.
Story by Kristan Coleman
‘Romantic beach photography’ by TOVE FOTOGRAF
Has the time come to choose your Swedish wedding cake? Or perhaps you’re simply curious about Swedish wedding dinner customs? In our 3rd installment of Swedish Weddings we delve into what you might find on a typical Swedish wedding menu:
The Swedish palate is certainly interesting. Swedes preference in food is often fresh, clean and simplistic, but it does have its cringe-worthy surprises. To help us understand what can be expected at the typical Swedish wedding dinner, we’ve spoken with two wedding culinary experts. For an inside perspective on the wedding dinner we spoke with Henrik Andersson owner and head chef of the gourmet catering company, Fleur de lis. And to help us understand Swedish wedding cakes we spoke with one of the official bakers of the Swedish royal wedding cake, pastry chef Conrad Thyrsén of Dessert & Choklad Stockholm.
Swedish wedding receptions will normally serve a three course meal or a buffét. Rarely will a Swedish wedding have a separate day and night reception, which means if you are invited to a Swedish wedding, you are normally invited to the whole event.
For Henrik Andersson, most of his customers come across Fleur de lis catering through personal recommendations or internet searches.
“The next step is to give the couple menu samples with prices and to check dates. I always ask them what they like so I can write a menu of their style. Then they usually come and try the food at my store.”
As we mentioned in our previous article on Swedish Wedding Traditions, a typical Swedish wedding will commence with a speech. For this reason many caterers will recommend a cold starter, usually consisting of cured meats, cheeses and fresh veggies. “Long speeches can make the food have to wait and the cold starter can be on the table when the guests arrive,” explains Henrik.
Other typical starters are Skagen toast, which is shrimps in mayonnaise and dill on toast often served with kalix löjrom (fish eggs), or Carpaccio on fillet of beef with rocket salad and truffle dressing, or a variety of herring served with potatoes and hard bread.
Main courses usually consist of slow cooked meat, chicken breast, salmon, or some game fillets. As a rule fish, unless it’s salmon, is not recommended because long-running speeches could cause the fish to be overcooked.
Desserts tend to be quite small since guests will usually be served a piece of the wedding cake with coffee and avec.
According to Henrik most Swedish couples try to do as much as they can themselves for the dinner, because it is often one of the biggest expenses. To save money couples may choose an inexpensive place to hold the dinner, hire a caterer and purchase the wine and drinks themselves.
‘Fleur de lis’
Tel: 08-662 89 99
After only 5 years working as a pastry chef, Conrad Thyrsén of Dessert & Choklad Stockholm, was requested to create the stunning 250 kilogram, 330 cm high royal wedding cake for Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel. In addition to wedding cakes Conrad’s bakery offers breads, pastries, various cakes and fine chocolates. We had the pleasure of sampling some of his elegant treats and getting an insight on Swedish wedding cakes.
As opposed to the common plum or carrot cake deceptively hidden underneath a beautifully decorated North American wedding cake; a Swedish wedding cake will not only look beautiful, but it will taste, well, like a delicious cake! “In North America they use a thicker cake, like plum, to stack the tiers,” explains Conrad, “but in Sweden we often have a layer of mousse inside so we cannot stack our cake tiers directly on top of each other.” Instead Swedish wedding cakes usually have separate tiers placed on their own stand. “Swedes always serve their cake to their guests so the most important thing is definitely that the cake tastes good, otherwise what is the point?”
According to Conrad a popular cake order right now is chocolate brownie with raspberry and chocolate mousse with icing made from sugar paste and butter. Swedes place a bigger emphasis on taste rather than appearance. Swedish style is very simplistic so naturally this influences their decorative style of wedding cakes. Not often will you find the bride and groom figures on the cake. The cakes are usually sparsely decorated with a few flowers. Sometimes using real flowers matching the brides bouquet, sometimes using sugar roses, like the ones used in the royal wedding.
“We made 110 sugar roses for the royal wedding cake and each rose took 45 minutes to make. The preparation for the cake took one month,” described Conrad. All the roses had to be made and frozen in advance. The week before the wedding required round-the-clock work on the cake.
According to Conrad the average Swede will spend 49 SEK per piece on their wedding cake and normally the cake is served out completely with no left overs.
Dessert & Choklad Stockholm
Patentgatan 7, 112 67 Stockholm
Tel: 08-656 20 20