A Norwegian Folk Wedding
[Paper pressing of Rycraft cookie stamp]  

Bridal Procession, Wedding Service
and Scottish Recessional


While members of the wedding party used the morning to prepare and to have photos taken, our guests could sightsee or visit together and get ready for the events of the day.

The bride greets guests as they arrive.

We asked our guests to assemble no later than 12:30 p.m. at our reception site, a local Episcopal church fellowship hall about 1/2 mile from the Lutheran church where the wedding service was to take place. Many arrived around 12 noon. They parked their cars, dropped off their contributions to the potluck reception, and then gathered with the bridal party and other guests to visit before the procession started. While they visited, many of the over 40 musicians present were playing tunes, both for practice and enjoyment.

Around 12:35 p.m., our kjøkemester (no, it's not a "jokemeister", it's a Master of Ceremonies) welcomed the guests. They were asked to line up in the following traitional order:

  • Fiddlers/Musicians
  • Bridal Couple
  • Bridal Party (which, for us, included our attendants, readers, as well as their spouses)
  • Family and extended family (in no particular order)
  • Other guests
The sound of the lur begins the procession.

Traditional Processional Call

Once every one was in place, our wedding day celebration officially opened at 12:45 p.m. with the sound of the lur. The lur is one of Norway's oldest folk instruments and has been used for rituals and for work and communication, especially between high mountain farms.

Then the door was slammed three times (to mark the Trinity) in order to scare away any evil lurking about. In the old days, they used to shoot a gun over the bride's head - but the local police didn't think this was a good idea...

Traditional Norwegian Wedding Marches

Our bridal procession was led by 16 musicians playing two traditional Norweigian wedding marches from areas near where portions of the bride's family is from:

  • The bridal procession on the way to church: 8 fiddles, 2 recorders, 3 accordions, 1 concertina, 1 lur and 1 mandolin.
    Brurmarsj fra Vågå (Gudbrandsdal) etter Leif-Inge Schølberg
  • Brudemarsj fra Romsdal (Møre og Romsdal): Eit sommarbrydlaup

The procession was great fun! It was a one-half (1/2) mile walk over flat sidewalks through local side streets. Because we stayed on the sidewalks, we didn't need any parade permits. (We had checked this, in advance, with the local police department.) As we walked down the streets, dozens of people came out of their houses to see what was going by. They ran to get cameras and took pictures. Mini-vans on their way to local garage sales slowed down to take a look and call out greetings. One of our elderly guests lived on the procession route, but wasn't able to join the walk. He sat in his lawn chair, waving the Norwegian flag and cheering us on!

Among the unexpected advantages of walking to church:

  • The bride and groom got a chance to relax and chat with family and friends on the way. We weren't so stressed out as we might have been had we been sitting and waiting for things to start at the church.
  • Our guests got to know each other on the walk so that, by the time they got to church, they were truly a part of a larger community.

Hardingfele Brudamarsj fra Seljord

We were met at the church with two surprises: The first surprsie was five hardingfele players who had come from all over the United States and who met the procession near the church door playing a Bridal March from Seljord, Telemark.

The hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle) originated in the area around the Hardangerfjord area of Norway, whence its name, and is often referred to as the national instrument of Norway. It is essentially a violin, creatively decorated with mother-of-pearl inlays, drawings, and often capped by a carving, usually a fearsome lion's head, on the end of the neck. Its most distinguishing feature is the four or five sympathetic understrings that run under the fingerboard. The main strings are tuned in one of 23 combinations and the understrings are, in turn, tuned to those harmonics, providing the bagpipe-like "drone" for which the hardingfele is famous. The oldest known fiddle has a date of 1651, although they have found fiddle cases that predate the fiddle by over 100 years, and the musical tradition continues unbroken up to the present day.

The second surprise was our pastor and his wife who met us -- as tradition dicates -- at the door to the church. Our pastor was in the traditional dress of a 19th century Norwegian pastor with black robe and a ruffled white collar that his wife had made especially for the occasion.

Once the Bridal Procession had arrived and the guests were seated in the church it was time to begin the service.

The wedding service was compiled from various Protestant sources including the Scottish (Anglican), German and Norwegian Lutheran traditions, all of which reflect the heritage of the faith and cultures of the bridal couple.

Norwegian Folk Tunes
Myllargutens bruremarjs
Recording in mp3 format by Knut Buen on the Myllargutens Minne CD. Used by permission.

Torgeir Augundsson (1801-1872)

Karen Torkelson Solgård, hardingfele, and Kären Salveson, piano

Karen and Kären played some traditional Norwegian folk tunes as the congregation walked into the church from the Bridal Procession. Among the tunes we asked Karen Solgård to play was one by Myllarguten or Torgeir Augundsson (1801-72), Norway's most famous fiddler. It's a somewhat sad piece, written for the wedding of girl that Myllarguten himself wanted to marry. You can hear the fiddle plaintively calling "Kari, Kari, Kari..." in the melody.

Gammel bruremarsj fra Nordfjord
Recording in mp3 format by Arne Sølverg on the Nordfjordslaater CD. Used by permission.


Loretta Kelley, hardingfele

For the processional inside the church to the altar, the fiddler played a traditional wedding march from the Nordfjord region of Norway on the hardingfele. The tune is based on a folk tune from Gudbrandsdal that remembers the Scottish invasion of Norway in 1612. Listen for the the "bagpipes" in the tune.

The fiddler walked into the church, playing as she walked. She was followed by the pastor, the two honor attendants and then the bridal couple who came in together holding hands. Following Nordic tradition, the bride and groom were seated with their honor attendants in front of the altar. The bride and matron of honor were seated on the left side of the chancel, facing the groom and best man, who were seated on the right hand side of the chancel. The pastor stood in between, behind the pre' dieu.


Words of Welcome

Our pastor opened the service with a welcome to all our guests. Then he put his hand up to his ruffled collar and said, "You know...I wouldn't wear this for just anyone." The whole congreagation broke up in laughter -- and his lighthearted comment help set the tone for a wedding that had grace, dignity, humor and serendipity.


Sharing of the Peace

PASTOR: The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all!

CONGREGATION: And also with you!


"Praise to the Lord"

Hymn of Praise
Stalsund Gesangbuch (1665)

Kären Salveson, piano

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation;
O my soul, praise him for he is thy health and salvation:
All ye who hear, Now to his temple draw near;
Joining in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wonderously reigneth,
Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth:
Hast thou not seen? All that is needful hath been
Granted in what he ordaineth.

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee,
Ponder anew What the Almighty can do,
If with his love he befriend thee!

Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore him;
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!
Let the Amen Sound from his people again;
Gladly for aye we adore him. Amen.

The Lutheran denomination has often been called "the singing church" because of the rich tradition of liturgy and congregational choral singing, begun by Martin Luther himself and strongly influenced by the denominationēs North European roots. The hymns chosen for today come from the German Lutheran heritage and are familiar to almost every Lutheran (and many of other denominations). We chose to use the translations found in the old Lutheran Service Book and Hymnal (aka "The Red Book") because they reminded us of growing up in the Lutheran church, reflect the "old-fashioned" wedding theme and have beautiful poetry. The hymns we chose were played and sung in 3/4 time~waltz meter~perfect for dancing!.


Bidding Prayer

Adapted from the Church of Scotland

PASTOR: Let us pray. Gracious God, we give you thanks and praise for all your gifts of goodness and grace. We praise you for your gift of love, uniting our friends and families, blessing our lives, enfolding us all our days. Especially we thank you for the love that dwells and grows in the hearts of Todd and Ruth and for the happiness and trust that has led them here. As they seek now in marriage to confirm that happiness and deepen that trust, may your Spirit of love sanctify their joy and enrich their love. Guide them by your grace, surround them with your presence, and keep them in your love. Amen. [CONGREGATION SITS.]


Secular Reading

From Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Barbara Heep, reader

A friend of the groom stood up, told how she had gotten to know the groom (through science fiction conventions) and read:

"A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart's. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement, to check the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand; only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back~it does not matter which. Because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it. The joy of such a pattern is not only in the joy of creation or the joy of participation, it is also the joy of living in the moment. Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined. One cannot dance well unless one is completely in time with the music, not leaning back to the last step or pressing forward to the next one, but points directly on the present step as it comes. Perfect poise on the beat is what gives good dancing its sense of ease, of timelessness, of the eternal."

She ended her reading with the words, "Live long and prosper", with the Vulcan gesture. The entire congregation broke up in laughter

Musikk for meditasjon
Recording in mp3 format by Knut Buen and Kåre Nordstoga on the Bjølleslåtten CD. Used by permission.

Music for meditation
etter Ola Mosafin

Loretta Kelley, hardingfele, and Kären Salveson, piano

Between the readings, we heard Bjølleslåtten (The Bell Tune) after the tradition of Ola Mosafinn, a fiddler from Voss, Norway. The theme of this tune is based on the sound of the harness bells as a wedding party travels to and from the church on horseback.


Scripture Reading

Philippians 2:1-4, 4:4-9 (NIV)
Fuad Bassim Nijim, reader

The second reader first told of his friendship with the bride since they were college students together and how she had met his family in Palestine when she was a student there. At the bride's request, he began the reading with a blessing in Arabic and then read:

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others . . . Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."



The Reverend Randall K. Wilburn



Declaration of Intention


PASTOR: God has commanded us to live in community with him and with each other so that man and woman shall be one„and he has affirmed this joint enterprise with his blessing. Marriage is God's good gift. It tests our ability to share happiness and sorrow, to give and receive, to understand and forgive. In marriage, man and woman grow closer to each other and extend themselves in faith and hope towards all that God has to give. In the presence of God and these witnesses, I ask you, [GROOM], will you have [BRIDE], who stands at your side, to be your wife? Will you love and honor her and be faithful to her through good and bad days until death parts you from each other?
I will.
Likewise I ask you, [BRIDE], will you have [GROOMS'], who stands at your side, to be your husband? Will you love and honor him and be faithful to him through good and bad days until death parts you from each other?

Velsignelse fra menigheten

Blessing from Congregation

PASTOR: [GROOM] and [BRIDE]have invited you here because you are special to them and because they desire your support and encouragement. You all have a role to play in their relationship. I now ask you as family, friends, colleagues and congregation, will you do everything in your power to support them in their marriage and give it your blessing? If so, please respond by saying loudly, "Yes, we will!"
Yes, we will!
[GROOM] and [BRIDE], you have declared your intention to share with each other your joys and sorrows and all that the years will bring. With your promises now publicly bind yourselves to each other as husband and wife.

Utveksling av ed og ringer

Exchange of Vows and Rings

The bridal pair exchanged our vows and gold wedding bands that were created by a member of the congregation. After the vows, the pastor invited members of the congregation to come and surround the bridal pairfor a "laying on of hands" as they knelt to receive the Blessing Prayer. Many of family and friends joined the bridal party at the altar for this moving experience.

Velsignelses forbønn

Blessing Prayer


PASTOR: Gracious God, for the promise, for the hope, for the love of this day, we praise you! Bless [GROOM] and [BRIDE] now with the strength of your Spirit, that they may build a life of joy and fulfillment on the foundations of commitment and love. Bless them so that together they may grow to know and love you. Bless their families and friends, who have given their love and friendship throughout the years. May they be sustained in their marriage by the love and support that now surrounds them.


At this point, members of the congreagation were invited to add their own prayers for us, either silently or aloud. A number of beautiful, meaningful prayers were offered by family and friends.

PASTOR: Father in heaven, bless [GROOM AND BRIDE] so that they always remain open hearted, courageous and strong. Give to them generosity of spirit, understanding of each other, and warm and loyal friendship. Grant that they may go forward from this day delighting in their love. May their love grow, and in time to come may it prove to heal and to help, to overcome difficulties and to bring reconciliation. So may all see in them a symbol of your love, from which nothing can separate us, and which nothing can overcome. Be with them now and remain with them forever. Amen.


The Lord's Prayer


ALL : Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

The bride prayed the Lord's Prayer in Norwegian, as she always does, to remember her heritage and to honor the faith of her grandmothers. Many other languages were being used at this point: Arabic, German, Swedish, Danish, etc.. It was a reminder of the universality of the Christian faith and of the global community of the church in Christ Jesus.

Vigselserklēring fra menigheten

Proclamation by the Congregation

PASTOR: [GROOM] and [BRIDE], you have been united by the grace of God and have publicly made your vows before us. The Lord God bless and sustain you in love until life's end.
We joyfully declare you to be husband and wife! Amen!!

The "Amen!" from the congregation was so loud and enthusiastic that the bride turned around and gave everyone a "thumbs up" gesture -- and the congregation exploded in delighted laughter. Once the vows had been exchanged, the blessing prayer said, and the marriage proclamation made, the groom exchanged seats with the matron of honor and the bridal couple were seated by each other's side for the remainder of the service.

Now thank we all our God

Hymn of Thanksgiving
Johann Crüger (1598-1662)

Kären Salveson, piano

Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in whom his world rejoices;
Who, from our mother's arms, hath blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God, through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace, and guide us when perplexed,
And free us from all ills in this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God the Father now be given,
The Son, and him who reigns with them in highest heaven.
The one eternal God, whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now, and shall be evermore. Amen.

Herrens velsignelse

The Benediction and Dismissal

PASTOR: Herren velsigne deg og bevare deg. Herren la sitt ansikt lyse over deg og være deg nådig. Herren løfte sitt åsyn på deg og gi deg fred.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Go in peace. Serve the Lord.
Thanks be to God! [CONGREGATION SITS.]

Our pastor surprised us by choosing to give the benediction in Norwegian instead of English. The English translation is: "The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The Lord look upon you with favor and grant you peace."

Utgang og Postludium
Bryllaupsfesten på Troldhaugen

Recessional and Postlude
Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Roderick Kettlewell, piano

The recessional, Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, was composed by Norway's "national composer", Edvard Hagarup Grieg (a Norwegian of Scottish descent), for the wedding of his daughter. Grieg frequently used themes he heard in traditional Norwegian folk music in his own compositions. We didn't actually process out at this point. Instead, we sat (along with the rest of the congregation) and listend to the glorious music. Only on the last reprise of the main musical theme did we finally walk out. While this type of recessional was unusual, many people commented on how much they enjoyed it because it allowed them time to sit and reflect upon what had just taken place. We, too, enjoyed the extra time for meditation -- and we think more people should do this at their weddings.

Our bagpiper gets ready for the to lead us the reception.

After the wedding, the bridal pair greeted some of our guests in the courtyard and had some pictures taken. A number of the musicians began playing and a few of our guests even started dancing.

About fifteen minutes or so after the wedding ended, the bagpipier began blowing his pipes and the bridal party and guests fell into line again for the Scottish Wedding Procession back to the reception hall for the rest of the festivities. (For more information on the bagpipes, check out The Pipes web site.)

After a leisurely half-mile back from the church to the reception site, the bridal party waited outside the reception hall as the guests entered to prepare for the Skaaljedajen..


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Last Updated: Friday, 18-Aug-2017 09:27:36 MST