The bridal couple spent
over a year and a half planning the wedding -- but the bride will tell
she had probably been unintentionally preparing for the event most
of her adult life! Each of the topics below includes links to
various web sites and resources that used for wedding planning. Some
of these may be
quite out of date or invalid.We thought that some of our guests might
be interested in this information.
Research | Creating
Community | Creating Heirlooms
Helpful web links included:
More to come...
The more research we did, the more we realized how challenging it is to incorporate some of the old-country traditions into a modern-day wedding because some things just don't exist anymore- or at least not in the same format. However, we took up this challenge and decided to do something with it by creating heirlooms for the future. We are deeply indebted to the artisans who helped us create these heirlooms, thereby adding authenticity to our celebrations and enjoyment of their work long after our celebrations were over.
Cookie Stamp | Bridal
Crown Ribbons | Psalmebok
Box and Hardanger Embroidery | Wedding Bands
The Invitation Papercasting
/ Cookie Stamp
We wanted to do something very different for our invitation -- and we found our answer while looking at a book that teaches papercasting with Rycraft Collectible Cookie Stamps! We called the Rycraft Company to find out more and, in the process, discovered that they will make cookie stamps on commission. Thus, we began an exciting and creative process over the next six months with Robin Rycraft and his craftspeople. We ended up with a lovely Norwegian Bridal Crown Cookie stamp (the impression of which appears on each page of this web site in the upper left hand corner). The Rycraft Company made the stamps and the paper-castings for us. We designed and assembled the invitations ourselves. As part of the deal, we also received 50 cookie stamps, which were given to the participants in our wedding as a gift, along with a cookie stamp of the Scottish thistle (the national symbol). Our friends now have one of the first 50 stamps ever made of this exclusive design.
The only authorized retail seller of the Norwegian Crown Rycraft cookie stamp is:
We have given permission to some Norwegian-American to sell as a fund-raiser. If your organization would like to use sales of this stamp for a purpose related to Norwegian and Nowegian-American culture, please contact us for more information.
The Bridal Crown Ribbons
In some parts of Norway, the traditional (folk) bride wears a
wedding crown, often made of silver, from which hang a colection of
silk ribbons. The crown usually belongs to the bride's church or her
family. Today, it is possible to find small, delicate sølje bridal
crowns for rent from some Scandinavian gift shops. However, we wanted
a traditional "peasant" wedding crown. We rented the crown
we used from Vesterheim
Museum in Decorah, IA. A friend and fellow folk dancer/musician
in Gig Harbor, WA made the heirloom-quality bridal ribbons. She sewed
ribbons together to make double-faced ribbons and then gathered them
on a head "cushion" which was then both sewn to the crown
and had ribbons attached that tie under the bride's chin. The ribbons
used for the back of the crown were collected by the bride and the
maker from all over the world (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, India, Thailand)
and represented thebride's work in international education and her
travels around the world.
The Wedding Bands
We exchanged gold wedding bands that were created especially
for us by a member of our congregation, Nadar Ayad, a wonderfully creative
Palestinian-American jeweler. The artwork on the bands is an abstracted
version of a Norwegian baroque acanthus design from the Gudbrandsdal
region. We found the inspiration for this on a hand-carved ambar (a
highly decorated porridge container) that was traditionally used to
carry rømmegrøt (a sour cream porridge) as a contribution
to festive occasions such as weddings. The original carver of the ambar that
inspired us is a Norwegian-American.
How to get Nordic style
Our wedding bands were made by Nadar Ayad of Mission Hills Gallery
in Fremont, CA. Other excellent jewelers who make wedding bands
with Nordic themes include Crowntrout
Jewelers (Lanesboro, MN) and Lori Talcott (Seattle, WA). We've
also seen an interesting "Norwegian wedding ring" at Custom-Wedding-Rings.com.
Psalmebok Box and Hardanger Embroidery
A number of years ago, the bride had been given her paternal
grandmother's psalmebok (Norwegian hymn book). The psalmebok
had been a gift from the bride's great-grandmother to her grandmother,
probably at confirmation or before her grandmother left for America.
Inside the psalmebok is inscribed "May you live and believe so
that you may sign with the angels in eternity."
In the old days, it was a Norwegian tradition for the bride to
carry her psalmebok to her wedding. However, this psalmebok is in very
fragile condition so protecting it was of utmost concern. We found
our answer in another Norwegian tradition, chip carving. We asked Judy
Ritger, an award winning rosemaler and chip carver from River Falls,
Wisconsin, to chip-carve a special small box in which the bride could
carry the psalmebok. The box continues to protect the psalmebok and
makes a wonderful display piece.
In some areas of Norway, the bride had a special wedding handcloth
that she used on her wedding day. We used the same concept by having
a beautiful piece of hardanger embroidery that covered the chip-carved
psalmebok box. The beautiful embroidery for both the box cover and
the groom's boutennier were done by the groom's sister as a wedding
gift. The patterns are available in the book, ....
It is often said that the invitation sets the tone for the wedding.
In this case, the bride designed the invitations. She's not
usually very creative in the visual arts, but this time it all came
together. All of the invitations (more than 350 of them) were made by hand
-- and the bride has the glue gun burns to prove it!
The front design used cotton tartan fabric from Clan MacKay,
wheat from a Minnesota farm and the papercast medallion that you
see in the top left hand corner of each page on this web site. The
medallion was made from a cookie stamp commissioned
for the wedding. The text on the inside of the inviation
was done in word processing software and used a font called "Classic
Scotland" from Highlander
Software. The invitations were printed on a blue
and white "cloud" cardstock.
They were mailed in opaque envelopes with the same "cloud" motif
so that the design on the front of the invitations could be vaguely
viewed through the envelope.
FRONT OF THE INVITATION
Picture to come...
At some weddings,
only attending guests receive a wedding favor. We want all
of our invited
guests to have something special. Thus, this invitation has
been designed and made by loving hands as a gift to you.
The fabric is Ancient Mackay,
the groom's clan tartan.
Wheat is a traditional sign of
fertility and blessing in North European cultures. The wheat
stalks come from the Minnesota farm where the bride's father
was born and represent our connection to the farming and ranching
heritage of their families in Europe and the USA.
The original handmade papercast design
is of a
Norwegian bridal crown. It is made of 100% cotton
and was cast from a ceramic cookie stamp designed especially
for us on the occasion of their wedding.
We are deeply grateful to Robin
Rycraft and the staff at Rycraft,
Inc., for their artistry and dedicated involvement in this project
and to the bride's cousins for their assistance.
With joyful hearts, we
ask you to be present at our wedding
Saturday, the fifth of June
Nineteen hundred and ninety-nine
Palo Alto, California
|Procession at 12:45 p.m.
St. Mark's Church
600 Colorado Avenue
Service at 1:30 p.m.
3149 Waverley Street
A potluck reception and dance will follow
at St. Mark's Church Parish Hall.
Traditional folk attire and festive dress is encouraged. If you are not able
to join us,
we ask for your prayers and presence in spirit.
We hope our celebration will be made
even more special by your presence at our wedding. Of course, to
mark a wedding day, many people like to give presents as well as
their presence. We would like to offer you an alternative. If you
would like to help us make the world a better place by
directing any wedding-inspired generosity toward one or more of our favorite
charities or organizations, we would be very pleased and grateful.
BREAD FOR THE WORLD
1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000
Silver Spring, MD 20910-5643 USA
Phone: +1.301.608.2400 / Fax: +1.301.608.2401
We are pleased and gratified to report that the generosity
of our guests and those who have enjoyed our wedding via this web
site has raised hundreds of dollars for each of these organizations.
What better gift could any couple have than to know that others have
been helped through the generosity of their wedding guests, virtual
do you create the mood and feel of an old-country wedding in the
middle of modern society? That's a real challenge -- and one that
we found greater than what we expected.
Venues | Flowers | Table
Decorations | Gifts | Helpful
We knew that we wanted our wedding service to be at our
actual church building. We were blessed with a good dance/reception
hall at another church within a 1/2 mile of our own church.
This meant that most of our festivities could be within a 1 mile
radius. Using church facilities also meant that we actually paid
less for hall
rental than you would expect -- and we were allowed to "use" the
hall for the entire time we needed it. We recommend that couples who
want to do the same as we should look for not-so-obvious places where
people can gather for
extended lengths of time and form a "village". These could
Uff da! This one was a pain and a half. We were very
certain that we did not want a typical "wedding flowers" for
our celebration. After all, the old weddings didn't have professional
florists standing by to do it "perfectly." The bride carefully
screened a number of florists to see who was willing to try something
different. In the end, they all came back with "...and we could
make this lovely bouquet out of sweetheart roses, etc." Ugh!
At the brink of giving up and giving in, the bride's housemate and
good friend offered to do the flowers. Both
of them had extensive experiencewith flowers and they both recommended
exactly what the bride wanted, which was the look of bouquets and
that seemed to be plucked from meadows in Norway. So the bride's
housemate did the flowers used in the church ceremony and the other
the arrangements for the reception. The results were wonderful and "free" and
lively. Just what you would want for a folk wedding. Our advice if
you want to get this kind of look for your own wedding? Skip the "professional
get someone who simply loves flowers and has a good eye for arrangements.
One of the simplest and most effective parts of the "ambiance" we
created were the table decorations at our reception. In fact, they
were easy -- and completely carried through the theme we had begun
with our invitation.
Each table was covered by a white plastic tablecloth.
On top of that we put a large square or oblong (depending on the
table shape) piece of cotton Mackay tartan cloth. The edges were simply "frayed",
which added to a country look. In the center of the tartan cloth,
we placeda 3-D metal wedding crown about 6-8" in height. These
crowns had been made for us by a friend who works in a metal shop and
now keeps them to use at other Norwegian weddings. Inside each crown,
we put a tall white "eternal candle" (a tall white candle
encased in glass). We bought these very inexpensively at a local
church supply outfit. Around the bottom outside of the crowns, we
wheat. We placed extra "eternal candles" in all
the windows of the reception hall and around on the serving tables.
also used a few scented candles (lilac) to help create a light Norwegian
garden scent to the area. As the afternoon moved into evening, we
used the candles for our main light, which added to a lovely glow over
evening dancing. We used plastic tableware in colors of blue, green
and white along with clear glasses.After all, the reception was --
-- a potluck picnic, not a formal dinner. The cleanup was much easier
than we expected (and we helped!). We continue to use the
eternal and scented candles we bought for entertaining and emergency
candles in our house. We also
use the Mackay tartan for decorating party tables. Lot of these things
were reusable in our home -- and now we carry memories of our wedding
with us on a regular basis.
More to come...
As at any wedding, food was an important part of the celebration.
We are currently workng on this section and want to acknowledge a debt
of gratitude to one of the Goddesses of the Norwegian-American kitchen,
Astrid Karlsen Scott, for her contributions to our web site efforts.
General | Cakes | Haggifisk | Drinks | Helpful
More to come...
We had two different types of cakes. Our central wedding cake was
a wonderful Chocolate Sour Cream cake confection that was especially
made for us by friends in the folk dance community. (Ironically, the
groom couldn't enjoy it because he's allergic to sour cream - but our
guests loved it, which was the whole point anyway...).
also had two kransekake
- the traditional Norwegian wedding
(and other festive occasions!) cake. We placed one on each side of
our main cake and decorated them with Norwegian flags. We surrounded
the cake with a bed of green leaves and stuck a small bouquet of flowers
in the tops. They looked wonderful! We froze what was left of the kransekake
after the wedding and enjoyed it for our first anniversary. It kept
a lot better than most traditional American wedding cakes!
How do you make kransekake? First, you will need to order the proper
ring forms in which to make the cake. These are available at many Scandiinavian
shops. There are also some bakeries that will make the almond paste
rings and ship them to you so that you can put the cake togther. We
can personally recommend:
Wreath cake can be very temperamental. Even if you
make it in "exactly
the same way" each time you bake it, the results may vary from absolute
perfection to complete failure. It's best to make a couple of "test
cakes" before the big day. If you want to try your hand at
making the cake, we recommend the recipe below from Authentic Norwegian
Cooking by Astrid Karlsen Scott (used with permission):
- 250 g (9 ounces, 6 dl, 2 1/2 cups) finely ground blanched
- 250 g (9 ounces, 6 dl, 2 1/2 cups) finely gound unblanched
- 500 g (18 ounces, 10 dl, 4 1/3 cups) sifted confectioner's
sugar (sift first, then measure)
- 3 eggs
- White Icing made of 2 dl (scant 1 cup) sifted confectioner's
sugar and 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Combine almonds
and confectioner's sugar in a large saucepan. Add the unbeaten egg
white and mix to a firm dough. Place the pan over low heat and knead
until the dough is so hot that it is almost impossible to handle.
Grease the ring pans for a 16-18 ring cake. Spoon the dough into
a cookie press or pastry tube with a wide round tip. Press the dough
into the rings, pressing the ends together to look as seamless as
possible. Bake 12-15 minutes, until dry and firm outside, but still
slightly soft inside.
Cool slightly, then remove from the pans and cool completely. For
the icing, sift the confectioner's sugar and combine with egg white
to make a thick icing. Make a small cone of paper and cut off the
tip. Pipe on garlands of icing and stack. Decorate with flags, bonbons
Additional commentary from our friend,
Gisle Hannemyr, in Norway:
As for the note that it "can be temperamental. Even if we make it
in 'exactly the same way' each time you bake it, the results may
vary from absolute perfection to complete failure." -- I can
After many years of experimenting, the secret of success is
in the storage. You need to bake the cake at least one or two
you plan to serve it. Keep the cake under a cloth in a dark,
slightly damp place (4-6 degrees Centigrade -- a wine cellar
would be perfect).
Take it up to room temperature 1-2 hours before you plan on
serving it. Immediately after being removed from the cellar,
it should have
a consistence close to granite. Don't try to taste it, it will
only break your teeth! Dress the cake with flags, party crackers,
and wait for magic too occur. After 1-2 hours, the rocklike
feel of the cake should have vansihed, and the cake should now
tough ("seig"), offering some resistance to biting without
being dry or hard. If this is how you cake turns out after
temperature, prepare yourself to feast on one of the most exquisite
confectioneries of the world.
From the bride:
Some Scandinavian-American bakeries will tell you that it is "traditional" to
put a bottle of champagne in the kransekake for serving. Don't
believe it. We have yet to see this done in Norway.
It isn't "traditional" at
all. It's just another American ploy to get you to pay an exorbitant
price for a bottle of ho-hum champagne. Spend your dollars elsewhere.
Also, if your order the premade rings, you will need to make
the icing and construct the cake. This takes practice to get
of the icing "just right" and then to try to put
the cake together. I recommend ordering two sets of rings -
one and then making the other.
More to come... We think this event triggered something in our group
of friends. The next wedding featured lutefisk sorbet -- and the less
said about that, the better!
most unique beverage we decided to feature at our wedding was sparkling
mead as made by our friend, Gordon Hull, at his Heidrun
Meadery in Arcata, CA. As the web site explains, "mead is
wine made from honey rather than grapes. It is an ancient beverage
-- predating even the Agricultural Revolution -- and as with all ancient
things it has stories to tell. It has been proclaimed "Nectar of the
Gods", to be sure, but it has also been the staple beverage of the
common man. Heidrun Meadery is concerned with the development of superlative,
sparkling Champagne style mead varietals that reflect the preferences
of our modern palate -- remaining respectful of mead's legacy and drawing
attention to the inherent characteristics of the honey itself. " Besides
all that, mead was a standard beverage of the Vikings - although they
probably didn't have it in "champagne" style. Today,
however, we can enjoy a lighter version. Try Mead Mimosa's for
the perfect touch
to a Scandinavian brunch!