Juliana Wiklund and Swedish Weddings Traditions

19 February 2013

The birds are singing; it’s February, the month of love; and Spring is around the corner — do you, too, feel the love in the air? I was recently visiting with Stockholm based photographer,Juliana Wiklund.


I think these wedding photos represent something so very Swedish; and also magically captured the lightness of love, the spirit of the day and the joy in the air. How DO you do that, Juliana?…  I wish I had known her back when we were married, but, thankfully, I’ve been able to have the joy of her capturing our family through the years! Today, I’m so happy: Juliana accepted my proposal to come by and to share some of her photography with you and her experience with Swedish weddings, too.


Read an interview with Juliana and 10 Swedish wedding traditions below.


All photos courtesy of Juliana Wiklund.
10 Tidbits about Swedish Weddings:

1. An average Swedish wedding is typically 50 people

2. An average Swedish wedding will have about 30 toasts.

3. Crown: Un-common these days, but earlier, the tradition was that the bride would wear a garland of myrtle leaves on her head (the symbol for innocence) and her traditional Swedish wedding folk costume. Each region has it’s own folk costume.

4. There’s an old Swedish wedding tradition that says that the bride should carry coins in her shoes: One silver coin in her left shoe from her father and one gold coin in her right from her mother. These are to ensure that “she will never go without.”

5. Swedish wedding ceremonies usually take place in the afternoon.

6. The wedding couple normally walk themselves down the aisle together.  It’s uncommon for the father of the bride gives her away and walk her down the aisle.

7. August is the month with the most weddings but, May – September are popular, too. These earlier Spring months were more popular earlier and coincided with a National Holiday; but, recently this holiday was removed and it has affected the popularity of Spring weddings.

8. Wedding receptions are typically a 3 course meal and immediately follow the ceremony. The toast master is alerted ahead of time of who would like to raise a toast and will prepare a schedule for the night. Did you read earlier an average of 30 speeches are given: yes: 30. The Swedish reputation for being reserved does not exist on this occasion. Speeches are abundant, thoroughly planned and an integral part of the night.

9. The tradition to toss the bouquet of flowers is not a tradition here, but there is a tradition for women to rush to kiss the groom any time the bride leaves the reception!

10 The wedding should be an “upplevelse;” which loosely translated is to have or do; create an experience. A wedding should be an event. I’ve heard of wedding themes as varied as sky diving, camping in tents for a scavenger hunt type wedding to weddings in traditional locations, such as the local church.

Excerpt of interview with Juliana Wiklund*: Swedish Weddings:
This is what Juliana had to share about her experience here in Sweden:
When I think about weddings in Sweden, I think about love, simplicity and intimacy. A big wedding would be about 100 guests, but most of the weddings I shoot have around 50 guests. 50 guests that really love the couple, that are there sharing their special day because they think the couple is special. Most couples even tell their guests NOT to bring any gifts, they want it to be all about being together and sharing a special moment. So my photography has evolved in all those last 15 years I’ve been working as a wedding photographer to being all about love, simplicity and intimacy.
And it’s all about giving the couples something else to remember on their wedding day. My highest hopes is that they will not remember the pictures but what they did while I was taking the pictures. Every picture will be a reminder of a beautiful moment spent together. A laugh will not only be a laugh, but the reminder of the amazing thing they told each other which led to that laugh.
I guess you’ve gotten my point. And Swedes are so good in really living up to a moment, that they even have a special word to that: UPPLEVELSE. It’s a noun and also a verb, and it means you should “do” what you want to feel. Imagining it doesn’t even get close to the deal.
Swedes are “upplevelse”-junkies and so have I proudly become one , too.  From a wedding in the Swedish Archipelago in the bride’s childhood countryside home to a ceremony in the Opera House followed by a magnificent dinner in the Museum of Modern Art, all of them are about bounding and sharing moments together. A Swedish reception dinner can have up to 30 speeches where guests tell their stories with the couple that are worth remembering.
*There’s much more to say about this creative Brazilian photographer. I will share more of this soon.
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