Viking wedding traditions were complex. Marriage was the heart of family structure in Viking culture, hence the intricate nature of Viking wedding rituals. Planning a wedding was so time consuming it begs the question, how do Vikings get married? Like, who had that much time on their hands? Each tradition and ritual was deemed necessary to earn the blessings of the gods, an important step on the path to becoming a parent, and continuing the Viking bloodline.
Marriage offered stability, serving as a way to control sexual activity and reproduction in the community. A culture with a negative historical reputation for its treatment of women actually worked quite hard to ensure relative gender equality and fair treatment of and respect for women and female sexuality. This list explores many Viking marriage rituals, ranging from weird to romantic.
1. Even When Vikings Married for Love, the Process Was Carefully Considered
For Vikings, marriage wasn’t just a union of the couple, but of families. Because of this, the wedding was a long process. Unions had long-lasting legal implications in Norse culture, affecting everything from familiar property holdings to inheritance. Therefore, numerous negotiations were carried out before the terms of a marriage were formally agreed upon.
At the start of marriage negotiations, the groom’s family, along with legal delegates got together to determine the bride’s dowry, the groom’s financial assets, set the date of the wedding, and negotiate the wedding gift from the groom’s parents. They groom’s family, counsel, and any important local figures to whom they had connections brought proposals to the bride’s family, promising to support and assist them, while agreeing upon mutually beneficial terms for the marriage.