Planning a wedding in a country that isn’t the United States proved to be an interesting challenge.

Thankfully, my husband did a lot of the verbal and written work, negotiating the church, minister, ceremony, organist, and reception via email and phone.

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My perfect bouquet, crafted by my mother.

My mother is a professional wedding planner in Texas, where the wedding business is something like a billion dollar industry with lawyers and contracts and a lot of crying. When you have a wedding, you have any number of vendors working for you for a premium, and they all have different needs, and you have to sign a lot of papers that say you will or won’t do this or that, or you will be out by such-and-such time, or you have two hours to set up and not one second more.

As I found out along the way, Norway is a completely different story. The reception venue, the church, the photographer (all of which were wonderful, by the way) — we didn’t sign a contract for any of these. Some emails went back and forth, some phone calls happened, and that was it. We had a church. We had an organist and a church servant and a minister. We had a reception venue with a plated steak dinner, and hey, they even threw in some floral decor for no additional cost. Not only that, but even though we told them we wanted to be done by 7:30pm, they told us we could stay as long as we wanted and they would keep the bar open for our guests. They profit, we hang out longer, everyone wins.

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The Slagen Kirke altar area

There were challenges of course, as I mentioned. The area where I was particularly baffled was the terminology. I couldn’t find a central, all-inclusive etiquette guide for Norwegian weddings anywhere. In the United States, I’m pretty sure any Barnes & Noble Bookstore is going to have an entire section dedicated to wedding planning, including volumes of worksheets and fill-it-in planners. The internet abounds with guides for American weddings. All I wanted was to know what people usually put in the program, and what all that stuff is called in Norwegian.

Perhaps (or perhaps not), then, my calling is to make such a site. There are websites that have a few venues listed in this or that town, and a review or two, and some slightly blurry photos, and some kind of skewed budget estimator, but that was all I could find. Norwegian wedding program templates were definitely hiding somewhere as yet uncovered. There also exists a forum site where Norwegian brides can ask questions and get help, but I didn’t find it particularly insightful for my personal needs.

Maybe a series of posts is in order, detailing how to plan a wedding in Norway. Maybe not. Regardless, it was so beautiful, and involved far less money and crying than planning a wedding in the United States.

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