Finland is a place that most Americans don’t know much about.
In many ways, it’s the least-known, least-understood country in Scandinavia.
Despite this, many Finnish marriage customs aren’t as alien as you might think.
For example, just like Italian brides, who collect money in a white silk purse, Finnish brides visit friends’ homes carrying an empty pillowcase, which they are expected to fill with money.
An older, already married gentleman, who represents the idea of a long marriage, traditionally accompanies the Finnish bride.
However, there are some differences in Finnish bridal attire.
Finnish brides wear golden crowns on their heads.
Following the wedding, the bride is blindfolded and all of the single guests form a circle and dance around her.
Eventually, the bride places the crown on the head of one guest.
Finnish tradition states that whoever gets the crown placed on his or her head will the next person to get married.
However, unlike American brides, the bride’s father doesn’t usually give Finnish brides away.
In Finnish tradition, the bride and groom enter the church together and walk down the aisle holding hands or with the bride holding onto the groom’s arm.
At the wedding reception, just as at an American wedding, the new couple sits in a place of honor.
The bride holds out a sieve covered by a silken shawl into which the guests are supposed to place money.
One of the groomsmen then calls out the person’s name and the amount he or she gave.
Sometimes at Finnish weddings, the bride’s mother-in-law, or her godmother will place a plate on top of her head when the newlyweds take their first dance together, which is generally a waltz.
When the plate falls, and breaks, the number of pieces into which it breaks foretells how many children the couple will have.
The final dance at a Finnish wedding is known as the weaning-waltz.
The women at the dance begin dancing with the bride, and the men there begin dancing with the groom.
Everyone dances for a moment with the bride and with the groom.
This ancient custom was originally a test to see if the bride and the groom would forget each other on their wedding day.
Another difference between American and Finnish weddings is that Finnish couples do not mash wedding cake into each others faces at the reception as is often seen at American weddings.
This would be considered a major breach of etiquette in Finland.