To note of importance is that some traditional customs are still observed in Icelandic weddings. A couple may cohabit without being married officially, in other words an informal arrangement. The stigma is not common in Iceland given that some couples have been in relationships for decades only to formalize it through a wedding later.
In the ancient traditions, wedding ceremonies would begin over a number of days in relation to wealth and status. The preffered is that the wedding should start a day before with toasts to the couple, poems and et cetera just to mention but a few. Deals between friends and enemies are made in such feasts.
In the modern settings the duration has been reduced to between 30-45 minutes and the day placed on a Sunday. The invitations to the weddings are usually sent by the couple themselves although in the spirit of solidarity and togetherness, their parents send out an invitation that is joint owing to custom. When it comes to the sitting arrangement, the men sit on the groom’s side whereas the women sit on the side of the bride. Together with his father at the altar, they greet all who enter with a curt bow.
The artist preferably one with a choir is at liberty to play three to five songs as the bride walks doen the aisle with her village of brides’ maids and dressed in her finest regalia. On declaration that the couple has become man and wife, the bride goes back to her seat and the bride’s father and the groom swap their seats. The couple then walks down the aisle followed closely by their fathers taking their wives in hand. According to the seating arrangement, guests file out with those seated at the front commencing. As the guests procede to the reception area the couple take an hour or so for photo sessions as their guests settle down. Gifts are put on a designated table for the couple upon which they will be opened on the next day.
Most couples make the reception an all evening affair. The reception commences with a toast to the couple then a couple of speeches follow. There after there is cake cutting which the bride and groom undertake jointly. After the cake and coffee servings, the bride and groom open the dance floor with a dance, traditionally, the bridal waltz. Their parents and next of kin may join in then smoothly the other guests join.
As the ceremony almost gets to an end there is something that the bride must do. The bride throws a bouquet of flowers over her shoulder to celibate women who have assembled. Superstition has it that the one who catches it will be the next to walk down the aisle. For the unmarried men, worry not, the groom throws the bride’s garter. The same is true for the men. That whoever catches may be fortunate to be the one to walk the aisle next.
Traditionally before the wedding ended, the bridesmaids would usher the bride to her bridal bed, undress her, leaving her with just her bridal headdress.