I’ll start 🙂
I am Dutch and I guess we’re having a pretty traditional Dutch wedding. We start early in the morning (around 9 I guess), getting ready, then we will have our photo shoot with the photographer while the day guests have lunch at home.
We will have four big parts of the day:
– Ceremony (about 60 people)
– Reception (about 150-200 people)
– Dinner (about 60 people)
– Party (about 150 people)
We usually make a clear distinction between day guests and evening guests, although some people might only come for the reception. The day guests are distinguished by boutonnieres, both for men and women. Men wear their boutonniere with the flowers up, women with the flowers down. I don’t know if this is the same every where.
Most people have a bit like a stag/hen party like in the UK, with lots of drinking and fun and the bride and groom have to dress up in a funny outfit. Simple showers with a high tea are becoming more popular though (which is what I would prefer)
We personally don’t have a venue yet but these are some typical traditional Dutch venues we have looked at:
It has now become more common to have your wedding at one venue for the entire day, on a location such as above, an old mansion or castle. <br /><br />
However, many people still have a small ceremony at city hall. Most city halls are really beautiful here in the Netherlands, albeit a bit dark at times (hard to photograph), but often are very historical buildings and beautiful:
Ceremonies usually last between 30-45 minutes and the most common way is to just say ‘YES’ and not ‘I DO’. We also don’t repeat long vows, just a simple ‘YES’ suffices. It is more common to write your own vows though or read a letter, but only if you have a longer ceremony planned. We don’t have bridesmaids or best men, but we do have two to four witnesses. After the bridal couple has said yes, they place the rings on each others fingers, and then they sign the official papers. The witnesses also sign the papers. That is the end of the ceremony.
After the ceremony it is often time for cake (traditional wedding cake) and champagne. After that we have a reception and then dinnner and then a huge party. Most people still like big parties, although of course that is up to personal preference.
Speeches during dinner are not very common, although it does happen, usually by the father of the bride.
During the party it is quite common for fraternaties/sororities or other groups of friends/colleagues/family etc perform a little act to make fun of the bridal couple/bride/groom. If you don’t want this, it is wise to add this to the invitation or inform the master of ceremonies, who is pretty much the wedding planner, but usually a sibling or friend.
It is very uncommon to have an actual wedding registry at a store, although some stores now offer it. Most people just receive money in an enveloppe (whether they display a little enveloppe sign on the invitation or not, and I want to leave out the discussion whether that is appropriate or not because it can also be culturally determined), but most people just bring fun gifts (find a way to give the money in a fun way).
OH and some fun language tips! 🙂
English – Dutch
Wedding – Bruiloft
Bride – Bruid
Groom – Bruidegom
Let’s get married – Laten we gaan trouwen
Marriage – Huwelijk
I do – Ja, ik wil
Honeymoon – Huwelijksreis
Hope you’ve enjoyed my cultural share! 🙂 If you’re Dutch and wish to contribute, feel free to do so. It would be great if other European brides could also fill out the vocab list and share some of their traditions, pics included! 🙂
Some typical Dutch wedding pics 🙂