(Closed) Michigan or Dutch wedding traditions?

posted 8 years ago in Michigan – Northern Michigan
Post # 3
979 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

Any dance music with AC DC in would probably be a Michigan tradtion.  See if they Polka, they might “roll out the barrel”.  What else is the tradition I’ve done lots of chicken dances.  The electric shuffle.  The dollar dance.  Other than that any wedding I’ve been too in MI has been pretty simple.

Post # 4
98 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

Part of my family is Dutch (and also from Michigan), so I did a little research on wedding traditions. Here’s what I found out:

The families of the Dutch bride and groom host a party before the day of the wedding vows. Before the ceremony, the bridesmaids would fill the bride’s basket with green garlands and flowers as well as decorate the groom’s pipe with garlands and ribbons. The bride’s house was painted green and the families would host a party where the couple would sit on a throne beneath pine trees as their guests came to bless them and wish them happiness.

Dutch wedding receptions are famous for serving heavy foods. Two traditional items served at a marriage celebration in Holland are sweetmeats called, “bridal sugar” and spiced wine known as “bride’s tears.”

After a Dutch wedding, newlyweds in Holland might plant lilies-of-the-valley around their house. This tradition symbolizes “the return of happiness” and the couple can then celebrate and renew their love with each blooming season.

A wonderful Dutch custom that can be substituted for the guest book is to create a wedding “wish tree.” At the reception a beautiful tree branch is placed next to the bride and groom’s table, and paper leaves attached to pieces of colorful ribbon are placed at each guest’s place setting. Guests write their special wish for the happy couple on their leaves, which the bride and groom can then read and hang on the tree.

During the ceremony, the bride and groom walk on a bed of flowers to the altar and flowers are tossed at them as they depart. Instead of tossing her bouquet, the bride would give out her crown, and whoever got it was the next to be married. 

We’re actually incorporating the wish tree into our reception, in lieu of a guest book. We aren’t placing it near our table, but near the entrance to the reception. I’m also incorporating lily of the valley and tulips into my bouquet as a nod to my wooden shoe-clad roots!

Post # 6
439 posts
Helper bee

I ditto the dollar dance and the polka.  Every MI wedding I have ever been to has had both.

Post # 7
268 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

The only tradition I’ve seen that is still practiced when you google dutch wedding traditions is the wishing tree.  Here’s some interesting tidbits about modern dutch weddings:

One practice that is done a lot is the bride and groom arriving to the stadhuis together.  The bride usually gets ready at her parents house (where there is usually refreshments for the wedding party which normally consists of parent, grandparents, witnesses and their partners) and the groom comes in the wedding car and picks her up.  The wedding party is then transported to the stadhuis where all the guests wait for the arrival of the bridal couple.

The wedding party and a lot of times all the guests get a special “corsage/boutineer” to show they’re part of the wedding.  It’s very common that the parents, witnesses, grandparents, and masters of ceremony each get a different type of arrangement to show their role in the wedding.

Normally dutch weddings don’t have a bridal party like we do in American weddings.  There is a witness for the bride and for the groom.  If they like they can each have 2 witnesses for a total of 4 witnesses.  The other very important role is the Master of Ceremony.  They are heavily involved in the planning of the wedding since they are the “go to” person on the day of.  They also usually deal with late RSVPs and questions.  Along with the witnesses they help arrange the stag/hen parties.

The couple almost always has some sort of special transport to the ceremony location.  Be it a classic car (we’re doing a 1928 rolls), horse and buggy, bike, or a wedding cow (I found it while searching for trouwautos, don’t ask).

There are also 2 “weddings” if a couple wants to be married in church.  By law, every couple has to have a civil marriage before a religious ceremony as a religious ceremony isn’t a legal marriage.  Most dutch couples, if they even bother getting married (they can simply get a partnership contract without the ceremony) just do the civil ceremony at the stadhuis.

The reception is very different from an American reception.  Usually the ceremony is followed by a 2-3 hour “reception” where some appatizers (bitterballen and other heavy, greasy finger foods) are served or cake is served.  After 2-3 hours the wedding party slips off for dinner.  Everyone being invited for dinner is more of an exception than a rule and it is considered pratical and not rude or tacky.

Receptions are usually filled with speeches from the parents about their children’s lives growing up and the relationship between the couple from the time they started dating to the marriage.  Wedding guests also like making sketches, songs and poems about the wedding couple (this is outlawed at our wedding LOL).

Gifts are also dealt in a very different way than in the US.  When guests receive an invite to the wedding there is usually a little sticker or icon indicating if the couple wants an actual present or an “envelope” of money.  This is also considered very pratical and not tacky or rude.

I can’t really think of anything else right now.  😉

Post # 8
6 posts
  • Wedding: December 2008


We just did a wedding last month where the bride was Danish.  One really cool element of their wedding was this cake (picture attached).  It’s a traditional Danish wedding cake which is very fun, unique and will certainly surprise your fiance and your guests 🙂


Post # 9
7975 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I’m dutch (by ethnic heritage) and from Michigan, and I’ve never seen the dollar dance or polka at a wedding! Actually, I haven’t really seen any of this stuff at weddings.

The weddings I’ve been to in Michigan have all been religious, so lots of hymn singing, haha.

Have you asked your FI’s mom about traditions their family may be expecting? She would be a great resource for specific traditions!

Post # 11
245 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Im from Michigan and I don’t like the dollar dance, it takes up SOOOO much time, especially if there are a lot of guests.  The polka is true, unfortunately, it is at a lot of weddings.  I guess I don’t know what kind of traditions there are here.  

I think a really cool idea is to use Michigan treats, like Faygo pop, Tigers peanuts, Better Maid chips, Zingermanns browines (or bread or ANYTHING!), Jiffy mix, etc

Post # 12
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I am planning on a wishing tree, too!  I love the tradition and I think it so elegant and meaningful.  Our little twist will be to try to create a something that looks like a cross between a large bonsai and a cherry tree (our wedding theme is Japanese Cherry Blossoms).  Our guests will write their wishes on paper cherry blossoms :).

The topic ‘Michigan or Dutch wedding traditions?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors