On August 25th, Elisabeth and Rune Dalseth celebrated their wedding with a unique ceremony that recreated a Viking wedding for the first time in nearly a millennium.
The couple exchanged their vows next to a picturesque Norwegian lake, in a setting that captured the essence of a traditional Viking wedding.
Organizing the event required a great deal of preparation, as most of the elements had to be made from scratch.
They painstakingly crafted two longboats, sought out a pagan priest to perform the blood offerings (taken from a pig, which was later consumed as part of the feast), created their own traditional attire, and searched for a knowledgeable gothi to bless their union and conduct the required rituals.
Rather than relying on modern technology and Spotify playlists, the couple and their guests sang and danced to live music that their Viking ancestors would have enjoyed over a thousand years ago. Hunting horns were blown to signal the gathering of witnesses for the holy matrimony.
The call of hunting horns echoed across the landscape, announcing to all that it was time to gather and bear witness to the holy matrimony of Elisabeth and Rune. This ancient and evocative sound added to the overall atmosphere of the Viking wedding, conjuring images of a time when such horns were used not just for hunting, but also for communication and celebration.
It may come as a surprise that neither Elisabeth nor Rune was born or raised as pagans. In fact, it was Rune who had joined a pagan revivalist movement two years prior and had subsequently introduced Elisabeth to the culture.
Over time, she too became enamored with the world of the Vikings and began to embrace their customs and way of life. Their shared passion for Viking heritage was a key factor in their decision to recreate a traditional Viking wedding, and their commitment to honoring this rich cultural legacy was evident in every aspect of the ceremony.
Viking revivalists like Rune were motivated by a desire to combat the negative stereotypes that had become associated with Viking culture, particularly with regard to issues like rape, violence, and war. Rune believes that Vikings were no more savage than any other group of people from that era and that they possessed a deep reverence for nature, the land, and animal life. By highlighting these aspects of Viking culture, he hoped to promote a more nuanced understanding of their way of life.
During the wedding ceremony, the gothi – or pagan priest – held a branch of dried rose in one hand as he chanted blessings to officially sanction the union. This was a key moment in the ceremony and one that connected the couple to the ancient traditions and rituals of their Viking forebears. By incorporating these time-honored practices into their own modern wedding, Elisabeth and Rune were able to create a powerful sense of continuity and heritage.
As part of the ceremony, the gothi used blood sacrifice on his face and then handed a sword to the couple, which they held together to symbolize harmonization and unification. This ritual is a powerful representation of the sacred bond between the participants in Viking culture.
Before the ceremony, many people, including Rune’s mother, were uncertain about how the wedding would turn out. Some were worried that it would not adhere to Christian traditions. However, as the ceremony unfolded, people began to feel the love and energy that emanated from the couple.
Rune’s mother eventually came to accept and appreciate her son’s choice to embrace paganism. As Rune noted, it had helped him to find happiness and stability in his life.
The celebration continued after the wedding with a traditional Viking game called Brullaup, which involved a race between two families that had been united through marriage. This lighthearted activity helped to reinforce the sense of unity and joy that permeated the entire event.
Since their wedding, Elisabeth and Rune have expanded their family to include a 6-month-old baby named Ragnar. They also adopted a dog, who has become a beloved member of their Viking family. The couple continues to embrace their pagan beliefs and incorporate them into their daily lives.
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