Today we had our first wedding 2013. Binyam is a regular at our Friday evening bible study, so it was a joy to play for him. It was a beautiful sunny day and the wedding, in English, went without a hitch, after an extended pause whilst the best man went to find the couple (it was a small wedding and there was no one to marshal everyone into position before the service, so they were waiting in the church sitting room, whilst we were poised for a procession into church). Binyam’s new (only) wife is currently lives in Canada, so domestic arrangements are set to be a bit long-distance for now, but whether they finally settle in Norway or Canada our prayers are with them.
Weddings are quite different in Norway to England or the US. They are now regarded as ‘confidential’, so technically I’m not supposed to name names or show pictures, although it’s OK with Binyam). Invited family and guests mostly seat themselves, and there is no ‘seating of the mothers / grandmothers’. Services are normally quite short and rarely are there more than a couple of bridesmaids and the best man. Four chairs are set at the front of the church and the maid of honour and best man sit there before the service, awaiting the wedding couple: unfortunately the wedding chars in Finnsnes church are rather large, so most people can’t see anything. The ingangs prosesjon is often only the bride and groom, and therefore short. It’s unusual to have the bride’s father walk her down the aisle and ‘transfer’ her to the groom. The exchange of rings is still not widespread (and regarded by many as ‘foreign’). At the end of the service the couple are presented with a bible and everyone shakes hands (there is no ‘you may kiss the bride’ or ‘presentation’ of the new couple), followed by the utgangs prosesjon of the bridal party together.