A Viking Wedding Speech
In January 2020, I was invited to attend a Viking wedding in Njardarheimr, Viking Valley in Gudvangen, Norway. Njardarheimr is pretty much an open air museum of sorts where an entire Village lives as if the year was still 870 and visitors can learn a vast range of skills from that period. I myself am so fortunate that I am a Freewoman of Njardarheimr and can usually be seen walking around in my full Norse kit during the month of July as a full fledged Viking Market takes place.
The Village is open to visitors all year and as the very loved Chieftain of Njardarheimr, Georg Olafr Reydarsson Hansen, always says "The only people not welcome here are those who make others not feel welcome".
At the start of 2020, the Chieftains Skáld, Adrian Spendlow married his true love, Heidi Sherman, in the Chieftains Hall and after the binding, we celebrated with food, song, dance and laughter in the great hall Heidrun.
I had been deeply honoured to get to be one of the brides dressmaids to make sure her stunning Viking Bridal outfit was as magnificent as she herself on the big day and following that, I performed a speech for the newlyweds.
The speech was one that I had spend a fair bit of time researching by looking into old Viking laws from both Gulatinget in Norway and Gráskinna in Iceland and it is safe to say that there were some pretty fabulous laws in place back in those days.
Sadly, Adrian passed away in December but his widow Heidi (now widowed for a second time), has given me permission to post the speech in its entirety. And it is with a full and a broken heart, in memory of this beautiful union, that I post this.
Chieftain, Norsemen, Norsewomen, Freemen and Freewomen.
My humble gratitude to be honoured to feast with you on this day.
As soon as I heard of the betrothal between the chieftains skáld, Adrian and his love, the freewoman Heidi, we immediatly set sails and went on a hunt of treasures accross the lands on our route here, to our old motherland, Norway.
Our journey took us to the island that many of your brothers, sisters, friends and enemies are currently busy settling and establishing as their Norse republic – Iceland. The trouble we had there was that there was no gold or silver to be had. Instead we found rocks, sheep, new exciting foods, horses and books. After careful consideration for an appropriate gift, we settled on a stack of what has become traditional Laufabrauð – Yule bread as the locals call it and then we decided upon a fitting book and we found this ancient old manuscript that was written by the son of Iceland and grandson of Norway – Leif „the Lucky“ Eriksson. The book is of course none other than an English American dictionary.
Once finished in Iceland, we set our sails to Northumbria where we gathered precious gold and silver coins until we filled an entire chest!
I must say that although this 2 inch chest may not look like much to some of you, it was all the allowance those flying longships in the sky gave us allowance for.
As we made land and rode our 150 horsepowers along the Northway (Which I´m sure most of you will know is what this land of the Gods is now named after) we came accross a Þing called Gulatinget and during that spiritual enlightenment, a few laws of our kin, now in the age of the Vikings, came to light.
In order to help safeguard your lovely binding I thought I should share some of these with you.
Now first I must say that I was very concerned until I heard that Heidi is a widow. Now before you think me coldhearted, let me explain. You see, if our Skáld here was to marry a maiden, that maiden would have had to remain bethroted and under supervision for 12 months. The reason being so that it could be established wether or not either of them had leprecy. Luckily the law makes no such demands when marrying a widow which quite frankly is fair enough as our Skáld isn´t exactly getting any younger!
I also think that the day chosen for this wedding, the 18th day of the month of Mörsugur (fat suckler) is a testament to how well our Skáld knows the law... you see... it is forbidden by law to marry during the 13 days of yule.. or on any Friday evening or any Sunday for that matter... so when I saw the date... I have to tell you..I was stressing! But you squeezed it in just absolutely perfectly! Well done!
I must also say how pleased I am to see that you both turned up and haven´t changed your minds last minute! If for any reason our Skáld was to change his mind, he would be declared an outlaw and forever be known as a Fufóflogi which basically means „One who flees from the female sex organ“.
Simarly, I am pleased to see that Heidi turned up! Just as our poor Skáld would have received a new nickname, so would she if she hadn´t turned up, she too would be deemed an outlaw and be from now known as a Flannfluga – „One who flees from the male sex organ“.
If you hadn´t decided to get married, you could have just stuck with eachother for 20 winters and the law would automatically marry you. But.. as I said before.. you aren´t getting any younger...
There are a couple of rules that I feel that our Skáld should pay special attention to and that is that after you are wed, you will need to prove yourself worthy of your loved one and herriches for 3 winters before you get to touch any of her worldly treasures – and that includes ensuring you satisfy her sexually! Failure to do so will give her the power to return you to the singles hut without as much as wink.
Similarly, if our Skáld is thinking of taking up a new sport... such as our wonderful Glíma then I must warn you that if you expose your nipples to another woman in public, you have brought disgrace upon your wife... and she can return you without fuss.
There are of course some things a woman must be mindful of. As a freewoman and a wife to a freeman, you Heidi, get an allowance of 1 öre that you can use to bargain with without your husbands concent! If you bargain for more than this, our Skáld will have 24 hrs to cancel such bargaining.
It brings us great pleasure to gift you your first öre.
With these words we wish blessings upon your union. May the Norns look kindly upon you both.