It is the season to get married – Viking style
A lot has been written and speculated about the people of the North who became known as "Vikings" but rarely do we pause and think about the exceptional bravery, stamina and resourcefulness that fuelled these people. We know about their incredible feat at sea but to think that they faced the incredibly harsh and wild elements of the North and survived to tell that tale is nothing but mindblowing. There was a structure in their existence and when we look at the laws they lived by, one must ask oneself if we have indeed progressed or recessed in the past 1000 years.
Indeed a woman was usually married away by her father or by a brother and her consent was not required. In fact, a marriage was very much a business deal used to ensure loyalty between parties. If she was a maiden, the betrothal had to last for a year where she would stay under the supervision. During that time, she could refuse the marriage but silence was considered to be consent. The reason for the 12 month betrothal was so that both families could be safe in that neither bride nor groom had leprosy.
It was also forbidden by law to marry during the 13 days of Yule, on a Friday evening or on Sundays.
Once the wedding day arrives, the absolute worst thing either the bride or the groom can do is to run away and not turn up. If the groom was to make a run for it, he would be declared an outlaw and forever be known as a Fufóflogi, which translates to „One who flees from the female sex organ”.
Similarly, if the bride doesn´t turn up, she too would be deemed an outlaw and be referred to as a “Flannfluga”, meaning “One who flees from the male sex organ”.
If a couple decided not to get married but still lived together for 20 winters or more, the law would automatically recognise them as married.
Once married, if the bride comes from a family of riches, the groom has three winters to fully prove his worth to her – which included his duty to satisfy her sexually in bed. If he failed to do so, she was within her right to divorce him and he would not receive a penny from her riches.
Similarly, if a man found his wife in bed with another man, he was allowed to kill the man but not the wife. He was however allowed to “return” her to her parents and keep her dowry.
Pride played a big part in a marriage and if either party did something considered to belittle another in public, there were consequences. It was considered extremely embarrassing to a woman if her husband showed his nipples to other women in public and such action would immediately grant her a divorce should she so wish.
When it came to finances, a freewoman was given an allowance of 1 öre which she could spend as she wished without her husbands consent. If she spent more than that, the husband had 24 hours to cancel the purchase and reclaim the money spent.
With those words from the books of law from both Gulatinget in Norway and Gráskinna in Iceland, we celebrate a beautiful photoshoot of a winter wedding at Þjóðveldisbærinn Stöng in Iceland.
Images were taken by Mariana MA @MarianaMA_london
Bride is Samantha Shapley @samantha_portfolio
Groom is Sveinn Hjörtur Guðfinnsson
Sigrún Björk Ólafsdóttir @sigrun_vikingart made the brides clothes and the grooms cape
Hair and Makeup by Lina Hallberg @linahallbergmakeup