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A Sami Wedding - or Lapp Wedding - Is a Colourful Experience

Colourful wedding

In a Sami wedding - or Lapp wedding - both the bride and groom wear traditional Lapp costumes. In the Lapp language it’s called a “gakti”. Both the groom and the bride wear different kinds of decorations. Because of of all the colours, a Sami wedding also can mean that you can get some unusual wedding pictures.
Sami wedding
Lapp wedding kiss
In a Sami wedding the bride wears different scarves in layers. Silver brooches cover the bride’s chest party, with up to 15-20 small and big brooches.
The bride wears a bridal crown. Attached to the crown is a row of long, coloured silk ribbons.
Above photos: Olav E. Johansen/Ossimellom

Read more about Sami silver and Sami jewellery (or Lapp silver and Lapp jewellery.

The groom wears a white silk scarf, that is laid in a cross fashion across the chest. An old myth connected to the Sami wedding says that the scarf crossed to symbolise that 'the groom is ready to take on the cross'.

In a winter Sami wedding both the bride and groom often wear decorated traditional pants made of reindeer fur ('galssot' in Sami) and traditional footwear made of reindeer skin.

The Bridal Procession

The bridal procession of the Lapp wedding is an old tradition - especially in Karasjok in Norwegian Lapland. The participants of the procession consist most often of unmarried boys and girls (couples) and the bride and groom themselves. The bride and groom are the fourth couple of the procession. Young couples in bridal procession of Sami wedding The groom mate and the bridesmaid follow them. Finally there are other couples who are invited to the celebration. The first three couples of the procession are chosen by the bride and groom.

All the couples go hand in hand. The procession often starts from the home of the bride or the groom. Often the procession ends at the church. After the ceremony in the church, the new procession ends at the place of the wedding reception.

Photo: Olav E. Johansen/Ossimellom

Big event

A traditional Sami wedding is a big event in a small society. It's not unusual to have 600-700 guests at the reception. The biggest ones at Kautokeino are reported to have had up to 2000 guests.

Free Sami Wedding Photography Tips

If you plan a little before coming, and during your stay in Lapland, you may be among the lucky ones who "stumble" across a Sami wedding. Here are some simple Sami wedding picture tips.

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Lapp costume
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