Saturday in Stockholm: Love Is In the Air



Each and every Saturday all year long, SIXTY couples get married in the Oval Room at City Hall. That’s 60 different sets of plans and dreams! That’s 120 people! They apply several months in advance for one of the coveted five-minute slots for a civil ceremony. Couples are told to arrive 15 minutes before their time slot. They spend the time either alone together, or with a few friends and family members.


No doubt most people have checked out the venue ahead of tiime, but the city thoughtfully provides a helpful sign.


A young woman with a clipboard stands at the door of the wedding room, keeping things moving.


As many as many as fifteen people can fit into the room where civic officiants wait. But many couples choose to enter by themselves. I always cry at weddings, even when I don’t know the people.  Here they are, off together on the journey of the rest of their lives.

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I was touched to see this older couple emerge, duly married, but each escorting an aged mother.  If the rest of Stockholm were not waiting to be seen, I could have watched this scene all afternoon, from noon to 6 pm when it’s over for the week.


There’s joy all around.


Considering the bloated wedding industry in the USA, this Swedish tradition is refreshing. Instead of spending many thousands of dollars trying to have the “perfect” wedding and reception, these folks choose to get the job done simply.  Many of them go off with a few friends and family to a nice restaurant meal, and that’s it.


Of course people still get married in churches, too.  Or they get married in nice hotels and restaurants, with charming details like the little soap-bubble bottle shown above. That’s a pair of white doves perched on top, in case you were wondering.


The soap-bubble bottles were given to guests waiting outside a restaurant, later in the day, to cheer a happy couple when they emerged.


The City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in Stockholm, right on the waterfront.  I’m hoping to see the inside today.

I love the tradition of short and sweet weddings. I’ve been married for many years–long enough to remember when a pretty nice wedding consisted of a church ceremony followed by cake and punch in the church parlor. But if I were planning a wedding, I’d get on the City Hall list.  They do say that they have cancellations.  So another tactic would be to wait for the next opening!  Either way, I wish all the couples years of happiness.


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