All pictures: weddingomania.com
Some may think that if you don't have your wedding at a church, your only other option is a short and dry a few minute ceremony.
In reality you have a lot of options on what you can do at a civil ceremony in Finland.
We went to see the person who'll be marrying us yesterday and as I found the meeting really useful, I figured I'd share some ideas here.
Who can officiate the ceremony
In Finland there are only two places with authority to officiate a wedding. Naimisiin.infoYou can find them here: https://dvv.fi/en/individuals and the district court, the one in Helsinki can be found here: https://oikeus.fi/karajaoikeudet/helsinginkarajaoikeus/en/index.html
I personally recommend the district court, I've heard people having better experiences with them and our experience has been great.
The person officiating can wear a cloak or a dark suit. If they ask, you may also suggest something else. Ours will wear a light colored outfit as I think it's more suitable for a summer wedding.
Venue for the ceremony
This is where you can get creative. It can be outdoors or indoors. In nature in Lapland, on a boat, at a beach, on an island, at a rooftop terrace.. Just remember that if it's a public beach or an island, there's always a chance that someone sunbathing can't read the situation and you have a picture from the ceremony with a random person in bikinis on the background :D HSS Paviljong, has a huge terrace to the sea where we want to have the ceremony. There's also an upstairs area where we can have the ceremony should it rain.
Even if you're having the ceremony outdoors, you can still decorate with beautiful chairs, a wedding arch, flowers and in some cases you can even put a red carpet to walk down on. Of course, in some cases the view is better without too many decorations. For me it's important that the guests have chairs to sit on but this isn't mandatory for short ceremonies.
Contents of the ceremony
If you have music, chairs, wedding arch and so on, you can have a pretty traditional wedding no matter where you have it while still having the freedom to change any detail you like.
On the other hand, you can also choose to do something completely different like go dip in a lake after the ceremony. However, the outfits have to be suitable for that. Large and heavy wedding dresses can cause a danger of drowning if they get wet.
The official part is short so you might want to think if you'd like to add something to it. There can be speeches, vows, poem reading, musical performance or something else. In Finland the official text of the ceremony doesn't have an "you may kiss" part so remember to ask for that, if you want it to be included. We definitely did, otherwise I think we'd just stand there staring at each other awkwardly not knowing if we're done or what :D
After the ceremony
This is also a good time to have someone read a poem or perform a musical number. You can do something totally different too. Sing a song together with all the guests or leave the ceremony dancing, if you'd like. Make sure that the guest known they have the option to not partake, as I wrote on my previous postas some people can feel uncomfortable with singing, dancing or whatever else you can think of...
Finally a list of things to discuss when you meet your officiator (I'm not sure if that's the correct word but internet failed me so I took a guess :D )
1. Contents of the ceremony
Tell them whether you want them to give a speech, if you want vows, a poem or something else. The official part is short and can be read in parts, so you can add a poem or vows in the middle, if you'd like. If you have guests coming in from other countries you can ask to have it in English, I don't know what the chances are for languages other than Finnish, Swedish and English.
Vihkikaava on tässä:
”Avioliiton tarkoituksena on perheen perustaminen siihen kuuluvien yhteiseksi parhaaksi ja yhteiskunnan säilymiseksi. Avioliitto on tarkoitettu pysyväksi, jotta perheen jäsenet voisivat yhdessä luoda onnellisen kodin. Näiden todistajien läsnä ollessa kysyn Teiltä [nimi]: Tahdotteko ottaa tämän [nimi] aviopuolisoksenne rakastaaksenne häntä myötä- ja vastoinkäymisissä? Vastaus: Tahdon. Näiden todistajien läsnä ollessa kysyn Teiltä [nimi]: Tahdotteko ottaa tämän [nimi] aviopuolisoksenne rakastaaksenne häntä myötä- ja vastoinkäymisissä? Vastaus: Tahdon. Vastattuanne näin kumpikin kohdaltanne myöntävästi Teille tehtyyn kysymykseen, totean Teidät aviopuolisoiksi. Ottakaa liittonne merkiksi sormus puolisoltanne. (Tämä lause jätetään pois, jos sormusta ei anneta.) Teidät on nyt vihitty avioliittoon. Puolisoina olette keskenänne yhdenvertaiset. Osoittakaa avioliitossa toinen toisillenne rakkautta ja keskinäistä luottamusta sekä toimikaa yhdessä perheen hyväksi.”
2. Certificate of non-impediment
Bring this and your id with you. If you don't have this yet, you can give it at the ceremony but then you have to remember to bring your ids.
Tell who you want as your witnesses and remember to remind them to bring their ids to the wedding. If they forget, any guest with an id can serve as a witness.
4. When you'd like them to arrive and how will they get there
You'll be charged for any travel expenses but if they need to pay something with cash, for example, it's good for them to know beforehand.
5. Wedding certificate
You can choose if you want it in Finnish, Swedish or English. I've heard that people have been asked for that at some honeymoon locations abroad, so we decided to get ours in English.
6. Last names
This can also be seen from the certificate of non-impediment. For us we're both keeping our own names.
If they ask, you can wish for something in your theme colors, for example. At least through the district court there's a cloak and a dark suit option, I suppose it's up to the person in question if they're open for other options.
I hope you found this post helpful!