15 typical Dutch wedding traditions

Reading Time 6 Minutes

Published On: 12-10-2022Last Updated: 01-12-2022By Categories: Bruiloft, Tips, Tradities0 Comments on 15 typical Dutch wedding traditionsTags: , ,

15 typical Dutch wedding traditions

Reading Time 6 Minutes

A woman holding a tray of fried food in a photobooth during a wedding.

Typical Dutch wedding traditions

Whether you are a purebred Dutchman or a foreigner, you will be surprised how many wedding traditions the Netherlands has. Some traditions we have "borrowed" from other countries and some traditions can only be found in this cold little country.

A woman holding a tray with a dessert on it during a wedding.

1. Bitterballs

Always a success! Together with pieces of cheese, the bowl of these appetisers will survive for a maximum of 10 minutes on the reception or dance floor.

A bridal foot with a coin on it at a Dutch wedding.
A bride wears a lace garter at a Dutch wedding.

2. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence for her shoe.

We see this tradition coming back more and more in the Netherlands and originates from England. Each object has its own superstition.

  • Thus, something old will give protection to the future baby.
  • Giving something new a positive outlook.
  • Another couple's borrowed object gives happiness.
  • The colour blue represents honesty.
  • The English silver coin represents prosperity.
A beautiful wedding invitation, elegantly placed on a leaf in the middle of a serene garden, creating a picturesque setting for the upcoming wedding. The invitation sums up the essence of this joyous occasion:

3. A child's deed

After the adults have signed the tradition is to get the children to sign too. Download a children's deed here. In small children, an impression of the finger is often taken.

A couple in love look at each other in front of a beautiful building during their wedding photography session.
A wedding photography where a bride and groom share a passionate kiss in front of a window.
A bride and groom walking down the aisle with balloons and taking special wedding photos

4. The first look

Or "the first look" After sometimes up to a year of waiting, the bride and groom finally get to see each other. It is always exciting how they react. There are a number of places where the bride and groom will see each other for the first time:

  • The bride's home.
  • The start of the photo shoot.
  • The ceremony
A wedding ceremony in a church with lots of crowds and wedding songs.
A Dutch wedding handkerchief with a handwritten message on it.

5. Giving away the bride

Giving away the bride by the father to the groom is seen as handing over care and protection. Sometimes the fathers say they are not giving the bride away but borrowing it for an unlimited time. "After all, you don't give away something so beautiful, do you?".

White balloons float in the air in front of a Dutch windmill at a joyous wedding.

6. Remembering the deceased

A lovely tradition is the commemoration of deceased people. This often involves parents who can no longer be there, or someone who has meant a lot to both the bride and groom and the families. There are several ways to commemorate a loved one:

  • Post one or more photos during the ceremony.
  • Releasing everyone one balloon at a time.
  • Light a candle during the ceremony.
A Dutch couple throw pigeons in front of a church during their wedding.

7. Releasing pigeons

Releasing white doves represents honesty and giving freedom. This is often gift given by parents.

A man in a blue suit prepares a bottle of wine for a Dutch wedding.
A man in a blue suit holds a bouquet at a Dutch wedding.

8. Champagne sabring

When sabring champagne, the cork and the top of the bottle are knocked off by a sabre. Because of the pressure on the bottle, every bit of glass is blown away. The top can travel far, so do not aim at people. When the champagne is poured, a toast is customary.

A Dutch wedding where a bride and groom feed each other their wedding cake.

9. The first bite

After cutting the first piece of the wedding cake the tradition is for the bride and groom to feed each other a piece of wedding cake.

Description: A three-tiered wedding cake with flowers on top.
A wedding cake wedding cake on the table.
Description: A wedding cake with flowers on top of a wooden board.

10. Saving the top wedding cake layer

Before catering the wedding cake out, you can choose to keep the top layer. The tradition is to keep it in the freezer for one year to eat it when the bride and groom have been married for 1 year.

A man gives a speech at a Dutch wedding to a crowd of people.

11. Speeches

Speeches are often given at Dutch weddings. this is a time to tell everyone what is so special about the bride and groom. In a speech hear what someone has been through in both good times and not so good times.

A bride and bride share their first dance at a Dutch wedding.

12. A. b. c.

In an A. B. C., people go down the alphabet and for each letter a word is made up that suits the bride and groom such as: A stands for Altime because the bride and groom stay together forever.

A tip for an A. B. C. is that it has to be quick otherwise it gets boring. For example, hand out the letters to all the guests so that everyone is involved.

A bride and bride at a Dutch wedding with a DJ.

13. shoe game

The shoe game involves asking questions to the bride and groom while they both have a shoe from each other. For example, questions are asked "Who can cook best?". In which the bride and groom choose either themselves or the other.

Shoe game questions:

  • Who says "sorry" the most?
  • Who said "I love you first"?
  • Who is the most thoughtful?
  • Who spends more money on themselves?
  • Who remembers important dates?
  • Who dresses better?
  • Who is quicker to be jealous?
  • Who snores more?
  • Who can drive a car better?
  • Who has had more accidents?
  • Who is more artistic?
  • Who sleeps faster?
Dutch bride and groom dancing at a party.
A bride and groom dance at an outdoor wedding venue in Rotterdam's Het Koetshuis.

14. Opening dance

The opening dance is often the moment when the evening guests see the bride and groom for the first time. The entrance and dance is also the beginning of the wedding party. Without a opening dance the party will be less likely to get going, which is why it is a good idea to do one. It doesn't have to be long or complicated as long as the bride and groom are the first on the dance floor.

In addition to the first dance, the second dance is often given to the parents of the bride and groom.

A bride and groom walking along a path in a garden, capturing the essence of special wedding photography.

15. Throwing the bridal bouquet

Who it bridal bouquet captures will, according to superstition, be the next woman to get married. Sometimes the girls jump to the bouquet and sometimes they just jump away. Their boyfriend's reaction can also vary a lot. This makes it an incredibly fun moment. Would you rather keep the bouquet yourself? Then throw some flowers of decorations or have a mini bouquet made.

There are many more Dutch wedding traditions. Do you know any that are not included here? Let us know in the comments below.

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About the Author: Justin Manders

As wedding photographer Since 2013, I have had the privilege of constantly seeing the most beautiful sides of people. My role is to observe and direct people and moments so that they are remembered in the most enjoyable way. I am always open to a good conversation, so don't hesitate to contact me.

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