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Dutch Wedding Etiquette - A Wedding Day in the Netherlands

Updated on June 4, 2011

After done with an official engagement (see Dutch Wedding Etiquette- the Engagement), here comes the wedding day!

Dutch Wedding day is commonly splitted into several sessions in a day, and they tend to invite different groups of people to attend different sessions.


Reception is the start of the wedding day, where mostly extended family, friends, colleagues and/ or neighbors of the marrying couple are invited.

This session is relatively short, can last from 30 minutes to an hour before the registration ceremony takes place. You can expect drinks, nuts, olives and small finger food (i.e. hapjes in Dutch) to be available there.

Registration Ceremony

The Registration Ceremony is the legal procedure taken care by the civil servant who owns the legal right to host a marriage ceremony. Before the ceremony, the marrying couple would have already met the civil servant once to give him their own 'love story', and then the civil servant would tell the story during the ceremony.

Traditionally, this ceremony can only take place in town halls and churches in the Netherlands. Today, you can choose to have the ceremony in approved churches, restaurants or even outdoor venues.

Typically, guests who are invited to the reception would also be invited to witness the ceremony.

Depends on the arrangement of the wedding, you are expected to congratulate and give out your prepared gift to the couple either in the reception before or after the ceremony.


In most occasions, only closed family and friends are invited to wedding dinner. However, it also depends on the scale that the marrying couples preferred of course. There are many options available in the Netherlands for wedding dinner. From walking dinner (buffet), 4-7 course dinner, barbeque to boat trip dinner, you name it. Yet it’s bit tricky to arrange outdoor dinner since that depends heavily on the weather, which tend to be grey and wet in the Netherlands.


Some weddings they combine dinner and after-dinner party together, while some keep them separate and invite a bigger group of audience to their after-dinner wedding party. It's quite popular to have live bands or DJs to entertain during the party. You might already be able to imagine that it's not quite handy for guests who are only invited to ceremony and after-dinner party as they got several hours of time-gap in-between.

Gift Expectation

Invitation cards would also give you the clue on expected gifts. Nowadays it's popular to use online gift lists, which is managed by the bridesmaid or friends of the marrying couple. If you see an envelope sign next to gift ideas on the invitation, that means that the couple expects cash or cash coupons. Do not mistaken it as 'emailing' them!

I hope the above can give you a brief idea on what to expect in a Dutch wedding day!

Read Invitation Card Carefully

In times when you receive wedding invitations, read carefully to see which session(s) you are invited to. Most of the time if there are special dress code, it would also be mentioned on the invitation.

What's the Wedding Day Etiquette in Your Culture?

Wedding etiquette is almost unique in every country and cultural groups. Please share with us your wedding etiquette or interesting stuff on your own wedding day!

Starting sharing by writing in Hubpages.


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    • Moxyl profile image

      Moxyl 7 years ago from Global Village

      Hello Money Glitch and Elayne! Thanks for reading my hub and the congrats!

      As a matter of fact we're planning a very small but intimate wedding :)

      The Netherlands is a small country but full of its unique funky culture :) Not everybody appreciates it but it's highly recommended to have a taste of the culture yourself.

    • elayne001 profile image

      Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

      Interesting wedding culture in the Netherlands. My son has traveled there a few times and enjoyed it. Congratulations on your nomination and good luck.

    • Money Glitch profile image

      Money Glitch 7 years ago from Texas

      A wedding in the Netherlands sounds romantic and exciting. Personally, I prefer smaller weddings. Thanks for sharing and congrats on being selected as for this week's HubNugget Wannabes contest. Good luck to you and Welcome to HubPages btw. :)

    • Moxyl profile image

      Moxyl 7 years ago from Global Village

      Hello Travel_man and Ipeoney, thanks for reading my hub and the congrats!

      Ipeoney, I hope it's useful for you sister as well then :)

    • Ipeoney profile image

      Ipeoney 7 years ago from USA

      Good information. My sister lives in The Netherlands. Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 7 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      What a hub on wedding day! Congratulations Moxyl on your Hubnugget nomination!

    • Moxyl profile image

      Moxyl 7 years ago from Global Village

      Thanks for visiting my hubs :)

      Cagsil, thanks - and you never know if you'd be invited to a Dutch wedding :)

      Ripplemaker, thanks for the congrats! And thanks for the link as well :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      A wedding in Netherlands.... hmmmmm....let me think about that one! LOL

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Yes, what a better way to celebrate Halloween with a wedding celebration! To view the Hubnuggets, please follow me:

    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 7 years ago from USA or America

      An interesting hub. Then again, I've never been married either, so a Wedding Day has happened yet for me. Nicely written hub. Thank you for sharing. :)