Frequently asked questions about the Independence Day reception

Who is invited to the Independence Day reception? Who can be taken as a ‘plus-one’? What is the dress code for the reception? What about medals and decorations? Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about the reception.

When do guests arrive at the reception? Should I bring the invitation card?

  • The time marked on the invitation card indicates the estimated handshake time.
  • The outside doors open for the first guests at around 6.30 pm.
  • Guests must present the invitation card and photo ID.
  • Gifts cannot, unfortunately, be brought to the Presidential Palace.
  • There is no parking at the Presidential Palace.

Who is invited to the Independence Day reception?

  • The Independence Day reception is an event hosted by the President of the Republic and his spouse, who decide each year on the invited guests.
  • Finnish war veterans and members of the Lotta Svärd women’s auxiliary corps are among the invited guests. Traditionally, members of the Government, Members of Parliament, Finnish Members of the European Parliament, bishops, academics, senior civil servants and the members of diplomatic corps accredited to Finland are also invited.
  • Also among the guests are Finns who have distinguished themselves in some way or another and persons whom the Presidential couple have met in the course of the year.
  • Invited guests are over 18 years old.

Who can be taken as a ‘plus-one’?

  • The invitation is always personal, even for the spouse. The invitation must show the name of both the main guest and the spouse for entry to be granted.
  • If you have received an invitation and you have a spouse but their name does not appear on the invitation, please contact the Office of the President of the Republic.
  • An invited guest may bring an assistant, if necessary. This has to be agreed separately with the Office of the President of the Republic. An assistant also needs an invitation card.

What is the dress code for the reception? What about medals and decorations?

  • The dress code for the reception is formal, that is, long evening dress, national costume, white tie and tails, dark suit or uniform corresponding to formal dress, including Lotta Svärd uniform. A tuxedo is not worn at the Independence Day reception.
  • Original-size medals or decorations or miniature versions may be worn with formal attire. In a dark suit and national costume, men may only wear original decorations. Women may, however, wear miniature decorations. The national costume ‘helavyö’ knife may not be worn in the Presidential Palace.
  • It is recommended that Finnish decorations be worn. For more detailed instructions on the wearing of medals and decorations, see A Guide to the Orders and Decorations of Finland and the website of the Chancery of the Orders of the White Rose of Finland and the Lion of Finland.

What do I say at the handshake? Whose hand do I shake first?

  • When shaking hands with the Presidential couple, guests are only expected to present themselves by saying their first and last names, without any other greetings or words. Guests may decide for themselves the order of handshaking the Presidential couple.
  • Heralds and cadets will provide advice and assistance to guests during the reception. Heralds are identified by their blue and white sashes.
  • Serving begins when the first guests have shaken hands with the Presidential couple. Savoury and sweet snacks are served.

Can I take photos at the Palace?

  • Photography is allowed, but please take the other guests into consideration as well as the distinguished nature of the reception. Photography in the handshake queue is not permitted, for example.
  • For safety reasons, photography is not permitted from the Hall of State and Atrium galleries because of the risk that devices may fall.