How to Plan a Medieval or Renaissance Wedding

Traditional medieval and Renaissance elements can be incorporated into almost any wedding celebration. Plan a wedding that's historically accurate in every aspect, or simply include a few of the following suggestions for a more subtle period effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Renaissance Outfits
  • Period Costumes
  • Bridal Bouquets
  • Candleholders
  • Pillar Candles
  • Taper Candles
  • Wax Seals
  • Wooden Candleholders
  • Wooden Thin Wood Dowels
  • Rice
  • Poesy Rings
  • Renaissance Music
  • Internet Access
  • Heraldic Banners
  • Parchment Envelopes
  • Calligraphic Computer Fonts Software

Instructions

    • 1

      Choose period costumes for the bride, groom and wedding party. See "How to Dress for a Medieval or Renaissance Wedding" in the Related eHows for ideas and information.

    • 2

      Send wedding invitations printed in calligraphy-style fonts with elaborate borders. Use parchment paper, fold the invitations in thirds and close them with a wax seal. Enclose each invitation in a parchment envelope.

    • 3

      Find a church or hall that has a medieval or Gothic look. Look for cathedrals and historic chapels with dark wood adornment and stained glass. Look for wood and stone accents when choosing a hall.

    • 4

      Consider having the wedding at a Renaissance faire or medieval dinner theater. Both have special packages for theme weddings.

    • 5

      Decorate the hall or wedding site with heraldic banners hung from wooden dowels. These banners can display the bride's and groom's family crests or heraldic images found in heraldry books or on the Internet.

    • 6

      Buy or rent large wooden and wrought-iron candleholders to add atmosphere to the church or wedding site. Decorate the site with wheat or orange blossoms to symbolize fertility, and ivy and white flowers, such as lilies, to symbolize fidelity and love. These items can also be included in the bridal bouquet.

    • 7

      Exchange wedding vows outside the church door, as was done at medieval and Renaissance church weddings. The wedding party can then move into the church for the blessing of the union or a wedding mass.

    • 8

      Hire musicians who play medieval or Renaissance music. Harpists and madrigal groups can also add an elegant touch to your wedding. If musicians are not available, arrange for medieval or Renaissance CDs and tapes.

    • 9

      Exchange poesy rings along with the wedding vows. Poesy rings have short phrases such as "You and No Other" inscribed on the outside. They were used in the 14th and 15th centuries.

    • 10

      Have a small cake (pancake-sized) made for each guest. The guests stack the cakes as high as possible in front of the bride and groom, then the couple tries to share a kiss over the top of the stack for good luck.

    • 11

      Work with the caterer to provide foods that would have been served at a medieval banquet. Roasted meats, along with meat, cheese and vegetable-filled pastries, were commonly served. Look in medieval and Renaissance cookbooks for ideas.

    • 12

      Incorporate the bouquet and garter toss, and the throwing of rice, into a medieval or Renaissance wedding. The bouquet and garter were traditionally thrown to keep rowdy well-wishers from following the newlyweds on their wedding night. Bread crumbs, later rice, were thrown for good luck.

Tips & Warnings

  • Let the guests know that the wedding will have a theme. Make sure that the invitations go out in plenty of time for the guests to plan their own costumes.
  • Have the wedding outdoors instead of in a church or hall. Look for secluded, wooded areas. Set up a period-style tent or pavilion. Decorate the tent as you would a hall or church.
  • Do some research into the symbolism of flowers and herbs. Incorporate any that you like into the decorations and bouquets.
  • Look in local wedding guides for information on appropriate halls, seamstresses and musicians. Search under "Weddings" in the yellow pages, as well.
  • Explore the Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Ring and the League of Renaissance Merchants Web Ring. These Web rings will lead you to hundreds of commercial and personal Internet sites that deal with medieval and Renaissance weddings, customs, music, costumes, food, accessories and more.
  • Check to make sure that any deviation from the usual wedding ceremony is all right with the person performing the ceremony.
  • Search the Internet under "poesy rings" or "posy rings" for merchants that offer this style of ring. The wording is your choice and can be written in whatever language you want.
  • Research any medieval or Renaissance customs incorporated into the wedding. Create a keepsake booklet for your guests that describes the history and meaning of these customs.
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