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This is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the

planning of medieval and Renaissance theme weddings. Questions

(and answers) in this FAQ were originally obtained from readers

of the following newsgroups: alt.fairs.renaissance,,,, and

The information in this FAQ was compiled and edited by

Barbara J. Kuehl and is, by no means, a final product. All

comments and corrections should be emailed to

(c) The Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ is

copyrighted by the owner of the FAQ. This document may be

freely redistributed without modification provided that the

copyright notice is not removed. It may not be sold for profit

or incorporated in commercial documents without the written

permission of the holder.

The Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ is not meant

to be a scholarly treatise on marriage and feasting customs

throughout the medieval and renaissance periods. Rather, it is

a compilation of suggestions from persons who have attempted

to recreate the ambience of such an event using resources

available to them today. In some cases, the items and/or foods

used may not be historically accurate. The compiler of this

FAQ leaves it up to the user to determine the degree of

historical authenticity appropriate for his or her own theme


The Medieval & Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ is posted on

the 15th of each month to ONE of six newsgroups on a rotating

basis. These six newsgroups are the five mentioned above plus

soc.history.medieval. An announcement of the posting will be

sent to each newsgroup which is not serving as the FAQ site

during that given month. This announcement will guide

interested persons to the newsgroup from which they may obtain

the FAQ. This FAQ will also be posted on the 1st of each month

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posting and archiving FAQ lists.

The Medieval & Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ is also housed

and/or linked at the following locations:

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Acknowledgements: Many people helped with this FAQ by

contributing their ideas and stories. All verbatim

contributions are prefaced whenever possible by the email

address of the original writer. Others have contributed by

sharing their research or by reviewing versions of the FAQ.

These people include:

Adrienne Anne Dandy []

Beth Barter []

Jaelle of Armida [ (Judy Gerjuoy)]

Kirsti Thomas []

Trystan L. Bass []

Topics covered:

Section 1: Questions regarding Ceremonies, Traditions, and


1.1: We would like to be married in a medieval-style wedding

and want to make it as real as possible, but we don't even

know where to start. What were weddings like during the

Middle Ages?

1.2: Weddings are filled with 'traditions' such as the tossing

of the bouquet, the garter toss, the bride wearing white

dress and veil, the lighting of the unity candle, the

exchange of wedding rings, etc. Just how far back do

these 'traditions' really go? Do any of them stem from

medieval or renaissance times?

1.3: Do the garter and bouquet tosses really date back to

medieval times?

1.4: What is the story behind the wedding rhyme:

"Something old, something new,

Something borrowed, something blue,

And a lucky sixpence for your shoe."

1.5: I'm not pagan but my boyfriend is, and he asked me if I'd

like to take part in a Handfasting with him. I know the

basics of it ...366 days of a trial marriage sort of thing

and, at the end of the 366 days, there is a choice of

continuing the relationship or ending it. Is handfasting

legally binding? What exactly is done and in what order?

1.6: I'm getting married next September, and we plan to have a

handfasting. I'm trying to gather ideas for the ceremony,

decorations, etc. and would love to hear from anyone who

has planned or attended a handfasting.

1.7: My best friend is planning a medieval peasant's wedding

and I am in charge of locating appropriate wedding vows.

Are there any websites that have samples of medieval vows

or could someone please recommend some books?

1.8: Bibliography of Medieval & Renaissance Marriage Practices

compiled by Kirsti Thomas

Section 2: Questions regarding Invitations and Announcements

2.1: We're using a medieval theme for our wedding. How can we

adapt that look for our invitations?

2.2: Anybody have any creative ideas for wording an invitation

in keeping with the medieval style of the wedding?

2.3: I'm thinking of rolling up my invitation (but how would you

mail that cheaply!). Any suggestions??!!

2.4: We bought metallic gold wax and two stamps to seal our

invitations but can't for the life of us figure out how to

use them! Any hints/suggestions out there would be greatly


2.5: My fiance and I will be making our own invitations and

would like to use a wax seal on the outside of the

envelope. I was wondering if anyone ran into problems with

the post office, like wax getting stuck in postal machines

or anything like that?

2.6: How about thank you cards? Any ideas for how we can make

our thank you cards look medieval in style?

Section 3: Questions regarding Attire

3.1: Those who were married in a medieval-style ceremony, what

did your wedding party and guests wear?

3.2: Any ideas on how I can encourage my guests to dress in

period clothing, too?

3.3: HELP! My fiance wants a medieval-style wedding but I

don't know the first thing about that time period, much

less about the clothes they wore.

3.4: My wife is desperately in need of a source of patterns for

medieval/Renaissance wedding clothing for the bride, groom,

and all of the wedding party. Where can we get such


3.5: I can't sew on a button. Where can I buy medieval


3.6: Does anybody know of a catalog which offers readymade but

affordable period clothes? I can't possibly sew for


3.7: Does anyone know of good Web sites regarding medieval


3.8: My fiance has informed me that he hates tuxes and would

prefer to get married in a robe rather like the ones worn

by Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. Anyone have a

clue where I would find such a beast?

3.9: Does anyone know where I could get a velvet cape? I am

thinking about an evening wedding and an off the shoulder

gown, and I get cold easily (Plus I just love them!!).

Section 4: Questions regarding Flowers, Bouquets and Headpieces

4.1: What flowers can I use in my bouquet to go along with the

medieval theme of my clothing?

4.2: Does anyone know (or can anyone point me to a resource

for) the meanings of different flowers in a bouquet?

4.3: I've found a wonderful company to make our "costumes", but

I'm not sure what to wear for a "veil". I know veils are

traditional nowadays, but our medieval wedding is anything

but. Could I wear flowers in my hair instead of a veil?

4.4: I would like to use a garland of ivy as a headpiece, as it

is symbolic of good luck and all. I have an ivy plant,

and I wonder if just cutting off a long extension of the

plant and forming it into a circle would work. Any advice?

4.5: Help! I am allergic to flowers and I cannot figure out

how to replace them in my wedding. I am having a medieval

theme. Are there any suggestions?

Section 5: Questions regarding the Reception

5.1: Can you give me some ideas of where we might hold our

medieval wedding reception?

5.2: Is it possible to have a wedding at a renaissance faire?

5.3: I've been asked to decorate the reception hall for a

friend of mine having a medieval style wedding. Does

anyone know of any herbs/plants/assorted greenery that

would be appropriate? I would appreciate any ideas as to

how to decorate this hall.

5.4: Can you recommend any activities, besides dancing, for our


5.5 If you have an interesting idea for favors for my medieval

wedding reception, please tell me!

Section 6: Questions regarding the Feast

6.1: What kinds of foods did people serve at wedding feasts

during the Middle Ages?

6.2: Sallat (salad), tarts, potage (soup), custard, poultry,

suckling pig and spicy mulled wine sound great! But

pigeon pies, eels, boar's head, and roast peacock with

the feathers put back on! I don't think my guests would

go for this, so let me rephrase that question. What kinds

of foods could I serve that would have the "feel" of a

medieval banquet but would still be edible by my modernday


6.3: Does anyone have any information about the menu at places

like Medieval Times (where the knights fight while you have

dinner)? I know they do wedding receptions.

6.4: How about drinks? What kinds of beverages did people drink

during the Middle Ages?

6.5: It's expected in our family to have a wedding cake.

Any ideas of how we could incorporate a wedding cake into

the menu and still keep the medieval ambience?

6.6: We have our menu all worked out but need some ideas about

how to decorate the banquet hall and serve the food and

drink in keeping with the medieval theme. Any suggestions?

6.7: Can you recommend any books or websites where I can get

recipes for some of the medieval dishes (and maybe others)

mentioned above?

6.8: Bibliography of Medieval Cookbooks compiled by Jaelle of


Section 7: Questions regarding Music

7.1: My fiance and I love period music. Any ideas for how we

could do the music for our medieval/renaissance wedding?

Also, what kinds of instruments are considered period?

7.2: Where can I find musicians who play medieval music?

7.3: I am looking for good quality CDs for my Wedding. I need

suggestions for both Dancing and Ceremony music. It need

not be for any specific period - but would like it to have

a medieval flavor. All suggestion are great appreciated.

Section 8: A list of Movies with a Medieval or Renaissance


8.1: How about including a list of well-costumed, atmospheric

movies that people could rent to see what a particular

period might be like? If a picture is worth a thousand

words, a moving picture is worth ten thousand!

Section 9: A list of Catalogs and Websites

Section 10: Bibliography of Medieval and Renaissance Cookbooks

Section 11: Bibliography of Historical Figures


1.1: We would like to be married in a medieval-style wedding

and want to make it as real as possible, but we don't even

know where to start. What were weddings like during the

Middle Ages?

From: Susan Carroll-Clark <>

So long as the couple made the vows before a witness, the

marriage was valid--no priest had to be present (although this

is increasingly not the case after the 13th century).


From: Kirsti Thomas <>

Weddings during the Middle Ages were considered family/community

affairs. The only thing needed to create a marriage was for

both partners to state their consent to take one another as

spouses. Witnesses were not always necessary, nor was the

presence of the clergy. In Italy, for example, the marriage was

divided into three parts. The first portion consisted of the

families of the groom and bride drawing up the papers. The

bride didn't have to even be there for that. The second, the

betrothal, was legally binding and may or may not have involved

consummation. At this celebration, the couple exchanged gifts

(a ring, a piece of fruit, etc.), clasped hands and exchanged a

kiss. The "vows" could be a simple as, "Will you marry me?" "I

will." The third part of the wedding, which could occur several

years after the betrothal, was the removal of the bride to the

groom's home. The role of the clergy at a medieval wedding was

simply to bless the couple. It wasn't official church policy

until the council of Trent in the 15th century that a third

party [c.f. a priest], as opposed to the couple themselves, was

responsible for performing the wedding. In the later medieval

period, the wedding ceremony moved from the house of the bride

to the church. It began with a procession to the church from

the bride's house. Vows were exchanged outside the church (BTW,

the priest gave the bride to the groom...I don't think she was

presented by her father) and then everyone moved inside for

Mass. After Mass, the procession went back to the bride's house

for a feast. Musicians accompanied the procession.


From: Susan Carroll-Clark <>

A word on historical English weddings. Traditionally, in front

of the church door, the groom would, in front of witnesses,

announce his bride's dower--that portion (usually 1/3) of his

holdings she would be allowed to use should he die before she

did (she could also inherit land and property, but this was a

different thing). They would then go in for the solemnization

of vows (very short) and the nuptial mass.



I remember reading Chaucer [d.1400] in High School (the Wife of

Bath's Tale). Part of the text (and this is the Wife speaking)

says "husbands at church door I have had five". Due to the need

to ensure that everyone knew beyond a doubt that the couple were

married, weddings would take place outside the church (at the

door) rather than inside where only a few people could view it.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

For much of Western history, marriage was an exchange of

property, i.e. the woman was being given by her father to her

husband. The union of property & money & lineage were what was

being celebrated --- not so much the union of two lovers. Hence,

"real" medieval & Renaissance wedding ceremonies were simple

legal unions, sanctioned by the Church, and done with as many

important people as possible to witness it. "Real" ceremonies

of the time were not terribly intricate in Western Europe & the

UK, so I think it would be much more interesting, charming, and

enjoyable to make up your own medieval-ish or Renaissance-esque

wedding ceremony.


1.2: Weddings are filled with 'traditions' such as the tossing

of the bouquet, the garter toss, the bride wearing white

dress and veil, the lighting of the unity candle, the

exchange of wedding rings, etc. Just how far back do these

'traditions' really go? Do any of them stem from medieval

or renaissance times?

From: ()

I was looking through the August/September issue of Modern

Bride, and they had a little sidebar called Wedding Customs.

"Many of today's wedding customs have evolved from the days of

ancient Rome, when evil spirits were believed to lurk about and

pose threats to the bride and groom...Bridesmaids dressed

similarly to the bride, and ushers' attire resembled the

groom's. This was an attempt to confuse the spirits...If [they]

could not tell the bride and groom apart from the attendants,

they would not be able to carry out their plans. The wedding

ring: The early Eqyptians...believed that a circle was the

symbol of eternity--a sign that life, happiness, and love have

no beginning and no end. A wedding ring was placed on the third

finger of the left hand because it was believed that a vein ran

directly from that finger to the heart. The wedding cake:

Intended as a symbol of fertility...To ensure a life of plenty,

the Romans broke a thin layer of cake over the bride's head at

the end of the ceremony. Crumbs were then gathered by guests as

good luck tokens."


From Barbara Kuehl (

This is from

The expression "tie the knot" comes from Roman times when the

bride wore a girdle that was tied in knots which the groom had

the fun of untying. Diamond engagement rings were given by

medieval Italians, because of their belief that the diamond was

created from the flames of love. Ancient Spartan soldiers were

the first to hold stag parties. The groom would feast with his

male friends on the night before the wedding. There he would say

goodbye to the carefree days of bachelorhood and swear continued

allegiance to his comrades. Bridal showers were also meant to

strengthen the friendships between the bride and her friends,

give her moral support, and help her prepare for her marriage.

The idea to give gifts is fairly new, dating from the 1890's. At

one shower, the bride's friend placed small gifts inside a

japanese parasol, and then opened it over the bride's head so

all of the presents would "shower" over her. When word of this

hit the fashion pages, people were so charmed, they decided to

do the same at their showers. The bridal party has many

origins, one of which comes from the Anglo Saxon days. When the

groom was about to capture his bride, he needed the help of his

friends, the "bridesmen" or "brideknights". They would make sure

the bride got to the church and to the groom's house afterwards.

The bride also had women to help her, the "bridesmaids" or

"brideswomen". The white wedding dress was made popular by Anne

of Brittany in 1499. Before that, a woman just wore her best

dress. In biblical days, blue (not white) represented purity,

and the bride and groom would wear a blue band around the bottom

of their wedding attire, hence something blue. It is unknown

when wedding rings were first worn. They were probably made of a

strong metal, like iron so that it wouldn't break easily which

would have been a very bad omen. The ancient Romans believed

that the vein in the third finger ran directly to the heart, so

wearing the ring on that finger joined the couples hearts and

destiny. Weddings just wouldn't be complete without fertility

symbols, like the wedding cake. Ancient Romans would bake a cake

made of wheat or barley and break it over the bride's head as a

symbol of her fertility. It became tradition to pile up several

small cakes, one on top of the other, as high as they could, and

the bride and groom would kiss over the tower and try not to

knock it down. If they were successful, it meant a lifetime of

prosperity. During the reign of King Charles II of England, it

became customary to turn this cake into an enjoyably edible

palace, iced with white sugar. Tying shoes to the bumper of the

car represents the symbolism and power of shoes in ancient

times. Egyptians would exchange sandals when they exchanged

goods, so when the father of the bride gave his daughter to the

groom, he would also give the brides sandals to show that she

now belonged to the groom. In Anglo Saxon times, the groom would

tap the heel of the bride's shoe to show his authority over her.

In later times, people would throw shoes at the couple, and now

we just tie shoes to their car. (This information is from the

book "A Natural History of Love," by Diane Ackerman)


1.3: Do the garter and bouquet tosses really date back to

medieval times?

From: (Jeanne Hinds)

THe garter toss is one of the oldest surviving wedding

traditions. Back in medieval times, it was customary for

friends, relatives, guests to accompany the bridal couple to the

marriage bed. As time went on, this became rowdier and rowdier

to the point that some guests were all too eager to help the

bride out of her wedding clothes. To forestall such

impropriety, the garters were quickly removed and thrown to the

mob as a distraction. As time went on, it has evolved into the

tradition we now know.


From: (Shawna Rosen)

The wedding guests would follow the couple back to their room,

and try to grab the bride's garter for good luck. Brides

starting tossing their garter to the crowd as a means of self

preservation! As society changed it became inappropriate to

throw part of your underwear, and the bouquet was substituted.

Sometime this century, the garter toss was added back in as a

means of equalizing the tradition. Women could catch the

bouquet and men could catch the garter. Why the groom can't

throw part of his own costume is beyond me.


From: Mary Jane Nather <>

The sources I read indicated that in the past anything of a

bride's was lucky--gloves, flowers, garters, etc. It was said

that a man who gave his love the garter of a bride would be

guaranteed faithfulness. The guests were so eager to get the

garter, often the bride would be accosted at the altar by men

who stole it from her. Smart brides began having men compete

for the garter--usually a foot or horse race. Also, many would

give out small colored ribbons called "favours" to guests as an

attempt to avoid being turned upside down by men eager for their

garter. I've also read that the guests would sit at the end of

the bed with their backs to the bride and groom. Men would

throw the bride's stocking over their shoulder and try to hit

her nose, while women would do the same for the groom. Those

with good aim were the next to be married. Sound like a fun

wedding night?


From: (FKindle) (Fred)

I have been photographing some weddings recently where the bride

& groom both toss the bouquet & garter at the same time.... It

works out great! It's faster, the catch is better when it's a

surprise to the guys & ladies of who the other person is that

caught it...This works best when you stand back to back and each

throw at the same time. I only hope that you're either both

righty or lefty to avoid a collision... TRY IT.


1.4: What is the story behind the wedding rhyme:

"Something old, something new,

Something borrowed, something blue,

And a lucky sixpence for your shoe."

From: (Carolyn Boselli)

According to my Bartlett's, it's from the late 19th century,

authorship unknown.


From: "'Riff' Beth Marie Mc Curdy" <>

The following is from Oxford's -A Dictionary of Superstitions-

(p.42-43): "Something old, something new, something borrowed,

something blue" was quoted in a 1883 newspaper and ascribed to

"some Lancashire friends." Something old tradition- no pre-20th

century citations. The editors point out a possible link to the

belief that "something old" will protect a baby, first cited at

1659. No citations for "something new." Something borrowed-

same 1883 paper (one issue earlier) "it is widely accounted

'lucky' to wear something...which has already been worn by a

happy bride at her wedding." Something blue- Wearing blue to

express faithfulness traced back as far as a 1390 citation from

Chaucer's "Squire's Tale." -Sixpence- appears twice, as "silver

sixpence" and "lucky sixpence" (the third line scans with a

more staccato rhythym than the first two.). There's 1774 record

of a Scottish groom using a sixpence in his shoe to ward off

evil from his rival, and an 1814 (Scottish again) citation that

the bride "wear a piece of silver in one of her shoes" to ward

evil from disappointed suitors. There are also 20th century

citations to the bride's walking on a gold coin to produce

prosperity. For your curiousity, pre-1650 wedding superstitions

included: 1549 the lifting over the threshhold; 1601 sun seen

shining on the bride = good fortune; 1648 garters passed on to

groomsmen and bridesmaids; 1604 bride's left stocking thrown (as

modern bouquet); 1615 premature marriage producing premature

death; 1592 unmarried elder sisters dancing barefoot at wedding

party; 1634 one wedding brings another; stepping between couple

unlucky (or even caused by the devil).


1.5: I'm not pagan but my boyfriend is, and he asked me if I'd

like to take part in a Handfasting with him. I know the

basics of it ...366 days of a trial marriage sort of thing

and, at the end of the 366 days, there is a choice of

continuing the relationship or ending it. Is handfasting

legally binding? What exactly is done and in what order?

From: "'Jherek' W. Swanger" <>

Handfasting refers to the old practice of trial marriages for a

year and a day, supposedly prevalent in Scotland, Wales and

Ireland. I've never actually run across other references to

this other than Sir Walter Scott (19th cent.).


From: (Raven (J. Singleton))

"When we are handfasted, as we term it, we are man and wife

for a year and a day; that space gone by, each may choose

another mate, or, at their pleasure, may call the priest

to marry them for life; and this we call handfasting."

-- Sir Walter Scott, _The Monastery_ (1820), ch. 25.


From: (Tien-Yee Chiu)

The old way in Great Britain for couples to pledge their

betrothal was for them to join hands, his right to her right,

his left to her left, so from above they looked like an infinity

symbol. Done in front of witnesses, this made them officially

"married" for a year and a day, following which they could renew

permanently or for another year and a day. This was called

"handfasting" and was used extensively in the rural areas where

priests and ministers didn't go all that often. Sharing a cup

and pledging their betrothal in front of witnesses used to

accomplish the same thing (usually done in taverns) but was

eventually outlawed in most of Europe. In fact, the reference I

got that from mentioned only Switzerland because they were one

of the last to stop recognizing it as a legal marriage.


From: (Raven (J. Singleton))

"This custom of handfasting actually prevailed in the upland

days. It arose partly from the want of priests. While the

convents subsisted, monks were detached on regular circuits

through the wilder districts, to marry those who had lived

in this species of connexion."

-- Andrew Lang, note in his edition of _The Monastery_


From: Kirsti Thomas <>

This type of marriage survived in Scottish law until the 20th



From: (Raven (J. Singleton))

Handfasting remained legal in Scotland until 1939. Common-law

marriage in general is still legally recognized in several of

the United States: AL, CO, GA, IA, ID, KS, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC,

TX, UT, and even in DC (This list as of 1987, from the current

World Almanac & Book of Facts). Generally, this just takes both

of you saying that you ARE man and wife, and conducting

yourselves accordingly. No particular ceremony needed. This

allows a man and woman in a deserted place with no-one else

around to marry -- and later have it be found legitimate, legal

and binding.(However, I am *NOT* a lawyer. Look up the rules

for your *OWN* state.)


From: (Mylitta73)

According to common law of Scotland...a handfasting is a ritual

commonly used hundreds of years ago as a trial marriage. The

time limit of a year and a day was considered, though not

required. As such, if you are handfasted, you would be married

under those laws. However, based on the laws here in the states

you would still be considered just engaged. So, if you decide

to go through the would be a chance for the two

of you to make your vows without all the hassles of the state's

approval. One quick the past, if a baby was born

because of the union, the two would be immediately married by a

priest. If one of you, either the husband or the wife, decided

against such an arrangement, then the person who leaves the

marriage loses all rights to the child.



Handfasting is not a "legal" binding agreement between two

people unless that is what the couple wishes. As a nonlegal

binding agreement the period of "commitment" is one year and a

day, after which the vows can either be renewed, the couple

become LEGALLY married, or go separate ways.


From: (reive)

Handfasting is a MODERN pagan tradition that is, in part,

derived from traditional medieval/renaissance wedding practices.


From: cm369@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (D. Sabrina Baskey)

Handfasting nowadays is a neopagan wedding ceremony, the

equivalent of a Judeo-Christian marriage ceremony, uniting two

people in love. The essential elements are thanking the

gods/Goddess for bringing this love into their lives; feeding

each other and giving each other a drink (to show their

commitment to caring for the other); and jumping over a broom.

The cutting of the wedding cake usually includes feeding each

other a small portion, and you can make a toast to each other

and drink out of the other's cup. The only element that would

seem out of place in a Christian wedding is the broom.

Depending on the tolerance of your guests and your desire to

include this, you could do it as part of your reception, with

some little explanation. Or you could do what I plan to do,

which is place a broom at the end of the "aisle", so that we can

jump it at the end of the recessional. We plan to get married

in a garden, so I don't have to worry about who might disapprove

of me placing a broom in it, but this probably wouldn't work too

well at a church wedding.


From: (Lanfear)

We tied in several period wedding customs as part of our

ceremony. One is to kiss three times while saying "I love thee"

after each kiss, and another is for the couple to jump over a

crossed broom and sword (held by the best man and the maid of

honor). The symbolizes the cutting of ties to their parents and

the ties being swept away.


From: (Mystic)

I am sorry to point this out to you but Jumping over a broom

originated in the days of slavery. Paganism was around a whole

lot longer than that!


1.6: I'm getting married next September, and we plan to have a

handfasting. I'm trying to gather ideas for the ceremony,

decorations, etc. and would love to hear from anyone who has

planned or attended a handfasting.

From: Cinnamon Minx <>

We're going to do it outside, in traditional Scottish attire

(kilts and all! Whoopee! Love the legs, honey!) and we're

planning to have Celtic music and some Scottish food. We don't

have all the details worked out yet, but once we decided how to

go, it started to evolve from there.


From: (Goosie)

We might opt for an outdoor civil ceremony with a celtic style

reception <music, food, entertainment...I'd love to have some

bardic performers>. During the vows, we could have our friend

<and most likely our best man> bind our hands with a white

ribbon explaining the tradition to our guests.


From: (Amypamy)

We held our ceremony outside. Our minister was incredible; she

had a voice that carried, and announced to all: "Hear Ye, Hear

Ye! The Wedding Ceremony is about to begin!" We wanted our

guests to be participants, not spectators, so we had the

officiant gather them in a circle around an arch in front of

which we were to stand. Mark walked in first, with his two

attendants walking side by side ahead of him. Then my

attendants walked in, also side by side, then my father and me

until we reached his chair, at which point we kissed, and I left

him there to walk towards Mark on my own. Mark held a sword in

his hand, and as I approached, we held the sword together, and

planted it in the ground. That was our "altar". The officiant

said a greeting, which gave meaning to the circle (enclosing the

spirit, etc.). She then poured a libation as offering to those

who couldn't be with us (i.e., my mother has passed away). We

then had two of the attendants come up and pass a cloth about

our clasped hands - we grabbed each other's right with our

right, etc., so the symbol formed was that of "infinity". The

cloth was just a white cloth with a stylized Celtic knot sewn

on. We stood that way while the officiant read our consents, we

repeated said vows, read some things, etc. Our hands were

unbound by the other attendants, and then we did a ring

exchange. After the ring exchange, we had the pronouncement,

and we walked out together while his best man grabbed the sword.

Altogether, I'd say the ceremony itself lasted about 15 minutes.


From: (Laura Mitchell)

We wrote our own vows and included a lot of symbolism about the

'circle of life', an important aspect to us. See our ceremony



From: "'Jherek' W. Swanger" <>

I believe that part of the Orthodox Wedding Rite involves the

ceremonial binding of the couple's hands together.


From: (Morgan ap Rhys)

Here are the vows from a handfasting as written by a friend of

mine. I personally find it one of the nicest I've seen. This

is followed by the exchange of rings, or the tieing of the

hands, or whatever you have decided to use as the symbol of your

joining. Use this as you see fit and enjoy.


I am woman, cherish me.

I give life to all things.

It is I who bring bounty,

From the green things in the fields

To the wild creatures in the forest.

I am light and laughter,

I am Brigid, mother of All.


I am man, respect me.

I bring death to all things.

It is I who am the reaper,

I am the Lord of the Hunt

And lord of the fields.

I lead the dead to the Summerland,

I am Herne, father of All.


Love and honor us.

Together we are life and death,

Darkness and light,

Joy and sorrow,

Order and chaos.

We are summer and winter,

Spring and fall.

We are growth and decay,

Youth and age,

Night and day,

Female and male.

Wherever one of us walks,

The other will be not far behind.

This is the way of things.


From: (Mothermay)

These vows are not traditional; they're only a couple a years

old. My husband and I wrote them:

"(Insert name), you have embraced all aspects of my nature.

You love me completely, for both my strengths and my weaknesses.

You have given me the courage and faith to trust you, to let you

love me as an entire person. You have allowed me to embrace all

aspects of your nature. You have let me love you completely, for

both your strengths and your weaknesses. You have shown courage

and faith in me, to trust me to love you as an entire person. I,

(name), take you, (another name), just as you are, and however

you may change, above all others, to share my life."


From: (John R. Snead)

Here is the text of our handfasting ceremony:

John: Tonight we return to each other the tokens of our time

apart. (This refers to the fact that before we were married,

we were living in different states. The 'tokens' are necklaces

we gave each other.)

Becca: For tonight we pledge our love, and start our life

together. (John places Becca's token around her neck, Becca

places John's token around his neck)

John: With this knife, I promise to stand beside you through

all the challenges of this life, to support you, and defend

you whenever you need me.

Becca: I accept your promise. (John kisses blade, puts it on,

and rises. Becca kneels and holds her knife)

Becca: With this knife, I promise to stand beside you through

all the challenges of this life, to support you, and defend you

whenever you need me.

John: I accept your promise. (Becca kisses blade, puts it on,

and rises. John takes up his cup and kneels)

John: With this cup, I promise to accept the love you pour upon

me, and to return that love in kind. (Becca takes pitcher and

fills cup)

Becca: Drink, then, of my love. (John drinks, places cup on

table, and rises, Becca takes up her cup and kneels)

Becca: With this cup, I promise to accept the love you pour upon

me, and to return that love in kind. (John takes pitcher and

fills cup)

John: Drink, then, of my love. (Becca drinks, places cup on

table, and stands. John pricks his finger [we used sterile

blood-test stylets available at most pharmacies], bleeds a drop

on the fire)

John: With this blood I ask the gods to bless this union. (Takes

cup from table and bleeds a drop into it) With this blood I

bind my life to yours. (John holds cup up, Becca places her

hands over his)

Becca: I drink of our life together. (Becca drinks, John places

cup on table and stands. Becca pricks her finger and bleeds a

drop on the fire) With this blood I ask the gods to bless this

union. (Takes cup from table and bleeds a drop into it) With

this blood I bind my life to yours. (Becca holds cup up, John

places his hands over hers)

John: I drink of our life together. (John drinks, Becca returns

cup to the table and stands)

Vows before the gods

(The Priest and Priestess turn toward the others, the Priestess

to the right of the Priest. They join hands, raising their arms

aloft at the same time) Priest: May the place of this rite be

consecrated before the gods. For we gather here in a ritual of

love with the two who would be wedded. John and Becca come

forward to stand before us and before the Gods. (The Priest

picks up the wand (with the rings on it, one on each end) and

holds one end of it before him in his right hand, the Priestess

likewise holds the other in with her left hand, the rings on the

exposed wand between them) Place your right hands beside each

other, over this wand, and your rings.

Priestess: Above you are the stars below you the stone. As time

does pass remember... like a star should you be constant. Like

a stone should your love be firm. Be close, yet not too close.

Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience each

with the other the other for storms will come, but they will go

quickly. Be free in giving of affection and warmth. Make love

often, and be sensuous to one another. Have no fear, and let

not the ways or words of strangers give you unease. For the

Goddess and the God are with you. Now and always.

(After a pause of five heartbeats) Priest: Is it your wish Becca

to join your life with this man?

Becca: It is.

Priest: Is it your wish John to join your life with this woman?

John: It is

Priest: Then as the Goddess, the God, and the Old Ones are

witness to this rite, I hereby announce to all here that you are

husband and wife.


1.7: My best friend is planning a medieval peasant's wedding

and I am in charge of locating appropriate wedding vows.

Are there any websites that have samples of medieval vows

or could someone please recommend some books?

From: (Sorensen Lise D)

I had lunch with our medievalist yesterday, and have I got good

news for you! There are two books -- in paperback, yet -- which

will supply all your needs regarding medieval vows and weddings.

The first book is _Women's Lives in Medieval Europe_, edited by

Emilie Amt. I recommend this book highly as general reading. It

is informative, and well-written. It is also useful as a guide

to medieval marriage ceremonies and customs. The second books

is _Nuptial Blessing_ (1982) by Kenneth Stevenson [Oxford

University Press, New York]. In it are contained the various

forms of wedding vows and blessings of the Middle Ages with all

their regional and temporal variations. BTW, included in this

book is the blessing for the marriage bed. You see, very often a

couple wasn't married at the church, but a priest would come by

the family home (after the couple was ceremonially acknowledged

as wedded by their families) and bless the bed and wedding

chamber in the presence of both families and the newly-wedded

bride and groom. The priest and relatives would leave the room

(to continue partying in the rest of the house, or nearby), and

leave the couple to consummate their relationship in the newly

"sacralized" bed.


From: "'Jherek' W. Swanger" <>

Another good source is "Documents of the Marriage Liturgy" by

Searle, Mark, and Kenneth W Stevenson. Collegeville, Minn.:

Liturgical P, 1992. This is THE book to read for copies of the

vows themselves. Includes Jewish ceremony and a number of

Christian liturgies from the Early Middle Ages to the present)


From: (Renee Ann Byrd)

A 1993 wedding I attended had a bit of medieval flavor to it.

According to the program, the wedding service was taken from the

1549 "Book of Common Prayer."


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

For an authentic Renaissance ceremony, point your Web browser at, then go

to wedding. This is part of the archives of, and

the weddings-e-art file begins with two ceremony scripts drawn

from the 16th century "English Book of Common Prayer".

Actually, the format has not changed much (only the language),

so the modern book would be appropriate also. For Renaissance

readings, anything in the King James Version of the Bible is

perfect. The language is pure high Renaissance. On this same

rialto site, there is another large wedding file with lots of

archived letters discussing the subject of period weddings.

Finally, for some romantic wedding poetry, look into:

Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 (Shall I compare thee to a summer's

day), Sonnet 116 (Let me not to a marriage of true minds admit

impediment), _Romeo and Juliet_, act 2, scene 2 (But soft! What

light through yonder window breaks), and Christopher Marlowe's

"Passionate Shepherd to His Love" (Come live with me and be my

love and we shall all the pleasures prove).


From: J. L. Spangler <>

Jennifer pulls her trusty Riverside Shakespeare from the shelf.

Here's Sonnet 29:

When in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes

I all alone beweep my outcast state,

And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,

And look upon myself and curse my fate,

Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,

Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd,

Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope,

With what I most enjoy contented least;

Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,

Haply I think on thee, and then my state

(Like to the lark at break of day arising

From sullen earth) sing hymns at heaven's gate,

For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings,

That then I scorn to change my state with kings.


From: Kirsti Thomas <>

My husband Jherek and I wrote our own vows. They are posted at Be aware that the

ceremony isn't historically accurate. Some of the phrasings

(e.g. bonny and boxum at bed and at board) and rituals are taken

from period sources, but we also made up some of it ourselves.


From: J. L. Spangler <>

i've always loved this quote--we may put it in our programs.

Doubt thou the stars are fire;

Doubt that the sun doth move;

Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt I love.

(from Hamlet)


From: (Joe Bethancourt)

The Form of Matrimony in the European Middle Ages

As reconstructed by W. J. Bethancourt III,

(NOTE: This is not intended to be represented as a true

medieval marriage rite, but rather a reconstruction (with such

alterations and interpolations as to make it acceptable in

modern usages) from available references for use within the SCA,

nor is it represented as a "official" rite of any Church, nor as

an official ceremony of the SCA Inc. The sources used were the

Book of Common Prayer of HRM Elizabeth I of England, extracts

from the Sarum Rite and the York Rite, and various other lesser


At the day and time appointed for solemnization of Matrimony,

the persons to be married shall come into the porch of the

Church with their friends and neighbors; and there standing

together, the Man on the right hand, and the woman on the left,

with that person who shall give the Woman betwixt them, the

Priest shall say,

Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of

God to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony;

which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in Paradise,

and into which holy estate these two persons present come now to

be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why

they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or

else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

And also, speaking unto the persons that shall be married, he

shall say: I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at

the dreadful day of judgement when the secrets of all hearts

shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment,

why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, that ye

confess it. For ye be well assured, that so many as be coupled

together otherwise than God's Word doth allow are not joined

together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful. At which

day of Marriage, if any man do alledge and declare any

impediment, why they may not be coupled together in Matrimony,

by God's Law, or the Laws of the Realm; and will be bound, and

sufficient sureties with him, to the parties; or else put in a

Caution (to the full value of such charges as the persons to be

married do thereby sustain) to prove his allegation; then the

solemnization must be deferred, until such time as the truth be


If no impediment be alleged, then shall the Priest say unto the

Man: N., Wilt thou have this Woman to be thy wedded wife, to

live together after God's ordinance in the holy estate of

Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep

her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all other, keep

thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?

The Man shall answer: I will.

Then shall the Priest say to the Woman: N., Wilt thou have this

man to be thy wedded husband, to live together after God's

ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou obey him,

and serve him, love, honour, and keep him in sickness and in

health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto him, so

long as ye both shall live?

The Woman shall answer: I will.

Thus ends the formal betrothal. They shall then advance unto

the Altar, led by the Minister, who shall then turn to the

assembled company, and say: Who giveth this Woman to be married

to this Man?

And the person who gives the Woman shall answer, and shall place

the Woman's right hand in the hand of the Minister, and then

shall retire. Then shall they give their troth to each other in

this manner: The Minister, receiving the Woman at her father's

or friend's hands, shall cause the Man with his right hand to

take the Woman by her right hand, and to say after him as

followeth: I, N., take thee N to my wedded wife, to have and

to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer

for poorer, for fairer or fouler, in sickness and in health, to

love and to cherish, till death us depart, according to God's

holy ordinance; and thereunto I plight thee my troth.

Then shall they loose their hands; and the Woman, with her right

hand taking the Man by his right hand, shall likewise say after

the Minister: I N. take thee N to my wedded husband, to have

and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for

richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to be bonny and

buxom at bed and at board, to love and to cherish, till death us

depart, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereunto I

plight thee my troth.

Then shall they again loose their hands; and the Man shall give

unto the Woman a Ring, laying the same upon the Book with the

accustomed duty to the Priest and Clerk. And the Priest shall

bless the Ring(s) in the following manner: Bless these Rings,

O merciful Lord, that those who wear them, that give and receive

them, may be ever faithful to one another, remain in your peace,

and live and grow old together in your love, under their own

vine and fig tree, and seeing their children's children. Amen.

And the Priest, taking the Ring, shall deliver it to the Man, to

put it on the fourth finger of the Woman's left hand. And the

Man holding the ring there, and taught by the Priest, shall say:

With this Ring I thee wed, (here placing it upon her thumb) and

with my body I thee honor, (here placing it upon her index

finger) and with all my worldly goods I thee endow; (here

placing it upon her ring finger) In the Name of the Father, and

of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

If it be a double-ring ceremony, let the Woman do the same as

the Man, giving him the ring, and repeating the same words as

he. They both shall kneel down; and the Minister shall say:

Let us pray. O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all

mankind, Giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting

life; Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this man and

this woman, whom we bless in thy Name; + that, as Isaac and

Rebecca lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely

perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof

this Ring given and received is a token and pledge, and may ever

hereafter remain in perfect love and peace together, and live

according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

And here shall be said the "Our Father." Then shall the Priest

join their right hands together, and say: Those whom God hath

joined together let no man put asunder.

Then shall the Minister speak unto the people: Forasmuch as N

and N have consented together in holy wedlock, and have

witnessed the same before God and this company, and thereto have

given and pledged their troth each to the other, and have

declared the same by giving and receiving of a Ring, and by

joining of hands; I pronounce therefore that they be Man and

Wife together, in the Name of the Father, + and of the Son, and

of the Holy Spirit. Amen

And the Minister shall add this blessing: God the Father, + God

the Son, God the Holy Spirit, bless, preserve, and keep you;

the Lord mercifully with his favour look upon you; and so fill

you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so

live together in this life, that in the world to come ye may

have life everlasting. Amen.

And here the Minister shall turn the couple to the Company, and

they may kiss each the other, and then proceed from the Altar.

And if it be the wish of the couple to take Communion, they may

do it privately, following these ceremonies.

Here endeth the Medieval Wedding


From: (Tien-Yee Chiu)

According to Barbara Walker in _The Woman's Encyclopedia of

Myths and Secrets_, the original Anglican marriage service for

the wife went like this: "I take thee to my wedded husband, to

have and to hold, for fairer or fouler, for better for worse,

for richer for poorer, in sickness or health, ***to be bonny and

buxom in bed*** and at board, till death us depart [sic]." (A

curious clerical note made in the margin at a later date

explained that "bonny and buxom" really meant "meek and

obedient". Somehow I don't think so.) (She attributes this

information to W. Carew Hazlitt, _Faiths and Folklores of the

British Isles_, p. 447, in case anyone cares to check up on it.)


From: (Rain)

There is an entire page of Handfasting information on the WWWeb,

URL: It's

not everything you'll want, but it's a fair place to start.


From: BJ Kuehl (

Kirsti Thomas has compiled the following bibliography of books

on the topic of medieval wedding customs. This bibliography is

also housed at:


A (Rough) Bibliography of

Medieval and Renaissance Marriage Practices

(with some Celtic stuff thrown in for good measure)

Compiled by Kirsti Thomas




This bibliography focuses on marriage customs in Western Europe,

dealing primarily with England, France, Germany and Italy. I have not

included works on the topic of costume (with one exception), since

an extensive FAQ on historical costuming is frequently posted to The FAQ is also available via FTP at




Several of the works are in languages other than English. Since my

comprehension of Italian and French is minimal at best, I cannot

guarantee the usefulness of works in those languages. I am also in the

process of reviewing the works cited here and will be revising this

bibliography as time allows.



Adams, Jeremy duQuesnay. Patterns of Medieval Society. Englewood

Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1969.

Altieri, Marco Antonio. Li nuptiali. Rome, C. Bartoli, 1873. Ed. Enrico


(If you can read Italian, this seems to be one of the best primary

sources on Italian Renaissance wedding rituals. Originally written

around 1509, it was reprinted in 1873 and does not seem to have

appeared in print since.)

Bingham, Joel Foote. The Christian Marriage Ceremony: Its History,

Significance and Curiosities: Ritual, Practical and Archaeological Notes;

and the Text of the English, Roman, Greek and Jewish Ceremonies. New

York: A. D. F. Randolph & Company, 1871.

Bolton, Brenda, et al., eds. Women in Medieval Society. Philadelphia: U

of Pennsylvania P, 1976.

Brooke, Christopher Nugent Lawrence. The Medieval Idea of Marriage.

Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989.

(Historical study of how marriage was viewed, legally, ecclesiastically

and socially, and how it evolved)

Brundage, James A. Sex, Law and Marriage in the Middle Ages. Aldershot,

England: Variorum, 1993.

Brucker, Gene A. Giovanni and Lusanna: Love and Marriage in Renaissance

Florence. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986.

Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo. Il Matrimonio Nella Societa

Altomedievale: 22-28 aprile 1976. Settimane di studio del Centro italiano

di studi sull'alto Medioevo 24. Spoleto : Presso la sede del Centro,


Charsley, Simon R. Wedding Cakes and Cultural History. London:

Routledge, 1992.

Cunnington, Phillis Emily, and Catherine Lucas. Costume for Births,

Marriages & Deaths. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1972.

(Brief discussions of clothing and customs from roughly the 11th to

the late 19th centuries, focusing primarily on England. Contains many

direct quotes from period sources)

Duby, Georges. Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages. Trans. Jane

Dunnett. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1994.

Duby, Georges. Medieval Marriage: Two Models from Twelfth-century

France. Trans. Elborg Forster. Johns Hopkins Symposia in Comparative

History 11. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1978.

Duby, Georges. The Knight, the Lady, and the Priest: the Making of

Modern Marriage in Medieval France. Trans. Barbara Bray. 1st

American ed. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.

Ennen, Edith. The Medieval Woman. Trans. Edmund Jephcott. Oxford:

Basil Blackwell, 1989.

Famiglietti R. C. Tales of the Marriage Bed from Medieval France

(1300-1500). 1st ed. Providence, RI: Picardy P, 1992.

Fischer, Andreas. Engagement, Wedding and Marriage in Old English.

Anglistische Forschungen 176. Heidelberg: Winter, 1986.

Gaudemet, Jean, Le Mariage en Occident: les Moeurs et le Droit . Paris:

Editions du Cerf, 1987.

Gerstfeldt, Olga von. Hochzeitsfeste der Renaissance in Italien.

Esslingen: P. Neff, 1906.

Gies, Frances, and Joseph Gies. Marriage and the Family in the Middle

Ages. 1st ed. New York: Harper & Row, 1987.

Goldberg, P. J. P. Women, Work, and Life Cycle in a Medieval Economy:

Women in York and Yorkshire c. 1300-1520. Oxford: Clarendon P; New

York: Oxford UP, 1992.

Greilsammer, Myriam. L'envers du Tableau: Mariage & Maternite en Flandre

Medievale. Paris: A. Colin, 1990.

Haines, Frank, and Elizabeth Haines. Foreign Brides From Antiquity.

Cumberland, Md.: Hobby House P, 1989.

(The Haines present general examples of brides from various points

in history (1600, B.C. - A.D. 1720) Costumed dolls model the fashions

in color photos. Also includes detailed descriptions of costume, with

line drawings of each item of clothing and brief descriptions of

wedding customs.)

Herlihy, David. The Social History of Italy and Western Europe,

700-1500. London: Variorum, 1978.

Holliday, Carl. Wedding Customs Then and Now. Boston: Stratford, 1919.

James, Edwin Oliver. Marriage Customs Through the Ages. New York:

Collier, 1965.

Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane., Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance

Italy. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985.

Lafon, Jacques. Les Epoux Bordelais: 1450-1550, Regimes Matrimoniaux

et Mutations Sociales. Demographie et Societes 16. Paris,

S.E.V.P.E.N., 1972.

Laiou, Angeliki E., ed. Consent and Coercion to Sex and Marriage in

Ancient and Medieval Societies. Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks

Research Library and Collection, 1993.

Lasker, Joe. Merry Ever After: the Story of Two Medieval Weddings. 1st

ed. New York: Viking P, 1976.

(children's book with nice color illustrations)

Molho, Anthony. Marriage Alliance in Late Medieval Florence. Cambridge,

Mass.: Harvard UP, 1994.

Molin, Jean-Baptiste, and Protais Mutembe. Le Rituel du Mariage en

France du XIIe au XVIe Siecle . Theologie Historique 26. Paris:

Beauchesne, 1974.

(One of the most frequently quoted works on the topic)

Powell, Chilton Latham. English Domestic Relations, 1487-1653: a Study

of Matrimony and Family Life in Theory and Practice as Revealed by the

Literature, Law, and History of the Period. New York: Columbia UP, 1917.

Rollin, Betty. I Thee Wed: a Collection of Marriage Vows Past and

Present, Here and There. 1st ed. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961.

Roqueta, Joan. Lo Ritual Occitan del Maridatge: Testimoni d'una

Civilisacion Originala: Edicion Sinoptica e Critica de Tres Rituals amb

Formularis en Lenga Occitana (Bordeu 1466, Caors 1503, Perigus 1536),

Seguida d'una Analisi de Textes Occitans Medievals e d'una Prepausicion

de Ritual Moderne del Maridatge en Lenga d'Oc. Besiers: Centre

Internacional de Documentacion Occitana, 1981.

Salamallah, the Corpulent. Medieval Games. 2nd ed. Albuquerque, N.M.:

Raymond's Quiet P, 1982.

(Games and sports you can try at the reception!)

Salisbury, Joyce E. Medieval Sexuality: a Research Guide. Garland

Reference Library of Social Science 565. Garland Medieval Bibliographies

5. New York: Garland, 1990.

Saslow, James M. The Medici Wedding of 1589: Florentine Festival as

Theatrum Mundi. New Haven: Yale UP, 1996.

(projected date of publication: 5-96)

Schott, Clausdieter. Trauung und Jawort: Wandel einer Form. Frankfurt:

Metzner, 1969.

Schwerdtfeger, Anne. Ethnological Sources of the Christian Marriage

Ceremony. Stockholm: Ceres, 1982.

Searle, Mark, and Kenneth W. Stevenson. Documents of the Marriage

Liturgy. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical P, 1992.

(_The_ book to read for copies of the vows themselves. Includes a Jewish

ceremony and a number of Christian liturgies from the Early Middle Ages

to the present)

Stevenson, Kenneth W. Nuptial Blessing: a Study of Christian Marriage

Rites. New York: Oxford UP, 1983.

(Chapter 2 is a good source for various rituals and ceremonies,

while Chapter 3 deals with marriage customs during the Reformation)

Stone, Lawrence. The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1500-1800.

New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

Tasman, Alice Lea Mast. Wedding Album: Customs and Lore Through the

Ages. New York: Walker, 1982.

Tegg, William. The Knot Tied: Marriage Ceremonies of All Nations.

Detroit: Singing Tree P, 1970.

Urlin, Ethel L. A Short History of Marriage, Marriage Rites, Customs and

Folklore in Many Countries and All Ages. Detroit: Singing Tree P, 1969.

Van Hoecke, Willy, and Andries Welkenhuysen. Love and Marriage in the

Twelfth Century. Mediaevalia Lovaniensia, ser. 1, studia 8. Leuven:

Leuven UP, 1981.

Vocelka, Karl. Habsburgische Hochzeiten 1550-1600: kulturgeschichtlichen

Studien zum manieristischen Reprasentationsfest. Veroffentlichungen der

Kommission fur Neuere Geschichte Osterreichs 65. Wien: Bohlau, 1976.

Waugh, Scott L. The Lordship of England: Royal Wardships and Marriages

in English Society and Politics, 1217-1327. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton

UP, 1988.

Westermarck, Edward. The History of Human Marriage. 5th ed. New York:

Allerton Book Company, 1922.



Charsley, Simon R. Rites of Marrying: the Wedding Industry in Scotland.

Manchester: Manchester UP, 1991.

Martin James. The Road to the Aisle. New ed. Edinburgh: Saint Andrew,


(Scottish weddings)

McGuire Kim. The Irish Wedding Book . Dublin: Wolfhound P, 1994.

Power, Patrick C. Sex and Marriage in Ancient Ireland. Dublin:

Mercier, 1976.


2.1: We're using a medieval theme for our wedding. How can we

adapt that look for our invitations?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Printing the invitations on a heavy parchment and using a type

style that imitates calligraphy will announce to everyone that

your wedding has a Medieval or Renaissance theme. Decorative

motifs that would work with the theme include simple flowers,

fancy scrolls, heraldic symbols, and metallic embossing.

Touches of rich, jewel-tone colors are very period, especially

combined with gold or silver -- think of Medieval illuminated

texts. For a small wedding, you could have a professional write

each invitation in calligraphy, but this will be expensive

(unless you know someone who'd do it as a wedding gift).


From: (Lanfear)

For our invitations, I found a nice parchment stock at a local

printer supply company and then took a period border from a clip

art book. A local printer set up the text in a calligraphy

style and printed them. Then by hand I colored the gold and ivy

border. Each invitation was folded in thirds and tied with a

satin ribbon. Cost was about $100.


From: (Nadia Smyrniw)

We have been going through many Celtic art books to find a

design (or a compilation of designs) for the outside cover of

the invitations. My fiance will then make a print of whatever

he finally draws, and then we will scan that into the computer

and print the invitations at home by ourselves on a laser



From: (Laura Mitchell)

I am using a gold Celtic Braid around the border with the symbol

of the 3 goddesses at the top. We are printing them via our

computer on parchment, folding them 1/3, sealing with wax and

mailing it inside an envelope with rsvp card and map.


From: (magda)

For my wedding invitations I used a Mac and used different

design elements from clip art "Illuminated Borders" books. I'm

getting them printed digitally in 4-color with the rsvp's and a

business card for $400. Digitally is the way to go for short

run inexpensive printing.


From: (eric reiswig)

There's a nice 'how-to' for drawing knotwork at


From BJ (

We designed our invitations and announcements on my fiance's

MacIntosh using a combination of medieval fonts (my favorite is

the one that looks like ivy leaves). Our invitations were

printed on ragged-edged, prefolded, parchment stationary with

matching double-envelopes (available by special order at

graphics stores). Our announcements were printed on unfolded

8x11 inch parchment (available by the tablet at art supply

stores). Those announcements which we could hand-deliver were

rolled into a scroll and sealed with wax. Those which had to be

mailed were folded in thirds, wax sealed, and then mailed inside

an envelope.


From: (Jason L)

One motif that ran throughout our wedding was the ancient Earth

symbol of the Greenman. Our invitations were printed in dark

green ink and featured the face of the Greenman.


From: "Rottier_Amy" <>

I browsed through pattern books and looked at inked stamps until

I found a picture of a lord and lady dancing that I really

liked. Using that for inspiration, we drew our design and

scanned it into the computer. Using cardstock parchment, we

laid out the dancers two to a page and the invitation wording

two to a page (so it could be printed two-sided and cut in the

middle). I'm dry-embossing the outer edge of the invitation

(around the dancers) to add a little dimension. Then Mark

designed a map to the location, in stylized fashion, complete

with knight and dragon pictures. There is a mountainous area

called "The Bad Lands of DC", and plenty of trees and even a

picket fence around the "castle". It's really a work of art

(drawn in Wordperfect 6.0). On the back are written directions.

We also made a reply postcard with our address on one side and a

Celtic knot (under which I will handwrite the names of the

invitees) and "Yea I will gladly attend the betrothal of Lady

Amy Elizabeth Rottier of San Diego to Sir Mark David Donovan of

Cleveland"/"Nay, I regret..." on the other side. Both the

map/directions and knot/postcard are on quarters of an 8.5x11

sheet. It really came out well. Including paper, rubber stamp,

sample inks and embossing powders, embossing templates (for the

dry embossing - I bought 2), printing and cutting costs

(courtesy Kinkos), I probably paid less than $50.


From: (Arthur S. Pruyn)

One renaissance wedding that took place at RPFN about 6 years

ago had invites that were a sonnet. The sonnet described the

location, the date, the two getting married, the feast, and

other aspects of the wedding in period terms. They were sent

out with an additional little map (as is often done in current

weddings) with directions for those who had not been to the

faire. I had the pleasure of writing the sonnet for them (it

was in Shakespearian form, rather than traditional).


From: (Joanne Frezzo)

I'm not having a Medieval wedding, but several people have told

me my invitation looks like it was themed. It is not a wedding

invitation per se. I found it at a local stationer who works out

of her home. She had this in a notebook at a bridal faire. It

is an ivory card with a colored border. I chose a plum color.

Overlaying the color is a gold embossing of a flourish design

all around the border. It's very hard for me to describe. If

you want me to try to fax or snail mail you a copy I'd be glad

to. One thing though, since it was not designed as a wedding

invite it doesn't come with inner envelopes, but I was able to

find one that was very close through Paper Direct.


From: Kristiina Prauda <>

We made rather elaborate invitations with a medieval-style

border, initials and script. The medieval-style border was

taken from an illustrator's idea book, simplified for coloring

with a drawing program (it included ivy leaves, long straight

borders and a dragon - which made it more Tolkien-ish than

medieval). We took a few of those big initials (for my name,

his name and the name of the church) from an actual 13th c.

manuscript. We colored all the borders and the initials by

hand, using cheap felt pens in red, blue and gold - all the

outer borders were "gilded" from the drawn motif to the edge.

In the upper right-hand corner, we put in a verse from a poem by

Finland's greatest classical poet, Eino Leino; the poem is in

"Kalevala"-metre, the old epic metre of our folk poetry. It

talks about life together, something like this (apologies for my

bad attempts to follow the original flawless beat):

"Truly it was they lived together

under the tree with widest top,

truly they made a fire together,

slipped together into bed,

together it was they slept and dreamed

of their eternal selves,

on their brows a dream of happiness,

on their lips the kiss of morning."

The actual wording of the invitation was completely traditional

(since the ceremony was a traditional church ceremony). For

font, we used "American Uncial", which is rounded, sort of

Celtic-looking. The invitations were printed on ordinary white

paper, then glued that on a slightly larger sheet of 100% silk

rag paper - really beautiful pearl color, with silk fibers

clearly showing. We folded them in three and sealed them with

red wax, making a wax seal out of a rose-shaped metal button

glued to a small plastic stick. Hard work (for about 70

invitations), but they were a huge hit, and many friends put

them up for show.


From: Sally Jackson <>

Any competent scribe can letter your invitation in a style

appropriate to the time period and the country of your choice.

(Writing and decoration in 14th century France was totally

unlike that of 16th century England, etc.) Almost any

calligrapher will have a library of clip art that can be used to

decorate the invitation and many will be able to design the

decorative elements. As to printing, a quick print business can

print from the calligrapher's original work. It is simply

photographed, and each invitation looks like it was hand



From: Susan Carroll-Clark <>

The original of our invitation was calligraphed in Secretary

hand by a friend--it was the Shakespearian sonnet which talks

about the "marriage of true minds".


2.2: Anybody have any creative ideas for wording an invitation

in keeping with the medieval style of the wedding?

From: "Rottier_Amy" <>

Lady Amy Elizabeth Rottier


Sir Mark David Donovan

request the honour of thy presence

at their marriage

on Saturday, the thirtieth of September in

the year of our Lord Nineteen hundred and ninety five


The ceremony will begin at two o'clock in the after-noon


The Griffin's Lair (his mother's name is Griffin)

xxxx Olivers Shop Road

Fried chicken, Maryland

Feasting and merriment will follow the ceremony

Medieval/Renaissance-style garb recommended

but not required


From: (Christophe GUETTIER)

De par le Baron..., Pere de...

De par le Conte..., Mere de...

Par la presente missive,

Nous avons l'honneur de celebrer en vostre gent presence et cel

de ces vassaux...,

le mariage de Dame..., Fille de..., Heritiere de...,

Regente de..., Dote de...


Sieur..., Fils de..., Chevalier de..., Heritiers de...,

Regent de..., dans le fief de...

Seront donnes moult rejouissance et festoiement.

Translation from old French:

In the name of the baron..., father of...

In the name of the countess..., mother of...

With this present lettre,

We have the honour of celebrating in thy kind [or noble]

presence and that of these servants [or vassals or household],

the marriage of Lady..., Daughter of..., Heiress of...,

Governess of..., Dowered of...


Sir... Son of..., Knight of..., Hier of...,

Governor of..., in the fief [land or shire] of...

Let there be much rejoicing and feasting.


From: (Phyllis Gilmore)

The phrase "de par le roi" means "in the name of the king," so

one presumes the phrasing to suggest the hand of a scribe (nice

idea, I think) doing the writing.


From: BJ (


The honour of thy presence

is hereby requested

at the marriage of

Barbara Jean Wedemayer


Timothy Duane Kuehl

on Saturday the eleventh of June

in a mediaeval wedding ceremony

at half-past the seventh hour

in the eventide

In keeping with the medieval theme of our wedding invitations,

we also worded our announcements:


Let it be known that on the 11th day of June

in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four

the house of Wedemayer pledged its firstborn daughter

Barbara Jean

to the house of Kuehl in marriage to the firstborn son

Timothy Duane


<name of church>

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Mr. & Mrs. Kuehl now reside


<our address>

City, State



2.3: I'm thinking of rolling up my invitation (but how would

you mail that cheaply!). Any suggestions??!!


You can buy tubes in which to mail them.


From: BJ (

If you really want to go gala, have your invitations delivered

by a friend dressed as a herald!


2.4: We bought metallic gold wax and two stamps to seal our

invitations but can't for the life of us figure out how to

use them! Any hints/suggestions out there would be greatly


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

We used wax seals on our invitations, and I had the same

question. Luckily, we happened to be watching a movie with a

medieval setting and saw the method used by the king to seal a

document. He held the stick of sealing wax over a candle flame

until it began to melt, then quickly positioned the stick over

the envelope and let the melting wax drip onto the desired

spot. Once he had enough wax, he picked up the stamp and pushed

it down on the soft wax. We tried doing it that way and, after

a few trial runs, determined about how long to hold the stick in

the candle flame, about how much wax we would need for a good

seal, and about how hard the wax had to be in order to get a

legible seal. After that, it was a breeze.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Aside from lighting the wax directly (which will produce some

blackened wax), you can use the old-fashioned spoon method.

Crumble pieces of wax into an old spoon. Warm the underside of

the spoon over a candle. When the wax is melted, carefully pour

it onto the envelope. Stamp with the seal. This, as with all

wax sealing methods, takes some practice on scrap paper.

Victorian Papers sells a fancy wax sealing set that includes a

tiny spoon with a spout just for this purpose. The spoon is

$7.95, the wax beads (easier to melt in spoon) are $8.95 per



From: Sally Jackson <>

After putting the puddle of hot melted wax on the envelope, if

you will breathe on the seal (which leaves it a bit damp from

the moisture in your breath) it will not stick to the hot wax.


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

This is a quote from an instruction sheet entitled "Making Wax

Seals" and provided by The Swordmark Company out of Atlanta, GA,

a vendor of stationery supplies and waxseals.

"In the old days, they used to lick the seal or dip it in

water before each use--the thin coating of water would keep

the hot wax from sticking to the metal. We suggest you

lightly spray the metal seal with a non-stick lubricant

(e.g., WD40, Pam cooking spray, silicone) to ensure that

the wax won't stick.

"Light the wax, tilt the stick at an angle, and let the wax

drip into a puddle big enough for your seal. Blow out the

wax stick, and place the metal seal firmly in the way while

it is still liquid. Wait 5 seconds to allow the wax to

harden before pulling the seal from the wax.

"To cleanup, wipe the metal seal with a paper towel. If

any wax is stuck to the metal, use a pin to poke it out,

and next time lubricate that spot more carefully."


2.5: My fiance and I will be making our own invitations and

would like to use a wax seal on the outside of the

envelope. I was wondering if anyone ran into problems with

the post office, like wax getting stuck in postal machines

or anything like that?

From: Sally Jackson <>

The post office really doesn't like it - it messes up their

machines. However, I don't believe there is any actual

prohibition against using it.


From: BJ (

We didn't place the seal on the outside envelope. Rather, we

folded the announcement in thirds (leaving an overlapping lip)

and then sealed the lip. We mailed the announcement in an

envelope and sent it as a regular letter. At the same time, I

mailed a sealed announcement to myself (to see how the wax would

withstand the postal department). The seal arrived slightly

cracked. If you use wax seals, you might want to have the

envelopes hand-cancelled or use a cardboard envelope. Another

possibility is to forgo the wax and just use one of those red

or gold stickers that look like a real seal.


From: (Laura Mitchell)

I've been experimenting and have found something that may help

people who are having problems mailing the wax seals. White

glue. White glue thinned with a little bit of water is flexible

but apparently strong enough to keep the seal together if it

does crack and, best of all, it's clear when applied with a

paint brush (and the brush can be washed in water to clean).


From: (Jonathon Elsburough)

I always wrap the envelope in a nice, gaudy gold or silver

ribbon then poor wax over a spot on the ribbon and then press

the seal into the wax, sealing both ribbon and paper. I also

put the invitations inside a standard envelope which has the

recipient's name lettered quite plainly. This allows a really

fancy lettering of the recipient's name on the inside envelope,

and people like nothing in calligraphy as much as their name.


2.6: How about thank you cards? Any ideas for how we can make

our thank you cards look medieval in style?

From: Kristiina Prauda <>

In Finland,we do not write thank-you letters; we send thank-you

cards with a photograph. Our thank-you cards consisted of

printed paper, outer card backing, and a photo of us at the

altar. The card was made of rather thick stock with a grey-white

marble motif (or cloud, maybe). The inner paper is something

called "Paris paper" - nicely uneven, but we were warned later

that it would not hold ink too well. The right-hand side of the

opened card has the photo in an oval rimmed in gold. The

left-hand side is folded in two. On top we put a motif of two

dragons holding a crowned heart (this was modified from the

invitation dragon), a line of Kahlil Gibran, and "With thanks"

in larger letters, with a medieval initial; we signed under

that. We colored the dragons and the inital by hand again. When

opened, the double-width left-hand side displays a choice of

texts we wanted to include in a wedding program, but time ran

out: some more Kahlil Gibran, some Shakespeare (Much Ado About

Nothing, Benedick and Beatrice having words), and Aragorn's and

Arwen's wedding from Lord of the Rings. We used the same font as

in our invitations.


From BJ (

We used the same ragged-edged, prefolded, stationary parchment

for our thank you cards that we used for our invitations. Using

medieval-looking fonts, we simply inkjet printed 'Thank Thee' on

the outside of the card. My favorite font was the initial T in

both 'Thank' and "Thee'--it looked like ivy vines. We handwrote

the message on the inside.


3.1: Those who were married in a medieval-style ceremony, what

did your wedding party and guests wear?

From (Lanfear)

My dress was upper-middle class, Spanish style in forest green

with mint green trim and pearls. My husband wore garb from the

same green but his was trimmed in gold.


From (Miche)

The bride wore a Renaissance style cartridge-pleated, side-laced

dress of purple, lilac and black satin. The groom wore Tudor

style gears like you see in the pictures of Henry VIII,

including codpiece. The guests all wore their favourite garb.

The bride lent me a dress - Renaissance style back-laced dress

with plunging v-neck, in blue and silver, with a line of tiny

bells round the waist line.


From Susan Carroll-Clark <>

My husband and I wore ivory and gold Elizabethan garb (not so

much because these were wedding colours, but because they were

popular Elizabethan colours). Another wedding I attended had

the male and female attendants in red and blue cotehardies,

while the bride and groom wore houppelandes.


From: (Renee Ann Byrd)

In a 1993 wedding I attended, the bride's attendants wore angel

dresses -- basically these were long tunics with tied around the

waist with a rope-like belt.



In a trendy dresshop, I found a white, gauzy, A-line floor

length dress with a white-embroidered bodice. I dyed it green

because medieval brides did not normally wear white. I did,

however, wear it with a white lace shawl and a wreath of fresh

ivy for a tiara. I carried a bouquet of green ivy and white

sweetpea which I tied together with trailing white and green

ribbons. My bridesmaids wore long, green, crushed velvet

dresses and carried candles. The groom dressed as a medieval

huntsman in green velvet britches, knee-length leather

mocassins, white shirt and leather jerkhin. The groomsmen

dressed similarly (except they did not wear jerkhins). I made

their britches but they obtained everything else from Museum

Replicas Ltd.


From: (Orilee Ireland-Delfs)

The bride wore a cream brocade dress (a bit of fantasy here - it

was modeled after one in the Princess Bride) with her hair

uncovered. Her bridesmaids each wore a dress in a jewel tone to

match their own persona: one was in a deep red tudor, another in

emerald green cotehardie. She also made matching outfits for

her parents and his parents (the fathers discovered how much fun

tights can be - we complimented them on their legs quite

regularly!) Guests were encouraged to wear garb (although the

SCA guests wore garb as a matter of course). The groom, being

Irish, wore a saffron yellow tunic with embroidery and went

barefoot most of the day.


From: (Jason L)

One of my cousins decided to do a Ren wedding on Twelfth Night

the same year we did ours. When I finally saw the pictures I was

quite disappointed in the quality of her "production". Not only

did she wear a white dress, the bridesmaids all wore the same

color and kind of dress. Both TOTALLY inappropriate for the

period. They were also more of an Arthurian fantasy style and

not authentic to the period. However the groom did get to wear

a full suit of armour! (Way cool!)


From: Patricia D. Mooney

About half the guests dressed in costume, including the parents

and several newborns! Although I had a regular, off-shoulder

wedding dress (ordered before we got this bright idea!) and

wreath, Alan wore tunic, tights, and sword. The sword became

quite a prop for pictures -- my favorite photo is of all

costumed guests surrounding me as I knighted Alan. After we'd

chosen our garb, we ran across the most beautiful medieval

wedding costumes in a shop -- but it was too late and the wrong

season. (The costumes were appropriate for winter, not August.)


From: "John A. Resotko" <>

I already have a good portion of my clothing (leggings,

knee-high hand-tooled moccassins from Bald Mountain Mocs, etc.)

since we frequent RenFests in the Michigan/Illinois/Ohio area.

I'll probably buy an exceptional quality shirt and a brocaded

jacket/vest to dress my usual garb up for the occasion.


From: (Amy E. Rottier)

My dress was made by a bridal shop that makes dresses in Takoma

Park, MD. I found the perfect material after many weeks of

intensive searching - an ivory brocade with gold strewn through

it. The fabric was $25 a yard. I wanted the majority of the

dress made with this fabric, and the rest in an ivory antiqued

satin. The way it ended up: dropped waist gown with full

skirt, slim long sleeves, pointed. Low neckline. Plain

shoulders. The brocade fabric was used everywhere except the

sleeves and a front placket that ran from neck to hem. I had a

gold cord criss-crossed across the front of the bodice and tied

at the dropped waist. Everyone said I sparkled in the sun. I

felt so beautiful in that dress. My then-fiance decided he

wanted to wear a cloak and tights, so tights they wore. We had

the cloak made (reversible, in black and burgundy, with glorious

trim), found burgundy leggings in a clothing store, he made a

belt, and dyed his moccasin boots. He wore a tunic of an ivory

color, with a stand-up collar. He also wore leather bracelets

(the manly kind!). He was stunning. Anyway, it turned out that

Mark's outfit cost as much as mine. How's that for equality!

My bridesmaids wore a version of a dirndl pattern - a

floor-length skirt (in burgundy) with bodice-vested top (in

mauve). The pattern also included a shirt, but we made the

sleeves from a muslin-type cotton (off-white and speckly) and

just attached them to the vest. The guys wore a version of

Mark's outfit - black cloak (not as ornate, and not reversible),

black shirts with burgundy belts, burgundy tights, and black

ankle-high moccasin boots.


From: (June Petersen)

I suppose my dress was more like "fantasy Ren", two layers of

beige gauze skirt with lace, and a beige gauzy top with a

lace-up center (upon which were sewn pearls and brilliants).

I've always been a fiend for lace, so there was lots of it,

including a 5 foot lace "train" veil (carried by my "page"). We

bought the basic dress stuff (skirts, top) and embellished the

hell out of it. It had detachable sleaves of lace, very big and

trailing at the bottom. He wore breeches and boots, a loose

cotton shirt and a big cloak. Our parents were also dressed in

Renaissance mode, as were my Mom's folks. A lot of the guests

came in Ren or pseudo-Ren, which made it a lot of fun!



My fiance and I will be wearing traditional wedding clothes

(since he couldn't manage to talk his ushers into wering period

clothing!) My dress is ivory, with a V-neck neckline and

brocade detailing on the bodice, with matching detail an inch

above the hemline. My fiance bought me the necklace I will be

wearing. It is a Medieval cross (purchased through Past Times),

even on all four sides (rather than a traditional cross, which

is longer at the bottom) with a garnet in the center. The four

"ends" are in the shape of Fleur de Lys, with a pearl on three

of them. It was believed back then that this type of medallion

was good luck. The ushers will be wearing tuxedoes but not with

the traditional bowtie and cumberbund. Instead, it's the type of

tuxedo with an ascot (wide tie) and vest. Danny (the groom) will

wear tails, and the ushers will wear shorter jackets. The girls

will be wearing emerald green velvet dresses.


From: (Jason L)

The hardest thing to do was getting enough GOOD costumes for

everyone. It is much easier to do if you do peasant or lower

middle class dress, but we did a noble wedding which is harder

to pull off. We used our costume colors in a dramatic way.

Andrea's family and attendants were dressed in yellows & browns,

while my side was predominately in blues & grays. We were both

dressed in green. Andrea had gold trim, myself with blue. Even

though it was slightly 'theatrical' it represented a symbolic

merging of the families -- Andrea's family in Earth tones, my

own family in the colors of water and sky, and us in green, the

color of new growth and renewal. It turned out that the hardest

thing with the costumes was convincing both mothers that they

REALLY had to wear them. Both fathers said "It sounds like



3.2: Any ideas on how I can encourage my guests to dress in

period clothing, too?

From: (Chris Petersen)

I attended my first SCA event last summer - as a guest at a

friend's wedding. With each invitation, she included a small

SCA-published pamphlet that talked about how to quickly, cheaply

and easily make period dress for just such an event. Many

people chose to follow this and some even wore towels clipped

together to form tabbards. Others chose simply to come in

mundane clothing.


From: (Jason L)

We encouraged our guests to come in period attire, but did not

make it mandatory. I included a brouchure that I had bought at

the Southern (California) Faire about assembling an outfit that

would give a period look using clothing that most people might

already have or could get easily. We also included info about

where people could rent or purchase costumes in the area. About

half of our guests at least made an attempt to come in period

attire, the rest mostly wore traditional modern dress clothing.

At least they came, so I didn't mind that they were in modern

clothing. Also try to get a caterer, photograher and minister

who will dress in period clothing, and be prepared to get the

clothing for them. We interviewed a few before we found some

that would be willing to 'dress up' for our wedding.


From: (Jason L)

Try to get a minister who will dress in period clothing and be

prepared to get the clothing for them. We interviewed a few

before we found some that would be willing to 'dress up' for

our wedding.


From: (Lanfear)

The gentleman that did our wedding was a personal friend but is

on a referal list the Faire keeps of ordained clergy that will

do weddings in period garb, style, etc.



Some friends of mine had a Renaissance-style wedding a couple of

years ago. The reception was themed as a masked ball (so the

family and friends could wear any costume they wanted). The

wearing of masks was prevalent throughout the 15th and 16th

centuries, especially during the Carnival season. The film

"Much Ado About Nothing" (the Branagh version) has a very nice

masked party. The Liz Taylor-Richard Burton version of Taming

of the Shrew has a Carnival procession wandering through Padua.

And of course, there's Zefirelli's Romeo and Juliet, where R&J

meet at a masked party.


From: ????????????

For those guests who cannot come up with a suitable costume I

am making 'slip on' costumes -- tunics over pants for men,

dresses for women.


3.3: HELP! My fiance wants a medieval-style wedding but I

don't know the first thing about that time period, much

less about the clothes they wore.

From (Trystan L. Bass)

Go to the library and take a look at some historical costume

books and pick out a time frame that suits you. Here are some

basic categories to help you decide:

1. Royalty (the most formal and fanciest clothes from the era)

2. Merchant class (good but not showy, modestly prosperous)

3. Peasant (casual, carefree, outdoorsy, little decoration)

A. Medieval (women in long, slim-fitting gowns; men in

tights and tunics)

B. Renaissance (women in tight bodices and full skirts; men

in tights, breeches, pirate shirts, laced vests)

If you want your whole bridal party in period garb, think about

what styles everyone will be comfortable in. Renaissance

peasants and Medieval clothing will probably be easiest to wear

for those not accustomed to heavy, confining, or unusual

clothing. These are also the easiest styles to create!


From: Anne Reynolds <>

For any given century, there was usually one or two "cultural

centers of the world." Everyone else tried to imitate that

culture. For example, the British Isles spent most of the

11th-13th century trying to imitate France. In the late

14th-15th centuries, Italy was the place to imitate. In the

16th and 17th centuries, Spain and then England were considered

cultural centers. The cotehardie was *the* fashion for women in

the 12th - 13th centuries. The best examples of the style are

in french books of hours. Most of those books also show women

in houppelandes which was the second most popular fashion from

the 12th - mid 14th century. The houppelande is a much

"bulkier", gathered dress that is also very lovely. The main

style of clothing for most of the middle ages (popular from

Roman times through the 12th century) is the T-tunic. It is

very simple to make but has millions of variations and can be

elaborately decorated. You can decorate the sleeves, the hem,

the collar, the front, etc. It can be as long or as short as

you please, the sides can flare out instead of being cut

straight down, and the side seams can be left open below the

hips for greater range of movement. The T-tunic was worn by

both men and women and it is cut like:

-------------------\ /-------------------- <- on the fold

| ----- |

| _________ _________ |

| / | | \ |

|/ | | \|

/ | | \

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |

| |



3.4: My wife is desperately in need of a source of patterns for

medieval/Renaissance wedding clothing for the bride, groom,

and all of the wedding party. Where can we get such


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

There are a number of different pattern companies that

specialize in historically-accurate period clothing. Four that

I have heard of (and there may be others) are Folkwear Patterns,

Period Patterns (by Medieval Miscellanea), Past Patterns and

Fantasy Patterns.


From: ???????????

Folkwear Patterns is a large, popular company that makes

patterns inspired by folk costume, ethnic clothing, and

historical fashions. The patterns are historically accurate,

and include historical/ethnic/folkloric notes & ideas for

embellishment. Many of the ethnic clothing patterns work for

Med/Ren styles, esp. peasant clothes. The historical fashions

are mostly 19th & 20th century. Medieval Miscellanea is one of

the few makers of specifically Med/Ren clothing patterns. They

have a lot of historical annotation, but can be hard to follow.

Past Patterns makes 19th & early 20th century patterns,

historically accurate, often with historical info on the



From: (Susan A. Ondrick)

I have Period Patterns No. 56, Late Tudor and Elizabethan Gowns.

Historical notes are included with the patterns.


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

Period Patterns, Fantasy Fashion Patterns and Folkwear Patterns

are also available through Chivalry Sports (see catalog list),

although their selection is very limited. Period Patterns are

available through MacKenzie-Smith.


From: (Lori Iversen)

Both Folkwear and Medieval Miscellanea brands are available

through the Raiments catalog as well as Amazon Vinegar Pickling

Works and Drygoods Emporium [see catalog list], along with lots

of other pattern brands and costuming sundries. I would

recommend getting catalogs from both places instead of just

asking for a particular pattern brand; that will give you a much

larger base to work from.



Fantasy Fashion patterns are in the Raiments catalog.



I have ordered Folkwear patterns and have been very pleased with

them. I have seen Folkwear patterns carried in specialty

pattern shops, but they carry a very limited selection.


From: (JJ)

Try Folkwear Patterns. They have various enthnic patterns as

well as historical ones. Not all fabric stores carry them. I'd

recommend sitting down with the yellow pages, looking up

"Fabrics" and calling every fabric store listed. Talk to the

managers if you have to - if they don't carry Folkwear they

might know of places that do. I've made several of the Folkwear

patterns. Many of them are DIFFICULT (and I'm a *very*

experienced seamstress). Many of them are constructed in ways

that are close to the originals, which means odd pieces and

attachments. They also tend to have several sizes in the same

envelope. Proper body measurements are a must, and you need an

experienced seamstress to do it. By the way, some of the

patterns are absolutely gorgeous - so they're worth the effort.

But not for the fainthearted!


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

If historical accuracy matters, I *highly* recommend buying the

Raiments catalog of historical patterns. There are some very

easy to use patterns for men's & women's medieval and

Renaissance garments, plus they sell readymade corsets & hoops

(for noblewomen's costumes). If you aren't too concerned with

history, look through the pattern books at your local fabric

store. The Halloween sections have many simple Robin Hood style

outfits, plus there are a few Christopher Columbus patterns

still out there. You can also modify modern patterns by

extending hemlines, adding fullness to sleeves, cutting pants

into breeches, and making vests lace up instead of button. The

books _Elizabethan Costuming_ and _After a Fashion_ both have

great tips on modifying modern patterns to create historical



From: (Trystan L. Bass)


Winter, Janet and Carolyn Savoy. _Elizabethan Costuming for the

Years 1550-1580_ 1987. Other Times Productions, 386 Alcatraz

Ave., Oakland, CA 94618. Available from the publisher and from

Raiments (see catalog list). Includes pattern diagrams,

detailed instructions, and lots of helpful drawings. Perfect

for beginners.

Grimble, Frances. _After a Fashion: How to Reproduce, Restore,

and Wear Vintage Styles_ 1993. Lavolta Press, 20 Meadowbrook

Dr., San Francisco, CA 94132. Available from the publisher and

from Raiments (see catalog list). Very useful overview of

historical styles, including Medieval and Renaissance. Tons of

wonderful sewing, pattern modifying, and clothes re-modeling


Holkeboer, Kathleen. _Patterns for Theatrical Costume_

Available in bookstores and from Raiments. Scale-able grid

diagrams of patterns for historical costume from Ancient Egypt

through 20th century (men and women). The Medieval and

Renaissance patterns are attractive and give options for several

different styles.



I highly recommend picking up a copy of "Elizabethan Costuming".

It is by far the best practical book for Elizabethan costuming

of all classes. It includes info on dress, hair styles, and

head coverings.


From: Victoria (address unknown)

The best place to get authentic patterns for the 16th Century is

from a book by Janet Arnold - ["Patterns of Fashion", published

in 1985 by Macmillan London Limited]. What she does is take

REAL clothing from the period, carefully studies it and makes

actual patterns from the original garments. In the book there

are a series of pattern drawings from her research. Of course,

these are to scale, and you'd have to get your own pattern paper

(or butcher's paper) to redraw the patterns - but it includes a

number of mens and womens' and children's outfits - plus it has

photographs of the actual pieces - including some close-ups of

the insides...amazing detail information that will make any

costumer drool.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

The only way to get really period garb is to sew it yourself, of

course. If you're going for a very early period &/or for

peasant classes, the clothes are pretty easy to make & you could

round up everyone you know & have sewing parties. When doing

period events with non-costumer folk, it's always a good idea to

make it as easy & comfortable for them as possible. You might

not want to stress historical accuracy if you're dealing with

people who rarely wear anything but jeans and sneakers!


3.5: I can't sew on a button. Where can I buy medieval


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Look in regular clothing stores for things with a Medieval or

Renaissance flair. Women look for: long velvet gowns with

fitted bodices, long sleeves, and full skirts; velvet or

tapestry vests (especially those that lace up the front),

peasant blouses, ruffled blouses, long skirts. Men look for:

full pirate-style shirts, velvet tunics, velvet or tapestry or

leather vests, baggy trousers, boots. For simple peasant

outfits, go to thrift and second-hand stores for gauzy peasant

blouses, pirate shirts, long cotton skirts, and leather boots

and belts.


From: (Anne Reynolds)

For about the past eight years, I've KNOWN what I wanted my

wedding dress to be like. If you look in french books of hours,

you see it all over the place - it's sort of an A-line dress

except much more fitted in the chest/rib cage area, scoop

neckline, fitted sleeves, huge skirt and train. Then, while

flipping through some bridal magazines, I saw this one

bridesmaid's dress, and I just kept coming back to it. So

finally I said to myself, "if you don't go try on that dress,

you'll never be happy with any other dress, not even your dream

dress." So I went to a store and tried it on - just that one

and no other. I just about cried at how pretty I FELT when I

put it on. Especially when the saleslady pulled out *the

perfect veil* to wear with it. It was THE DRESS after all. As

an added plus, since it was labelled as a bridesmaid's dress, it

was cheap compared to most wedding gowns. I paid about $400 for

the dress and veil which was less than I had planned to spend

making my original dream dress.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Check out local costume rental shops -- this way bridal party

members & guests don't have to pay for whole outfits they'll

never wear again. Also, take a look through thrift shops for

accessories like belts, cups, jewelry, etc. BTW, a decent

costume shop will be as "approximately period" as any of the

readymade supposedly period clothes I've ever seen for sale!)

Some stores will even sell you the costumes, if you want to keep

them or make alterations. One warning -- do not expect to be

able to do this in October. Costume shops are swamped in

October (for Halloween), so prices go up and selection goes



From Tina Schutte ( (Lee Spires)

I think I may have found a gown! There's a costume shop here

that supplies our local theater groups...They have something

that, although it's too big, they may be able to make me a copy

in the colors and fabrics I choose. Now I've got to pick

fabrics, check costs, and pray it can be done in the time I've



From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Ask everyone you know if they have anything in their closets.

People who do living history sometimes get tired of their

costumes and sell them. Place a small ad in the local

costumer's guild, Renaissance guild, and SCA newsletters. Ask

around on and alt.renaissance.faires, too (these are

also good places to search for a costumer/seamstress).


From (Lanfear)

I contacted my local SCA chapter and arranged to have our

wedding outfits made by someone into costuming. We made sure

they were done period so that we could use them for later Faires

and events. She went to the fabric distrinct in downtown LA and

found an elegant wool imported from England at only $5 a yard.

The total cost on our outfits was $350.


From (Aliesha A. Murray)

For the costumes, we're getting a costumer who's also involved

with local Renaissance festivals. Groomsmens outfits will be

about $65 to rent, bridesmaids about $100, groom about $100 (his

costume is more elaborate). The people we're working with are

actually willing to make the clothes to our specifications, then

rent them to us. This way they get to keep the clothes and rent

them out to other people later. You may be able to get a

costumer to do this, too, especially if they do weddings a lot.

These people are also willing to make my dress, and they said

that if they can't do it then they know people from the Ren

Faire who can. If you have a Ren. Faire in your area I

definitely recommend going there, if only just to get some

ideas. By the way, we're sticking with tunics for the men and

princess-seamed dresses for the women. That way the men don't

have to wear tights, and princess dresses look good on almost

any body type. We're going with capes, too. They look really



From: (Jason L)

One of my best friends is a costumer who happens to specialize

in renaissance costumes. He agreed to do our outfits as well as

clothe the rest of the wedding party and our parents. He worked

with us to design our clothing and incorporate our ideas. After

several discussions and much research, he did some renderings to

show what the final product would look like. We then went

shopping for fabrics and trims, and then he went to WORK. The

final version exceeded our expectations! They were simply

marvelous! Without his support and well-stocked closet, I don't

think we could have done it. All told, he provided 22 costumes

-- the ones he made for us (which we kept) and 20 others that he

either pulled from or made for his stock.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Check with local theatrical companies and college theater

departments to see if they've done any Shakespearean plays

recently and want to sell their costumes. This is a long shot,

but it doesn't hurt to ask. Also check to see if they have

particular times when everything in the wardrobe's up for sale

(some places do this once a year as a fund-raiser).


3.6: Does anybody know of a catalog which offers readymade but

affordable period clothes? I can't possibly sew for



There are a number of mailorder companies that carry readymade

period clothing. Some will even rent clothing. See the list

of catalogs in this faqsheet.


3.7: Does anyone know of good Web sites regarding medieval


From: (Mark.S Harris)

You might check the CLOTHING section of my SCA Rialto files at: The

file patterns-msg details a number of modern patterns that can

be modified to medieval style clothing. I believe there is

another file that lists the names and addresses of various

merchants selling medieval patterns. There are various other

files on making gloves, headgear, shoes, undergarments and other

clothing apparel as well as files on Scottish and Irish clothing

and other clothing files.



There is another website that I know of which offers costuming


contains directions for making Renaissance peasant clothing.

Two other sources of information about period clothing is the

Historical Costuming FAQ at and the Historic

Costume Mailing List (see following message).


From: (Diane Barlow Close)

The Historic Costume Mailing List focuses on the re-creation of

period costume, from the Bronze age to the mid-20th Century. We

discuss accurate historical reproduction of clothing, historical

techniques for garment construction, and the application of

those techniques in modern clothing design. Other topics

frequently discussed include adapting historical clothing for

the modern figure, clothing evolution, theatrical costumes,

patterns, materials, books, and sources for supplies. We have

over 600 members, of varying levels of ability, education and

interest. Members include re-creationists and reenactors of all

eras, historians, museum personnel, students and professors of

both theatre and history, and other academics, authors,

directors, dancers, professional costumers, wearable artists,

sewers interested in learning "lost" techniques, and some who

are simply "fans" of history. This is a list that brings

together many different types of people, all sharing information

and hanging out and having fun.

To join the list, send a message to:

In that message, say one of the following as the body of the


subscribe h-costume



subscribe h-costume-digest


The first will put you on the list to receive approx. 5-20

messages per day. The second will put you on the list to

receive one digest approximately every 1-5 days of the past

week's mailings.


3.8: My fiance has informed me that he hates tuxes and would

prefer to get married in a robe rather like the ones worn by

Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons. Anyone have a

clue where I would find such a beast?

From: Mistress Aidan Morgana Evans

I believe that the garment for which you search is called in

period a "loose gown". Patterns for several may be found in

"Patterns of Fashion, vol III" by Janet Arnold. The scaled

patterns may look complicated but this was the first garment

which my lord husband patterned and made for himself. Your lord

will look splendid, but don't skimp on the fabric.


3.9: Does anyone know where I could get a velvet cape? I am

thinking about an evening wedding and an off the shoulder

gown, and I get cold easily (Plus I just love them!!).

From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Capes are probably the world's easiest thing to sew -- a

beginner can do it, even in velvet (if you're patient). Many

pattern companies have simple cape patters with variations like

collars, hoods, etc. Look in the "coats" and "evening wear"

sections of pattern companies. Depending on your gown, you

might want a full-length cape or a fingertip length one or even

a short elbow length cape. It can be simple and unadorned or

you can edge it with fur, maribou, lace, ribbon, cording,

metallic braid, etc. This is *such* an easy project! Don't

waste a lot of time searching for one readymade in stores --

just go to the fabric store. And if you don't sew, ask around.

Grandmothers, older aunts, and even mothers are often of a

generation that knew how to sew. It could be a lovely wedding

present too.


4.1: What flowers can I use in my bouquet to go along with the

medieval theme of my clothing?


In a book entitled "Period Flowers", the chapters called

"Medieval Flowers" and "Renaissance" talk about the flowers

most popular during those times.


From: (Margritte)

There is a book called "Theme Gardens" that you might want to

check out. It has plans for several gardens--including a

medieval paradise garden, a Shakepeare garden, and others. It's

a wonderful place to look for lists of appropriate flowers.


From: cd055@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Jennifer Gebhardt)

Our wedding has a Celtic theme...and my bouquet will have white

roses, wine roses, thistle, and heather.



I carried a bouquet of green ivy, white sweetpeas, white roses,

and white carnations which I tied together with trailing white

and green ribbons.


From: (339R0-romanov)

Each could carry a single long-stemmed red rose trimmed with



From: (Amy E. Rottier)

I had a cascading hand bouquet with lots of ivy trailing and

many colorful flowers (I wanted garden-y type flowers, simple

and homey). The girls had large hand-tied bouquets of the same

flowers. My flower crown was BIG - but I'm a big girl, and they

balanced me out. The florist made a spray for the arch, too,

and it was incredible. Looked fantastic and drew the ceremony

place together (a single big focus point just behind us, instead

of distractions everywhere).


From: Betsy Miller <>

Here's an alternative I'm toying with (shamelessly pilfered from

Martha Stewart): Each attendant carries a bouquet made from a

single flower but using the same greenery & general shape of

bouquet. The picture I saw had one bouquet made with irises,

one with white roses, one with orange lilies, and one with a red

flower (not roses, but I can't think of what it was). It looked

really pretty, especially since all the bridesmaids had

identical gowns.


From: (Bozwin)

My attendants are each carrying a cluster of tulips tied with

ribbon. Very reasonable price at that time of year (spring).

Haven't decided yet if each will carry a different color, but

maybe. With 4, you could do the colors like winter, spring,

summer, fall.


From: (Hillary Butterfly Burgess)

Three ideas I've seen and loved: 1) A small round bouquet with

cascading ivy and ribbon (ivy is cheap filler, but beautiful,

ribbon you can get inexpensively at a craft/fabric store).

2) Long stem flowers. Tie them together with green craft wire,

wrap about 4 inches of satin ribbon around the stems (toward the

bottom) and attach a bow to the ribbon. (I like satin bows)

Add ribbons and pearls to the hanging ribbons from the bow to

make it more fancy/formal. 3) Baskets: We *might* have the

flower girls carrying small baskets filled with petals and then

have the BM carrying bigger baskets filled with flowers and

hanging ivy. My mom has bought the baskets at yardsales and

craft stores for between 25c and a buck. She will decorate them

with satin material and ribbon, then we will give them to our

florist who can make a flower arrangement for the BMs. The

florist suggested we use the BM's arrangements as table



From: (Katie Healey)

My fiance's name is ERIC, so my flowers were Edelweiss (a pain

to find in October!!!), Roses, Ivy, and Carnations. I know, it

sounds too cute for words, but I really liked it. For my

bridesmaids, I had bouquets that were virtually the same, except

for one type of flower. I found one kind of flower that means

"friendship forever" (my best friend's bouquet); another kind of

flower means "memories treasured" (for the bridesmaid who had

been a friend since before we could walk); "new friendship" for

my future SIL; etc. There are several good books on flowers

that tell about the meanings of different flowers. It's kind of

neat, once you get going. When I gave each bridesmaid her

bouquet, I included a little card that explained the meaning of

their special flower. We all cried baskets before we even left

my house!


From: Debbie McCoy <>

Ancients used herbs, not flowers, in bouquets because they felt

herbs--especially garlic--had the power to cast off evil spirits

(can you imagine walking up the aisle holding a clump of

garlic!?). If a bride carried sage (the herb of wisdom) she

became wise; if she carried dill (the herb of lust) she became

lusty. Later flowers replaced herbs and took on meanings all

their own. Orange blossoms, for example, mean happiness and

fertility. Ivy means fidelity; lillies mean purity.


From: (Jason L)

Our flower girl carried sheaves of wheat, a symbol of growth,

fertility, and renewal.


4.2: Does anyone know (or can anyone point me to a resource

for) the meanings of different flowers in a bouquet?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)

The language of the flowers is ancient and many of the symbols

have not changed. These examples come from Shakespeare:

Red rose and myrtle = I love you

Ivy with white and red flowers = marry me?

Forget-me-nots = my true love is yours

Pansies = you occupy my thoughts

Violets = I am faithful and loyal

Mint = great virtue

Sage = great respect

White and red roses = unity of purpose

Pink roses = ours must be a secret love

Marigolds = I am a jealous lover

Lavender = I distrust you

Basil = I hate you


From (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

If you are interested in creating a bouquet with a special

meaning, the following website contains a list of flowers and

their meanings:


4.3: I've found a wonderful company to make our "costumes", but

I'm not sure what to wear for a "veil". I know veils are

traditional nowadays, but our medieval wedding is anything

but. Could I wear flowers in my hair instead of a veil?

From: Debbie McCoy <>

It's not necessary to wear a veil. A veil is merely traditional

and ceremonial (although in Judaism Conservative and Orthodox

ceremonies, it's a requirement). Since your wedding sounds very

much your own, the only thing that's important is that your

headpiece (if you choose to wear one) look beautiful.


From: (Lisa Steinberg)

The veils of today have only been used for the last hundred or

so years so, by not wearing one, you aren't contradicting some

ancient tradition. I like the look of flowers scattered

throughout a hairdo--nice and whimsical.


From: Michaele Kashgarian <>

I'm planning to wear fresh flowers instead of a veil. Once I

decide on a dress, I'll try to figure out which flowers will

go with it.


From (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

Instead of a veil, I wore a wreath of fresh ivy. Anne of Cleves

(early 1500's) supposedly wore a wreath of rosemary at her



From: Deirdre Shaw <>

All the Renaissance Faires that I have been to sell wreaths made

out of dried flowers. I've usually seen a *wide* variety of

colors and flowers used, so you should be able to find something

that matches or complements what you're wearing. I've liked the

look of the flower wreaths so much that my headpiece is going to

be a wreath similar to the ones sold at the Faires.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

A wreath of flowers is a very ancient bridal headpiece. You

could also wear your hair loose, which symbolizes virginity

(married women wore their hair up and mostly covered). You

could have the bridesmaids wear their hair braided or up, to

emphasize the bride.



The headpiece I will be wearing is a wreath made of

ivory-colored flowers, with a veil attached to the back. I am

also having headpieces made by a friend of mine for my

bridesmaids. They will have different colored flowers, baby's

breath, and ribbons (which coordinate with the emerald-colored

dresses) instead of the veil.


From: (Jason L)

We adapted a Finnish tradition of the mothers crowning the bride

to give their blessing to the daughter. Andrea entered wearing

a wreath, which she gave to one of her attendants, then both

mothers came forward and put a snood and tiara on her head.


From: (Judith A. Murray)

I had my hair braided by a woman who does braiding at

renaissance faires. Flowers, pearls, but no headpiece and no

veil. It was the talk of the wedding! (I also paid to have my

sister's hair braided - her braid cost $38, and mine $50, plus I

gave her a $12 tip, making it an even $100 - this was one of my



From: (Lynn Woods)

I don't like veils either. I have really long hair and so I made

a headpiece that is three white silk rose buds, two mini-lilies,

& ivy. Draping down from the flowers is three loops of white

satin ribbon with long pearl sprays over the ribbon. It's a

little hard to describe, but the effect is similar to a veil

without having to actually endure netting or tulle or whatever

it is. It goes on the back of my head.


From: prauda@plootu.Helsinki.FI (Kristiina Prauda)

My friend Paivi's headpiece consisted of her magnificently long

and thick tawny hair styled around her head (not in braids, but

sort of tubes or rolls) and decorated with fresh ivy leaves and

individual white gladiolus flowers. It was really beautiful.

Paivi's cousin is getting married in a few weeks. I heard that

her veil is short, layered and rather fluffy and that she's

renting a headpiece from "Kalevala Koru". They make jewellery

based on actual historical jewellery findings., The headpiece is

a bronze or silver garland, and can be worn either closed,

crownlike on top of the head, or open at the end, tiara-like.


From: Kari Astley <>

I decided to get a head band with a tear drop pearl in front

because I've always loved the look (sort of like a mythic

princess). I would highly recommend trying some on and then

finding someone to make the one you want. I had no idea what I

was looking for till I tried some on. It's amazingly easy to

have someone make one, and that way you get exactly what you

want. Also, the price for mine was incredible, it was cheaper

than it would have been had I bought one in a store.


From: prauda@plootu.Helsinki.FI (Kristiina Prauda)

We had a formal evening reception with a medieval-ish theme. I

made a veil for myself. I borrowed a small gold-and-rhinestone

tiara from a theatre and added a two-layered, gathered tulle

veil with narrow gold thread edging starting straight from the

tiara. The upper layer went to my waist and served as a blusher;

the other layer went down to the hem of my gown (no train). I

had always known I wanted a long, big veil, but I hate the look

of those white pearl-and-sequin headpieces. Nor was I too keen

on fresh flowers, because I think they look best with no veil at

all (with very well styled hair). The tiara was perfect with my

gold-accented silk gown.


4.4 I would like to use a garland of ivy as a headpiece, as it

is symbolic of good luck and all. I have an ivy plant, and

I wonder if just cutting off a long extension of the plant

and forming it into a circle would work. Any advice?

From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

That's what I did. I cut off a long vine of ivy from a plant I

had been growing for some time. I wound it around about three

times, tucking it every so often so that I didn't need to use

wire or ties to keep it together. It worked great, and it held

up fantastically! I was able to wear it a week later to the

renaissance fair! After that, however, the leaves began to brown

and fall off.


From: (Q2 USA)

Use a piece of flexible wire and wrap it from end to end with

white or green floral tape. Form it into a circle the size of

which sits on your head where you'd like it. Secure the two

ends together with floral tape. The morning of your wedding,

gently secure the ivy strand to the circle in several places

with floral tape. Leave it in the refrigerator, maybe on top

of a wet cloth in a tupperware container. You could add colored

ribbons, pearls, cords, tulle or silk flowers to the headband as

to your taste.


4.5: Help! I am allergic to flowers and I cannot figure out

how to replace them in my wedding. I am having a medieval

theme. Are there any suggestions?

Diana Ewing <> wrote:

If your wedding is in the evening, why not a candle instead of

flowers. I can't think of anything more romantic.


From: (Jenette Lynn Cowie)

Are you allergic to dried flowers? Some dried flowers are very

beautiful, and go well with many themes. If this doesn't work,

maybe you could consider using several candles.


From: prauda@kruuna.Helsinki.FI (Kristiina Prauda)

If you cannot use any real flowers even in decorations, there is

always silk ivy. Ivy (and other greenery) has often been

suggested in these groups for medieval-style decorations, and

silk ivy doesn't look as fake as silk flowers sometimes do. It

actually looks very good in long garlands and thick branches

around the room (and high on the walls, if possible). There are

so many possibilities for medieval decorations that flowers are

not at all necessary: candles, candelabras, banners, shields,

tapestries... And if flowers are not completely forbidden, as

long as they're not close to you, maybe you could have an

arrangement on the altar (if it is a church wedding). As for you

and your possible bridesmaids, you could carry candles. Or

maybe your bridesmaids could also be readers for the ceremony

and carry fancy scrolls with ribbons, with their texts written

in the scrolls?


5.1: Can you give me some ideas of where we might hold our

medieval wedding reception?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Look for buildings in stone, half-timbered wood, brick, or very

rural. Find out about historic homes in your area, especially

those with a Tudor or English cottage or castle look. Outdoors

settings are perfect for a spring/summer Medieval wedding. If

you have the space, a big white tent would be nice & could be

decked out with banners & garlands.


From: "John A. Resotko" <>

Some possibilities we've considered:

1) Renting the Special Events pavilion at a Renaissance Faire

and holding the ceremony and reception there.

2) Finding a replica castle, keep, or gatehouse for the wedding

and catering the reception at a nearby hall (there are many

places scattered throughout the U.S. where people have created

their own castles, keeps, and medieval-looking buildings.)

3) Finding a particularly gothic church for the ceremony and

catering the reception at a nearby hall.


From (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

Although we wound up having our reception in the Executive

Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, we first considered having

it on the wooded grounds of a rural church. Had we done that,

we were visualizing a ceremony under the trees, followed by a

pigroast, picnic and dancing in the grass. Another place we

considered was a 15th century chapel transported from France and

erected on the Marquette University campus here in Milwaukee,

but it was too small for our ceremony much less our reception.


From: Patricia D. Mooney

We were married in the manor-like HyeHolde Restaurant, amid

tapestries and wood beams and candles. Perfect for setting the



From: (Renee Ann Byrd)

A 1993 wedding I attended had a bit of medieval flavor to it.

The Episcopalian wedding was held in a well-hidden replica of a

14th century Scottish chapel.


From: (Miche)

A couple of years ago I attended a medieval-style wedding which

was held in a scout hall.


From: (June Petersen)

We had the wedding at an historic adobe in Milpitas (Higuera

Adobe) outdoors. We rented tables and chairs and had my friend,

a florist, put up and decorate an arch for the "altar".


From: (Jason L)

After a couple of research trips to Santa Barbara, CA, we

settled on an outdoor location in Scofield Park in the hills

above the Santa Barbara Mission. Scofield has several green

fields surrounded by hills and trees with virtually no buildings

visible from the park. We were able to rent two adjacent 'Group

Sites' for $100. We used the more wooded one for the wedding,

and the other more open field for the reception area. We used

the picnic tables for the reception. We set two across one end

for the 'head table' and two rows leading away from the head

table like the arrangement in an old English manor house. That

left a 'playing' area in-between the rows of tables for the



From: ???????????????

I have done several renaissance weddings and am planning another

for my daughter. She will be getting married in a CASTLE! The

ceremony will be at night -- by candlelight -- and AFTER the

reception instead of before. We will party for a day, do the

rehearsal, then end the weekend with the candlelight wedding.



My fiance and I are having our medieval wedding at a place

called The Mansion in Pearl River, New York. It is modeled after

an Irish castle, complete with authentic stone work, oak

paneling, and stained glass windows. The manager, when asked if

we could have a medieval wedding, replied, "Why not? We've done

it before!"


From: Gwalhafed <> (Andrew)

For those getting married in Europe, have the wedding in a

Castle. Many of the more intact castles in the UK hire out their

banquet halls for functions. Some of the very intact ones hold

their own banquets regularly. A couple of friends just had a

high medieval Arthurian wedding at Caerphilly castle in south

Wales. It is worth bearing in mind that you have to book a long

way in advance and many castles that are open to the public are

only available in the evenings (though you will usually be able

to use the kitchens all day). Last time I was involved in

booking Caerphilly it cost 500 pounds to hire from 5.30 till

midnight with use of the kitchens all day. In the UK the best

people to contact if you don't have a particular castle in mind

would be English, Scottish or Cadw (welsh) heritage. For those

who can't use a real castle you can do wonders with some ivy,

candles, a few shields and some banners.


From: (John)

My lady and I have reserved the Great Stone Castle in which to

hold our wedding next year. The GreatStone Castle resides in

Sidney, Ohio and was constructed in 1895. It is complete with

turrents and a full wrap around porch. Inside it is richly

finished with all types of exotic hardwoods from around the

world. It is 4 stories of approximately 8000 sq. ft. The entire

upper level is reserved as the ballroom. Unfortunately this is

being renovated and will not be ready for our occassion. Our

wedding will be held in the front living area on the first floor

in front of a large fireplace. This will give my lady (Peg) the

opportunity to descend the grand staircase and make quite an

entrance. The castle sits atop a hill overlooking the downtown

area of Sidney. The grounds are very well kept with gardens and

shaded by many 100+ year old oak trees. There is a long winding

drive approaching from the rear of the castle, a great place for

a sendoff(?!!).


From: (magda)

I'm having my wedding at a beautiful woman's club that will be

decorated in a medieval way. We WERE going to have it either at

the Tarrytown Castle or the Lyndhurst Castle in Tarrytown, NY,

but decided to stay in NJ. There's also a cool historical place

in Ho-Ho-kus, NJ called the Hermitage. People should call their

town halls for historical info. Also they should try their

state's own bridal magazines. New Jersey Brides provided me

with my consultant, caterer, hall and musicians.


From: Leigh Ann ( (LASCHLORFF)

I used the Boston Wedding Directory which lists many area

reception sites. It lists in all price ranges and is sectioned

by areas like Boston, Greater Boston, Northshore, etc.


From: Gretchen (

If you go to the Massachusetts State House Bookstore, they can

sell you a booklet called "Historic places for historic parties"

for $4.00 (I think). I was amazed at what is available for

party rental. Everything from the Aquarium to historic homes.

I used it to find my site.


From: (Aliesha A. Murray)

We're having our wedding at the Medieval Times in New Jersey.

They have a jousting show with a huge meal (you eat with your

hands), and the price per head was actually cheaper than what

I'd be able to get for an equivalent amount of food (hors

d'oeuvres buffet, sit down dinner, fruit with the cake) in my

area. The price they quoted us was $68.50/person, and we're

getting an hors d'oeuvres buffet before the show, the standard

Medieval times dinner and show, fruit, open beer, wine and soda

with a champagne toast. They're even making the cake to look

exactly like the Medieval Times castle! They also have private

rooms (and semi-private areas for small parties like ours), and

most of the decorations are already done for you. Since they do

weddings a lot, the party manager is really helpful, and they

have locations all over the country.


From: (Charatae)

My fiance are planning a Mediaeval/Celtic wedding ceremony to be

done in my parents front yard between two trees. As the "altar"

we are driving my fiance's 6 foot Claymore sword into the



From: (Orilee Ireland-Delfs)

When my protege got married, the wedding was outside in her

sister's backyard with pavilions set up to provide shade for the

wedding itself, the cooks, and for the guests to dine under.

The main pavilion was decorated with large baskets of flowers

and an aisle was created with flowered garlands on poles and

large standing wooden candle holders.


From: (L. Andrade)

The wedding ceremony and reception were held at the bride's

parents' home. This saved Dee considerable money and also

allowed for plenty of time to decorate the house and backyard.

The house was simply gorgeous (being only two years old,

designed and built by her parents). The backyard was spacious

and had several dozen white rose bushes and other potted plants

that added splashes of color. There was a swimming pool with a

fountain placed in it for the wedding. Fortunately nobody fell

in but I was a bit worried during the reception when people were

dancing around.


5.2: Is it possible to have a wedding at a renaissance faire?

From: (JaZzY) (Gwen)

My fiance and I are planning our wedding for next August at the

New York Renaissance Faire in Sterling Forest, NY. We can have

it in a field or on a stage. There is a queen's banquet in the

afternoon which allows for wedding guests at group rates. We

will have the reception there.


From: (Stephen Decovic)

Texas Ren Faire (located 1 hour north of Houston, Tx) does a

wonderful medieval wedding. It includes a ceremony at a wood

beam frame chapel (open to sky and covered in flowering vines),

a wedding parade and food (I think). For more information call



From: (Derly N. Ramirez II )

The Texas Renaissance Festival, located in Magnolia, Texas

(about 30 miles north of Houston) does weddings during the run

of the fair. They have several wedding packages and price

ranges. The price includes admission to the fair for the

wedding party and a ride in the Grande Marche for the bride and

groom. Options include wedding performed in the chapel, horse

drawn carriage for the bride. reception in the Italian gardens

(a private dining area), and full catering. The weddings must

be reserved in advance, and last year all but one slot was sold.

Performers attend the wedding adding a nice feel to the



From: (Bruce Albrecht)

There was a wedding at Bristol (WI) RF. I know the Queen was

in attendance.


From: (Lanfear)

I contacted the business offices of the RPFS and found that they

had an area in the back part of the Faire set aside for

weddings. The cost was $500 and the area was very pretty and

included hay bales for guests to sit on, table to serve the

reception, and a flower-covered arch under which we could have

the wedding. If I recall, the rental paid for 4 hours of use.



At the RPFN this year, there will be a REAL wedding in complete

period garb and, as much as possible, a complete Elizabethan

type ceremony...with mods to make it 20th century LEGAL.


From: (Wendy Strader)

For those people who attend the RPFI faires, you know that

Deidre in PAD makes reservations for the wedding garden at both

Northern and Southern faires. This year RPFS had an herb garden

as a backround for weddings. Linda Underhill of LHC is a

minister and she also advises as to what would be appropriate

for a "period" wedding. Contact either one of these ladies for

advice. Deidre can be reached at RPFI and Linda can be

contacted at 415-459-5123.


From: Robert Fogle <>

I know King Richard's Faire in Carver, MA does weddings.


From: "Frank Caddeo <FRANK@UMBC2.UMBC.EDU>

The Maryland RenFest does weddings. The wedding takes place at

a small chapel set back in the trees in a shaded part of the

festival. The reception is next door at The Dragon Inn. This

is 3500 Sq Ft of deck. It is a very nice area, also set back in

the woods. They have an extensive costume wardrobe. Food and

drink available to the celebrants include Turkey Legs, Steak on

a Stake, Knave Sandwhiches (Italian Sausage) Popovers, soda,

lemonade, ice tea, and your choice of beer served on the

grounds. Generally a minstral or two will wander throughout the



From: (Crowesnest)

Part of my job is being the event coordinator for weddings &

special events at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. If you

want info from that perspective, just drop me a line and I'll

try to respond...or you can call me at my office (800) 296-7304.

My name is C.J.


5.3: I've been asked to decorate the reception hall for a

friend of mine having a medieval style wedding. Does

anyone know of any herbs/plants/assorted greenery that

would be appropriate? I would appreciate any ideas as to

how to decorate this hall.

From: (Dorothy J Heydt)

Well, the bad news is--some people in our area were asked this

question a while back and did the research--that it is not

period at all to decorate the interior of a building with vases

of flowers. That is a *Victorian* practice; our people even

came up with the name of the lady who first did it, but I've

forgotten it. The good news is that almost nobody knows this.

You *could* do whatever you think looks nice and you can afford.

I would suggest cutting evergreen branches and decking the

rafters with them, and garlands of flowers for the heads of the

wedding party. The most impressive way to decorate the

reception hall, in my opinion, is to borrow personal banners,

those of your group and neighboring shires, etc., and deck the

walls with those. Lotsa color. For my wedding, we decked the

church (ugly bare concrete) with banners and put garlands on the

heads of the wedding party.


From: (Amypamy)

We had real ivy that I had cut from a friend's yard wrapped

around the tent poles everywhere. We had shields with our

mutual coats of arms painted on and hung above our seats. I

bought burgundy and forest green table runners for the head

tables and ivory table cloths with pansies in baskets as

centerpieces. I can't wait for pictures!!!


From: (L. Andrade)

At my friend Dee's medieval wedding (which was held at her

home), there were tapestries hanging on the walls, black iron

candle holders placed throughout the front rooms and on the

walls (she found some of them at a garage sale for 50 cents

each!), and medieval-style flags hanging out in the backyard

from the fenceposts. She also borrowed a hand-made suit of

armour from a member of the SCA. I highly suggest this route if

you want some medieval-ish decorations or clothing. These

people are very proud of their handcrafted work, and most won't

mind showing it off by sharing it with you. She didn't even

remotely know this man and he still freely offered the use of

his armour and a sword, shield, and crossbow as well.


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

I borrowed a suit of armor from a sister-in-law who borrowed it

from a friend-of-a-friend. No matter that the armor was really

a keg in disquise and that, if anyone had lifted the knight's

codpiece, they would have discovered a strategically-placed

spigot! Anyways, that suit of armor was the hit of the evening

as well as the site of many a posed picture! We also borrowed

three banners from some friends who purchased them at a

Renaissance Faire, and we hung them over the buffet table at

the reception.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

Banners can be put together with fusible interfacing or glue

(although sewing looks nicer). All you need is cheap, colorful

fabrics, and maybe a few tassel or fringe trims. You can get

designs from any heraldry book in the library -- use a

photocopier to enlarge the designs. One book I recommend is

"Design Your Own Coat of Arms: An Introduction to Heraldry" by

Chorzempa, Rosemary A. (1987, Dover Publications, Inc.).

Available at art supply stores and bookstores. Lots of design

elements, clearly drawn, perfect for creating decorations that

reflect your interests and heritage.


From: (Amy E. Rottier)

We had a friend draw our coat-of-arms on shields that my fiance

cut out of plywood and sanded just right (with beveled edge and

everything!). She is also making a hanging sign for the house

(where we're having the wedding) out of wood. We're going to

sew up some banners this weekend!


From: Lee Spires <> (Tina Schutte)

We've decided to put hanging banners with my family crest along

the bride's side of the room and his family crest on his side as

well as on the groomsmen's surcoats. We'll also use our

combined crest/shield on a banner to introduce *our* new family.

We may have a couple of the ushers/groomsmen carry a banner on a

post (one of his & one of mine) during the processional and

present them to our fathers as a sign that we're giving them

back their names/households in order to begin one of our own.


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

You could place the table for the wedding party in front of a

wall and hang your family crest/banners behind the chairs where

you will each sit. Or, if you mounted them on poles or on

trumpets carried by 'heralds', they could lead you to wherever

you are headed, such as the altar, the banquet table, or your

awaiting carriage. Very regal-looking!


From: (Amy E. Rottier)

My MOH had made a styrofoam castle as a centerpiece for our

shower. We cut a slot in the top of it and used it as a card



From: (Trystan L. Bass)

You can use flowers and greenery as decorations, particularly in

garlands and swags. Dried flowers are also good. Candlelight

and/or firelight is a nice touch. Baskets decorated with

greenery and dried flowers are also good choices.



I ordered (from Past Times catalog) beautiful hunter green

candles with gold Fleur de Lys on them and what they call

Medieval candles, which are white with an ornate design on them.

We also purchased banners at the New York Renaissance Fair to

hang on the walls. I picked up a book called "Heraldry: A

Pictorial Archive For Artists and Designers" by Arthur Charles

Fox-Davies, which we will use to make plywood shields to be



From: (Jason L)

We designed several banners that I sewed together, and we ringed

the site [in a park] with rope with strips of cloth tied-on

every foot or so. I also put together three grapevine arches

festooned with ribbons. We had a vine arch at the entrance to

the wedding field, one behind the wedding itself, and one at the

entrance to the reception field.) Vine arches are a symbol of

growth, fertility, and renewal. Also, when you pass through an

arch it is an entrance to a new world.


5.4: Can you recommend any activities, besides dancing, for our


From: (Orilee Ireland-Delfs)

The afternoon activities at a wedding I attended consisted of a

tournament for the bride's garter (the winner of the tourney won

her garter), a fencing tournament, archery, and a small court

conducted by the bride and groom before they left.


From: (Anna Welborne)

My husband was dressed like Henry VIII, and in that famous

portrait (hands on hips), Henry is wearing two garters. So, at

the reception, I threw my bouquet, and he threw _his_ garter!

It was such a hoot!


From: Patricia D. Mooney

Between courses at the meal, we invited guests to entertain with

stories, juggling, poetry, etc. -- our medieval cookbook had

mentioned entertainment between courses, we liked the idea. And

it sure beats the normal sobby wedding toasts (we couldn't

completely avoid them, though!).


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

To entertain people, we had jugglers and devil-stickers. You

might also consider 3 or 4 strolling minstrels, either playing

together or each playing to separate tables.


From: (Jason L)

During the reception, two of the musicians suprised us by

binding our hands with a flowered band and singing a song about

love to us. Very nice. Binding the hands of the bride and groom

symbolizes the joining of the bride and groom into a new family.


From: ??????????

We're thinking of including a maypole dance in the festivities.

Our thought was to use different coloured ribbons to represent

each family name and have them woven together to represent the

bonding of both families.


From: (Tien-Yee Chiu)

I, er, do hope that you are, um...*aware* of what a Maypole

symbolizes and that it's probably a powerful fertility blessing.

The Maypole is essentially a large ritual phallus--check

virtually any book on old English customs. There's speculation

that the ribbon-weaving dance was originally a form of elaborate

foreplay, with the men and women getting much, much *much*

closer to each other as the ribbons were woven...Since May Day

is/was the pagan holiday sacred to sexual desire, this doesn't

seem all that unlikely. (The female correspondent to the

Maypole was the May basket (womb), carried by women and filled

with flowers that day. The May basket seems to have fallen out

of favor, though...leaving just the Maypole.) That being said,

it sounds like a marvelous "uniting" ceremony. You just might

want to be aware of the sexual overtones--if any of your guests

are aware of pagan tradition, they may have a hard time avoiding



From: (Amypamy)

We painted a natural gas tank that was in the [reception] area

green and put a dragon head and tail on it. We asked folks to

name the dragon. We read all the names, picked the ones we

liked best, then had a "clapping of hands" response to the

names. The winner won two tickets to the Renaissance Festival!



Some friends of mine had a Renaissance-style wedding a couple of

years ago. The reception was themed as a masked ball (so the

family and friends could wear any costume they wanted). There

were enough masks on each table that everyone could wear one and

take it home as a keepsake. The wearing of masks was prevalent

throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, especially during the

Carnival season. The film "Much Ado About Nothing" (the Branagh

version) has a very nice masked party. The Liz Taylor-Richard

Burton version of Taming of the Shrew has a Carnival procession

wandering through Padua. And of course, there's Zefirelli's

Romeo and Juliet, where R&J meet at a masked party.


From: (Jason L)

Three people from SCA did a sword 'fight' concerning the meaning

of "Love" as part of the entertainment.



My brother and I engaged in a sword fight (covering our sibling

rivalry through the years). Alas, an excess of mead was taken

on both parts and his hand was broken, which I feared would

place a damper on the festivities but lo' he was of good humor

that day and I escaped intact with my beautious bride!


5.5: If you have an interesting idea for favors for my medieval

wedding reception, please tell me!

From: (Q2 USA)

In my experience, favors at weddings are a relatively recent

addition. They probably became popular because people got tired

of the common personalized matches (with the social climate

becoming smoke-prohibitive, especially). I don't think that

these matchbooks were even meant as favors originally- they were

just a nice touch for the smoking guests to use at the wedding.


From: (Selene Herself)

Remember, favors are not required at all. They are more

meaningful to people if they see a connection to you somehow.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

In the world of chivalry, a favor was often a lady's scarf or

handkerchief, which she gave to her lover before he went into a

battle or joust. At Renaissance faires, favors are small

pendants, ribbons, rosettes, tassels, or other wearable trinkets

often given by the nobility. These favors represent the esteem

and affection of the giver for the recipient. Some other favor


Parchment scrolls printed with a favorite poem and tied

with velvet ribbon

Miniature wreaths of dried flowers and herbs

Quill pens with a clever note attached

Velvet pouches filled with potpourri

Small flasks of mead or fruit wine

Tickets to a local Ren. faire (you might get a group rate)


From: (Kris Jachens)

How 'bout ribbon rosettes? I'd think any of the things that

people wear and give each other as friendship tokens at Faire

would be appropriate. I like the rosettes because they can be

as simple or as ornate as you like, can be made pretty easily,

and could be relatively inexpensive if you can catch sales at

craft fabric stores.


From: (Barbara J. Carter)

* You could buy flower seeds (in bulk) and have a print shop

print up medieval-looking envelopes for the seeds, maybe with

your SCA arms or a picture of a happy couple in medieval dress.

* You could print up parchment scrolls, maybe with a love sonnet

or just a medieval-sounding "hear-ye" kind of announcement.

Roll up and tie with ribbons.

* Gold-foil-wrapped chocolate "coins", custom imprinted with a

suitably medieval-looking phrase.

* For the sewing-machine set, you could make miniature (or

full-sized) "jester's caps" out of parti-colored fabric in the

wedding colors. Jingle bells on the tips add a special touch,

and then the guests can ring their bells to get the newlyweds to

kiss (instead of tapping their glasses). You could even require

that someone "cut a caper" or tell a joke in order to get you to


* For those more interested in fantasy stuff: glass hand-blown

unicorns or other little figurines of glass or pewter (elves,

wizards, etc) can be fun little keepsakes, though this might get



From: Ulrika O'Brien <>

How about hand-made pomanders? Take a small citrus fruit

(tangerine, perhaps), tie it up with appropriate ribbons, and,

with a bow at the top, also make a wrist loop of ribbon so that

wedding attendants can wear the pomander if they wish, then

pierce the skin of the fruit that's still exposed between the

ribbons with whole cloves to cover. The pomander should dry out

over time to make a keepsake, and they smell wonderful fresh.

A bit expensive to do for more than the main wedding party,

though, unless it's a small wedding (it takes a lot of cloves).


From: Dawn Marie Neuhart <>

We are having little brass bells. They are about 3 inches high

and are really cute. We're putting ribbons in our colors (one

thermographed with our names on one end and the date on the

other) on them as well. We thought that people could ring them

instead of clanging their glasses. They were very inexpensive

too, the bells were $1 each, and the ribbon was .50 for 8 yards,

and the thermography was $12 for 50 of them.


From: Jeneen Burton <>

I did a little thank you scroll and rolled it up with a gold

ring around it. I bought some parchment paper to print it on

and used my laser printer.


From: Barbara Jean Kuehl <bj>

We set up a table at the entrance to the reception room and

placed on it small parchment scrolls tied with green ribbons.

Each scroll had the name of a specific guest (or couple) on it.

The message on the scroll thanked them for sharing our wedding

with us, invited them to eat, drink and be merry, and informed

them discretely that drinks were 'on the manor'.


From: (none)

Scrolls for weddings are usually about 4" by 6" and are rolled

up and held together with fake gold/silver bands or rings that

you can purchase at just about any craft store.


From: Lisa R Kouvolo <>

I think that a parchment scroll done in Canterbury font (like

the old-style block printing done when the monks first started

making printed books) would be nice.


From: "'Jherek' W. Swanger" <>

In the late Renaissance and Elizabethan periods, one gave

leather gloves to all the guests. Nosegays might be an idea

too. (I've seen many, many references to rosemary being carried

at late period weddings.)


From: Dawn Marie Neuhart <>

I saw some little plastic "glass" slippers in the craft store.

[For people having a medieval fantasy wedding] you could fill

them up with Hershey's kisses or something.


From: (ChrisAnthony)

My favors are going to be small (4 inch diameter) grapevine

wreaths decorated with dried flowers. I'm putting the place

cards in the center so they will do double-duty.


From: "D. Peters" <>

I would suggest bags of confits (hard candies popular among the

Elizabethans). "Dining with William Shakespeare" discusses the

Elizabethan fondness for these goodies (ever wonder why QEI had

black teeth?) and mentions, if I remember correctly, that bags

of confits might be given out at the end of a feast or exchanged

amongst friends.


From: (Anna Welborne)

We used ribbons to define the alliances of families. For

example, those of the bride's side wore small ribbons of pink

and white. Those of the groom's wore green and cream. Many have

told me they have kept the ribbons as Christmas ornaments - just

tiny streamers. It was neat for our families. One would see to

which side they belonged & then inquire about the relationship.

We distributed the ribbons at the guest register. One person was

totally responsible for explaining the tradition and helping to

pin the ribbons on. We got the idea from the fact that brides

were sometimes stripped at the altar by the men getting favors.

We found a picture of a girl worshipping the Virgin Mary

(presumably before her nuptials), and her sleeves and bodice

were totally be-ribboned to avoid being stripped.


From: Lisa R Kouvolo <>

I've seen Christmas decorations shaped like lutes that could be

decorated in one's wedding colors. They could be purchased at

an after-Christmas sale from one of those all-Christmas stores.


From: Lisa Livingston <>

I was perusing a book called Crafting with Lace and it spoke

about the history of Lace making and just how valuable lace was

during the time of Catherine of Aragon, Catherine de Medici,

Elizabeth I, etc. It then occured to me that favors made with

lace would not then be out of character for a Medieval wedding.

So, lace "pockets" filled with Chocolate (for a Medieval Spain

themed wedding) would work or Potpourri for an Tudor English

wedding. Anything trimmed with lace would also work, like

handkerchiefs or scarves. The more lace you could afford to

give away, the wealthier you would be in those lace

makes a nice gift for wedding guests.


From: Lisa Livingston <>

You could make chocolate favors in the shape of dragons or

castles, though you might need to cast the molds for these

yourself...which is going to be the tricky part. Some rubber

stamps have dragons etc on them which can serve as a template,

but you would have to make a mold from it that would be

chocolate resistant.


From: Lisa Livingston <>

There are several small ribbon embroidery kits with dragons and

castles as are there books with Celtic designs. With ingenuity,

a bookmark or some small keepsake could be made from these.

Handkerchiefs would be appropriate, too. Put the family coat of

arms (or something) on it and make your guests swear fealty to

you. BTW, if you go the embroidery route, best leave a lot of

time or hold the guest list down.



My friend had bookmarks made to give to guests. She had a friend

who's a graphic designer create a logo for their wedding. A bit

over the top for me, personally, but it added a sort of unified

theme to the celebration and all the printed material (program,

invites, thank yous).



How about lavendar stems shaped into a heart shape? I like this

idea because lavendar is a symbol of luck, and if you pack it

away with your winter clothes, it is supposed to keep the bugs




My fiance and I checked out a place called "The Sequin Garden"

located in Carlstadt, NJ. They do personalized favors. If you

go there with a unusual or specific idea, they will check their

sources and make up something for you. Right now they're in the

process of checking on medieval-looking ornaments for us to give

out as favors. When we were there last time, they showed us an

ornament they made for Christmas (approximately $6.50). It was a

gold cherub with dried flowers glued to it.



At my friend's Renaissance-style wedding, the reception was

themed as a masked ball (so the family and friends could wear

any costume they wanted). There were enough masks on each table

that everyone could wear one and take it home as a keepsake.


From: ???????????????????

I have friends who are potters and threw 250 mugs for their

favors. I was lucky enough to get some of the leftovers, which I

use everyday for my morning tea. Obviously not everyone can do

this, but I thought it was a neat, off beat idea.


From: (Rachel Goodstein)

We're hopefully going to have mugs with our names and the

wedding date on it. i figure mugs are something people can use.

DO NOT get them from an invitations specialist 'cause they are a

LOT more money..we are going through a business for companies.


From: whh@PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt)

Lord Iulstan Sigewealding and his lady, Juturna the Musical,

were married at the end of June. As a very nice touch for the

wedding feast, they got a lot of wooden plates for the feast and

then gifted them to the wedding guests afterwards.


From: ()

The best idea I've seen so far is a nicely decorated bushel

basket full of different color and scent votive candles,

stationed by the table with the guest book and place cards.

Guests can take a candle as they enter or leave the reception.


From Beth (

My sister made the favors. She started with small candles (6"

tapers). Each candle had a piece of lace wrapped around it and

tied into a bow. A small piece of baby's breath was tied into

the bow. These were done in my wedding colors (pink candles

with white lace). They looked very nice and were quick to make.


From: (Los Trancos Systems)

We are both crazy about candles and even have some candle making

equipment. Hence, we are going to make small candles in a

meaningful shape to give as favors. Can make them months in



From: (Chris Petersen)

For my wedding this June, my mom is making the favors. We came

up with small, ivory. beeswax candles tied with a purple ribbon

and an attached card that has our names and the date. The

candles are easy to make and apparently not expensive. The wax

is available in all sorts of colors at craft shops in sheets

that you cut to whatever size you want and roll around the wick

to make a candle. Mom says they're really quick to make; she's

making them about 4" tall, and we're tying them in pairs, both

on the same wick to symbolize the unity of the marriage.


From: ()

I bought 70 kazoos and to each one affixed a small label that

said: Mike and Nirah - March 25th 1995 (The labels were mailing

return address labels, printed on clear plastic. There are

several companies that will gleefully print these up for you

(they cost about $5 for a couple of hundred) that regularly

advertise in the coupon sections of the Sunday paper) I am

handing these out instead of rice after the ceremony. I would

much rather be serenaded than pelted with grain.


From (barter,elizabeth)

I went to a wedding once where the favors were personalized

kazoos, yo-yos and spinning tops (I think the groom's brother

owned a toy business). It was great fun, especially when one of

the tables seranaded the B&G on the kazoos.


From: (Johanna Turner)

For the favors, we're going to print up small booklets of the

recipes we used. This solves many problems: People will remember

the wedding whenever they make anything from our recipe booklet.

And if we print them at the college print shop, it shouldn't

cost more than 50 cents each, maybe a little more depending on

how many pages we have. Printing is 5 cents per page. And it

will give me something to play with in the last few weeks before

the wedding to keep me out of trouble. And I'll have a record of

all the food we used.


6.1: What kinds of foods did people serve at wedding feasts

during the Middle Ages?

From: (Phyllis Magill)

Mutton (lamb), roast peacock served with the tail feathers on,

braised lettuces, quail, venison, boar, eels, breads, and



From Amy Michaels <>

In the 15th century, fowl was popular at feasts--and the goal

was to try to get the bird to look as life-like as possible.

The cooks would put all the feathers *back on* the bird, along

with its head and such. The ability to make the bird ultimately

look alive was considered culinary genius.


From: Karin Oughton <>

Here's some info on 16th Cy (Tudor) Britain which is very

similar to medieval (courtesy English Heritage). Foodstuffs for

the upper classes were generally roast and boiled meat, poultry,

fish, pottages, frumenty, and bread. To a lesser extent they

also ate fruit and vegetables, but many believed in the advice

given the BOKE OF KERVYNGE c.1500, "Beware of green sallettes &

rawe fruytes for they wyll make your soverayne seke." The

greatest change over this period was the increasing popularity

of sugar, so there were a lot of sweetmeat and sweet seasonings

amongst the aristocracy (and very few teeth). Tableware

changed, too: they no longer used bread trenchers much but now

had wooden boards with a central hollow for the meat and gravy

and a small side hollow for the salt. Glass is more widespead

and pottery cups known as Cistercian Ware appears to have been

popular. A prehunt breakfast served to QEI had : cold roast

veal, capon, beef, goose, mutton, pigeon pies, savoury tongue

pie, sausages and savoury snacks.



Spices were used quite commonly. Cinnamon, cloves, mace,

saffron, and especially pepper were savored. Ginger, anise,

nutmeg are also mentioned along with many common (and not so

common) herbs such as parsley, basil, galingale, rosemary

(mentioned in Shakespears' "Hamlet") and thyme. Vegetables were

also of common consumption as part of the menu, though the

medieval feast did not follow our appetizer-entree-dessert

pattern. For example, for a time the sallat was served nearly

last but, according to legend, a certain royal served sallat to

his guests first so to fill their stomachs and save more of the

venison for himself.


From: Fleming )

An excellent source for period salads or "compound Sallet" is

Gervase Markham's _The English Housewife_. Some of the

ingredients are: chives, scallions, radish roots, boiled

carrots, turnips; also young lettuce, cabbage lettuce,

asparagus, purslane and herbs with vinegar, oil and sugar and

cucumber served with vinegar, oil, and pepper. Another compound

sallat includes: young buds and knots of wholesome herbs such

as red sage, mints, lettuce, violets, marigolds, and spinach,

served with vinegar, salad oil and sugar. Still another

compound sallat includes: blanched almonds, shredded raisins,

shredded figs, capers, twice as many olives, currants, red sage

and spinach all mixed together with a store of sugar. These

were put in the bottom of a dish and vinegar and oil put on top

with more sugar. Then oranges, lemons were cut into thin slices

without the outer peel and covered the bottom layer. Then thin

leaves of red cauliflower which covered the oranges and lemons.

Then "old olives" to cover that, and slices of pickled cucumber

with the inward heart of cabbage lettuce cut into slices. Adorn

the sides of the dish and the top with more slices of oranges

and lemons.


From: Amy Michaels <>

Here is an actual banquet menu for a medieval feast. It comes

from a book called "Two fifteenth-century cookery books" and is

edited by Thomas Austin. The introduction given by the author

is interesting: "Medieval feasts were traditionally served in

three courses. Each course included a soup, followed by a wide

range of baked, roasted, and boiled dishes, and finally an

elaborate 'sotelty', a lifelike (often edible) scene sculpted in

colored marzipan or dough...The bounty of medieval feasts is

legendary. One early historian noted that in 1398, King Richard

II [presided over a feast]. A variety of choice morsels was set

out to satisfy a trenchman's every whim ... gilded peacock and

festooned boar's head were highlights of the menu."

Oystres en Grauey--oysters steamed in almond milk (15th c.)

Brede--bread flavored with ale (15th c.)

Chawettys--tarts filled with spicy pork or veal & dates (15th c)

Pigge Ffarced--stuffed roast suckling pig (15th c.)

Goos in Sawse Madame--goose in a sauce of grapes and garlic

(14th c.)

Caboches in Potage--stewed Cabbage flavored with cinnamon and

cloves (14th c.)

Crustade Lombarde--fruited custard in a pie (15th c.)

Hippocras--spicy mulled wine (14th c.)


From: Judy Gerjuoy <>

Here is a late 14th century wedding menu.


From the Marriage of Marquis Gian Giacomo Trivulzio with

Beatrice d'Avalos d'Aragona.

1. Rosewater-scented water for the hands

Pastries with pine nuts and sugar

Other cakes made with almonds and sugar; similar to marzipan

2. Asparagus (to the amazement of the guests, since it was

enormous and out of season)

3. Tiny sausages and meatballs

4. Roast grey partridge and sauce

5. Whole calves' heads, gilded and silvered

6. Capons and pigeons, accompanied by sausages, hams and wild

boar, plus delicate 'potages'

7. Whole roast sheep, with a sour cherry sauce

8. A great variety of roast birds - turtledoves, partridges,

pheasants, quail, figpeckers - accompanied by olives as a


9. Chicken with sugar and rosewater

10. Whole roast suckling pig, with an accompanying 'brouet'

11. Roast peacock, with various accompaniments

12. A mixture of eggs, milk, sage, flour and sugar (salviata?)

13. Quinces cooked with sugar, cinnamon, pine nuts, and


14. Various preserves, made with sugar and honey

15. Ten different 'torte' and an abundance of candied spice.


Santich, Prospect Books, 1995. ISBN 0907325 59 9, page 37.


From: (David Friedman)

Sugar was apparently expensive--and the recipes are for the

upper (or upper middle) class.


From (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

This is from a book called "Life on a Medieval Barony," by

William Stearns Davis, a professor of history at the University

of Minnesota: "[Sugar is available in northern France as early

as the 13th Century.] It comes from the Levant, in small

irregular lumps. Its flavoring qualities are delightful, but it

is too expensive to use in cookery. The ordinary sweetening is

still that of the Greeks and Romans, honey, supplied from the

well-kept hives of the bees belonging to the [local] monastery."


From: Amy Michaels <>

There are some foods you should do and some you should avoid

(because they were "discovered" in the New World and European

medievals didn't have them):

To consider: To avoid:

Pigeon/squab Squash, incl. pumpkins

Fennel Potatoes

Leeks, shallots Tomatoes

Apples, Plums Chocolate

Parsnips, turnips Yams, sweet potatoes


Breads and pastries

Eggs, custards


From: (DWilhelmy)

As far as authenticity goes, i would add corn to the list of

foods to avoid.



Chocolate was not available BUT carob was.


From: (David Friedman)

The only period carob recipe I know of (Byzantine Murri) uses

carob as one of many minor flavorings in a condiment. So far

as I know, the idea of using carob to get a chocolate effect

is modern.


6.2: Sallat (salad), tarts, potage (soup), custard, poultry,

suckling pig and spicy mulled wine sound great! But pigeon

pies, eels, boar's head and roast peacock with the feathers

put back on! I don't think my guests would go for this, so

let me rephrase my question. What kinds of foods would

have the "feel" of a medieval banquet but still be edible

by my modernday guests?

From: Karin Oughton <>

We usually find, when we make a "Mock - Medieval" feast, that

the best menu runs something like this: Pottage/soup with fresh

bread, cheese tart, various roasts (but including venison,

pheasant and beef) with lots of different sauces like rowan

jelly, raisin & apple & honey, mint, etc., pears in wine, and

perhaps something like jellied milk cubes (similar to turkish



From: (Trystan L. Bass)

A Medieval feast usually revolved around a very fancy roast

(chicken, beef, venison, etc.). Some modern British foods are

just variations on Medieval and Renaissance dishes. For

example, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and Cornish pasties

(little meat and/or veggie pies) come from the Medieval love of

combining meat and pastry.


From: (DLW)

When I was a college undergrad, we had a traditional mid-winter

"Feast of the Lion" for college leaders. The motif was always a

"Robinhood" atmosphere. There was a wassail served and a toss

drank (the brandy snifters which held the wassail were the party

favors). Food was roasted chicken, yams/sweet potatoes, green

beans, and a bread pudding. All except for the yams [and green

beans], all of these items would have been available in medieval

times. There was cake and coffee at the end but, by that time,

everyone had been swept enough into the atmosphere that this

modern idea didn't spoil it. You might try other fingerfoods as

well as fruit. The only standing joke was that if it were a real

medieval feast, we would eat with only a knife and no forks.



Forks are ok in various times and places. Italy in the

Renaissance, and Elizabethan England (although they were

something of a curiosity) come to mind.


From: Gwalhafed <>

I am a member of the Cardiff Arthurian society. Some of the

foods which we use in our banquets are: Emberday tart,

Elderflower cheese pies, Brie tart, gingerbread (with or without

apple sauce), chicken legs in honey and spices. You could also

try a soteltie (there are several different spellings). This was

a dish brought in between courses to show the chef's skill and

the host's wealth and good taste. Sotelties varied tremendously.

Some of the ones we have had at our banquets have included a

papier mache dragon filled with sweets, a sword in a cake shaped

like a stone/anvil, a pig's head stuffed with pate, and a

marzipan fish. At the reception table, you could put the

recipes next to the food.


From: (Elizabeth Pruyn)

I suggest Brie tart. It's authentic but quiche-like, so modern

guests should like it. Here are two variations for the tart.

The first closely follows the original recipe with delicious

results. The second calls for cream and is considerbly richer.

Both are prepared according to the same instructions.


SERVES 8-10 SERVES 10-12

8-inch uncooked pie pastry 8-inch uncooked pie pastry

1 lb young Brie cheese l/2 lb young Brie cheese

6 egg yolks, beaten 1/2 cup heavy cream

1/8 t saffron 3 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 t light brown sugar 1/8-1/4 t powdered ginger

3/8 t powdered ginger 1/8 t saffron

salt 1/2 t brown sugar


1. Bake pie pastry at 425 degrees for 10 minutes Let cool.

2. Remove rind from Brie. Optional: cut rind into pieces about

an inch square and sprinkle evenly on pie crust. This will give

the tart a stronger cheese flavor.

3 Combine Brie with remaining ingredients in a blender or with

an egg beater. Add salt to taste: the amount will depend on the

age of the Brie and whether or not you use the rind. Mixture

should be smooth.

4. Pour liquid into pastry shell.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until set and

brown on top.

This recipe is from "To The King's Taste" by Lorna J. Sass


From: Amy Michaels <>

I am a medievalist and was at a conference in England last year

where the organizers tried to "recreate" a medieval meal. The

first course was leeks in pastry. The second course was

fruit-stuffed cornish game hen. For dessert we had prunes

stewed in wine.


From: Joyce Miller <>

Some friends of mine had a pig roast, and it was a full-sized

pig, too. We contacted a local butcher who sold us the pig and

also rented us the electric spit. We had to start it at 3:00

a.m., but other than that, it was relatively painless. We did

find, however, that we had to carve off the outer meat as it

finished cooking, and place it an an oven to keep warm, since we

wanted to serve everyone at once. If people will just be

feeding randomly during the day, just serve the meat as it

finishes cooking.


From: (Derly N. Ramirez II )

At my sister's medieval-themed wedding we served crusty bread

and cheese, barley broth, baked acorn squash, brisket, roasted

cornish hen, baked apples and fruit tarts. Served in three

courses it made a lovely meal.


From: (Lanfear)

We had a buffet for the reception which I put together. I

gathered coupons for deli sliced lunch meats, bought them on

sale, froze them ahead..then spent the night before the wedding

rolling them up in cute rows. We also had various cheeses,

chilled grapes and strawberries, fresh rolls of various kinds

from a bakery, olives, pickles, crackers, wine, apple juice and

several other things that I no longer recall.


From: Oxford Arthurian Society <>

I mainly relied on lists of possible ingredients rather than

actual recipes. We had an oat and leek soup from an Irish

recipe, bread, cheese, apples, roast chicken, venison sausages,

peppered pork chops, parsnips, baked onions and a hero's portion

of rabbit masquerading as hare, all washed down with lots of

beer, cider and homebrewed elderflower and hedgerow wines.



For a dessert, you can glaze fruit like strawberries and grapes

with sugar.


From: (RotondoA)

The centerpieces at our wedding were edible! The caterer placed

a fancy mirror on each table and piled them high with stemmed

strawberries. A candle was placed in the center. It looked very

pretty and they were delicious. Silver bowls of powdered sugar

and chocolate sauce were also placed on the tables for dipping!


From: John Robicheau <Robicheau@DrugInfoNet.Pharm-Epid.Pitt.Edu>

How about greasy joints of beef, no silverware, and dogs to wipe

your hands on?


From: Patricia D. Mooney

We offered venison as an entree (eating utensils required!).

Although we offered a medieval cookbook to the restaurant, they

preferred not to use it. The type of venison was antelope,

which probably defies tradition. But it was very good. And we

topped it all off with mead, of course.


From: Berwyn [] (BRgarwood)

We just had an event where we served sixty. The opening course

had homemade bread, with honey butter and a relish tray of

cheeses and dried fruits. This was followed by an onion and

almond creme soup. The next course was chicken breasts in a

wonderful sauce with raisins or currants, and lemonwhite, which

is rice cooked with lemon rind and raisins. The high point came

with the next course, when a subtlety was presented to the head

table. It was a dragon, with body and limbs made of bread, and

a papier mache' head with a flaming candle in its mouth. The

body (a round loaf maybe 18" <46 cm> in diameter) was then

opened and seen to be filled with beef stew. Dessert consisted

of cookies and cake served during the dance. The cake was a

three layer job decorated like a tower. Cookies were in the

shape of mushrooms made of merengues cemented with chocolate.

Now here comes the good part. All the cooking except for the

rice was done at the cook's home the day before, and only needed

re-heating at the site. And the better part, we were able to

serve this feast for only $5.00 a head. Its amazing what can be

done on a tight budget and a little imagination.


6.3: Does anyone have any information about the menu at places

like Medieval Times (where the knights fight while you

have dinner)? I know they do wedding receptions.

From: (Karen T. Smith)

Here is the menu from "Medieval Times" in the Chicago suburbs.

I went about two years ago and, while they aren't actually

keeping to what was available in the Middle Ages, they did try

to keep things authentic looking. Everything was on pewter

plates or in pewter bowls. There were no eating utensils.

When you first sat down you had a plate with veggies (carrots

and celery and maybe cucumber) with some dip--which tasted like

Thousand Island salad dressing to me. After that they delivered

some soup in a bowl with a handle so you could drink the soup.

It had barley in it and was either a vegetable or beef stock

based soup. Nothing too chunky in it as you had to drink the

the soup. For the main course we were served a few ribs and

a half chicken. I don't know what kind of marinade was used--

but the people I was with kind of enjoyed getting their hands

and chins all greasy. They handed out those little packaged

towelettes at the end (definitely a modernday addition to any

feast where you have to use your hands!) They also served

half of a roasted potato with seasoning on it and a pastry

for dessert.


6.4: How about drinks? What kinds of beverages did people

drink during the Middle Ages?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)

The basic drinks until the 17th century were water, beer, ale,

wine, mead, milk, and rarely fruit juices (most were fermented).

Tea and coffee did not exist in the Middle Ages and

Renaissance, and neither did sparkling wines, but you may want

to ignore this in favor of modern toasting traditions! Sweet

and fruity wine punches would be appropriate but avoid

carbonation if you want to keep to the theme.


From: (David Friedman)

Coffee came into use in al-Islam around 1400, at the very end

of the middle ages.


From: Judy Gerjuoy <

Perry and cider. Perry is cider made from pears instead of



From: (irina.bondarenko)

For drink -- go with mead. I don't know if liquor stores carry

it, but I was recently in Bloomington, IN and visited a winery

that made mead, so there might be a winery that makes it in your



From: (John Keimel)

There will be no champagne toast at my wedding. Instead, we will

be serving mead as the toasting beverage. Incidentally, this

stems to the tradition of the middle ages and the origin of the

word "honeymoon". It was believed that if the newly married

couple were to drink mead each evening for the duration of one

moon following the wedding, they were assured a male heir within

one year. And, if that did occur, lavish gifts and accolades

were bestowed upon the meadmaker (artisans that were highly

revered at the time). In other words, the couple drank mead

(honey wine) for one month (moon) ... thus the word honeymoon.

The mead was drunk from a Mazer (sp) cup which was passed down

throughout the generations. The cup was usually an ornate

chalice, but for some it was rather simple.


From: bex@embezzle.Stanford.EDU (Rebecca Agin)

Bargetto Winery in Soquel California sells Chaucer's Mead

(that's just what they call it, just their label name for their

honey and fruit wines). The mead is very good, and they will

ship it. They also make wine from apricots, raspberries, and

ollalieberries (sp?).


6.5: I know that wedding cake is a modernday custom, but it's

expected in our family to have a wedding cake. Any ideas

of how we could incorporate a wedding cake into the menu

and still keep the medieval ambience?

From: Patricia D. Mooney

The hardest part was our cake. We searched high and low for

ideas. We were told that cakes weren't authentic -- instead,

medieval guests brought tiny desserts, cookies, etc. and piled

them together -- the forerunner of the wedding cake. We said

the heck with it and went with a regular old cake.


From: Becky (

Quoting from the Aug/Sept issue of Modern Bride:

"In medieval England, guests brought small cakes and

piled them on the center of a table. The bride and

groom then attempted to kiss over them. A baker from

France conceived the idea of icing all the small cakes

together in one large cake."



This was the forerunner of our modern tradition of the wedding

cake and smashing it into each others face (a quite repulsive

habit, not at all befitting such a grand occasion) came from the

tradition of the bride and groom eating off a common plate and

feeding each other, possibly symbolising the joining of the two

as one through marriage.


From (Miche)

At a medieval style wedding I attended a few years ago, the

wedding 'cake' was a huge pile of almond biscuits, made by the

bride (with help from me) the night before.


From: Krin Oughton <>

At our mock medieval feasts, our "soteltie" (the main display

piece) is often a wonderfully decorated cake.


From (Trystan L. Bass)

Sweets have always been popular, even in medieval times, so a

wedding cake won't be too out of place. You could decorate it

with greenery and flowers or have heraldic symbols painted on

in colored icing. Several very fancy cakes in a recent bridal

magazine were shaped like fairytale castles!



A wedding cake can be viewed as sculpture (ours was a castle,

complete with a functioning front gate).


From: (Orilee Ireland-Delfs)

At my protogee's wedding, the wedding cake was a castle with a

marzipan bride and groom at the gate.


From: (L. Andrade)

My friend Dee had a wedding cake that looked like a castle. She

started by calling bakeries in her hometown but nobody could do

it for her. She finally found someone in another town who was

willing to travel to Dee's town to build the cake for her at the

house. The cake was BEAUTIFUL (and HUGE!).


From: (Merri Dodd)

I wanted a castle cake, but have settled for 4 heart shaped

tiers with a castle in a globe with confetti when you shake it

music box (3 dragons on the "wall" around the castle outside the

globe) from the SanFrancisco Music Box Company.


From: (Lisa Pytlik Zilling)

Since I don't eat sugar and my new husband does not like sugar

much, we had our "cake" made out of bread. Each round loaf was

cut horizontally and spread with a layer of different types of

cheese (mostly cream cheese concoctions) and then the loaves

were fit onto tiered trays and garnished with fruits and

vegetables--I was amazed at how beautiful it turned out. Oh,

but we did also serve some sheet cakes along with the bread

cake, for our guests who do like sugar.


From: (karl steffens)

Why don't you try a trifle? You don't really need to bake for

it, or if you happen to have a poundcake-mishap (as in too hard)

around, that'll do nicely. Depending on the amount of

participants in your group choose a large bowl (clear glass

looks really nice). Layer slices of poundcake, canned fruit

without much juice,whipped cream (maybe the storebought freezer

variety), vanilla pudding incl. a splash of f.ex. rum on every

layer of cake. See, that you have several layers each. Let it

soak for a while, so the various flavours mix. Trust me, it is

delicious! You are free to choose as ingredients, what you like

and the booze just makes it taste well together.


6.6: We have our menu all worked out but need some ideas about

how to decorate the banquet hall and serve the food and

drink in keeping with the medieval theme. Any suggestions?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)

If you can find or rent them, get brass, silver, pewter, or

wooden servingware. Pewter goblets are a great touch -- get a

pair for yourselves so you can toast each other in style!

Fellowship Foundry [see the list of catalogs for their address]

has several fanciful wedding goblet sets -- Arthur and

Guinevere, Romeo and Juliet, two dragons whose tails form a

heart shape, etc.


From: Amy Michaels <>

You could be very authentic by having only one drinking glass.

At medieval feasts, a single wine cup would be passed from guest

to guest, and the lip of the cup would be wiped after each

person drank. Rather unsanitary for the guests, but this could

be a nice "medieval" gesture for the wedding couple.


From: Kristiina Prauda <>

We arranged the family tables in a wide U, with us in the middle.


From: (Jason L)

We set two picnic tables across one end for the 'head table' and

two rows leading away from the head table like the arrangement

in an old English manor house. That left a 'playing' area

in-between the rows of tables for the entertainment. I bought

a bolt of cheap green fabric that I used for the tablecloth

at the reception feast. All I had to do was roll it out across

the tables and cut it to length. Then I placed several smaller

squares of fabric using the same colors as the banners on top of

the tables. I had also been searching for every store that had

baskets, wood plates, trays, and bowls on sale, and had

accumulated about three dozen or so. On the morning of the

wedding a couple of people were dispatched to find flowers,

fruits and vegetables to fill the baskets and bowls as part of

the general (and edible) decorations. The head table where we

sat was similar to the others except I used a fine green and

purple damask tablecloth with satin 'squares' on top with more

and nicer flowers in the baskets. Behind the head table was a

long and colorful banner.


From: (June Petersen)

The head table (me, he and attendents) had my "page" to serve us

(the page was a sweet kid I'd babysat for years, kinda like a

little brother to me, an only child). The page felt it his

sworn duty to drain the bottles to the last drop, so we had a

slightly inebriated 12 year old by the end of the day.


From: (Edward Hopkins)

I suggest that you look for a book showing the paintings of

Pieter Brueghel (also known as Pieter Breugel), a Dutch painter

of the 15th Century. He did at least one delightful painting of

a wedding feast.


From: Gwalhafed <>

If you have access to medieval-appearing objects (metal goblets,

drinking horns, bits of armour, shields, banners, large candles)

along with flowers and ivy, they make good table decorations.

Another idea is to make crepe paper tablecloths with simple

heraldic motifs (stick to prime colours). This usually works

nicely in the low light of a banquet hall.



My daughter reads a wonderful series of books by a fellow named

Brian Jaque (sp?) called Mossflower or Redwall---she describes

amazing feasts that sound very medieval in nature (tho' they may

not be historically accurate). It would be a fun way to get

yourself in the mood.


From: (DLW)

At our "Feast of the Lion" banquet, they created the medieval

mid-winter atmosphere by using burgundy bunting (a 'bunting' is

a swag of cloth used like a tent but with no sides--the kind you

see at jousts or feasts--where the king and queen sit but you

could use it for the bride and groom). We ate by candlelight as

well as table greenery with yule logs (made by having birch logs

with 4 to 6 candles in them surrounded with evergreens). The

dinner started with a trumpet heralder inviting us in from the

entrance area of the building, and there was an appointed

toastmaster dressed as a king including crown.


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

In keeping with our medieval theme, my husband and I cut our

wedding cake using swords. We choreographed a little act where

I picked up a puny little cakeknife, looked at it with disgust,

laid it back on the table, reached over and drew out my

husband's long sword and handed it to him. I then pulled out a

short curved sword, nodded 'yes', and we proceeded to cut the

cake using our swords. Cameras were flashing from all over the

room while the guests laughed and clapped!


From: (June Petersen)

Our wedding glasses were a glass flute atop a stem of a man (for

me) and a woman (for him) nude, holding the glass up, festooned

top and bottom with bunches of grapes and leaves. really



From: (Lanfear)

Our wedding goblets were of a pewter couple, clasping hands..the

tops were glass (very cool goblet can get it from

Fellowship Foundry..they sell several styles of wedding goblet



6.7: Can you recommend any books or websites where I can get

recipes for some of the medieval dishes (and maybe others)

mentioned above?

From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

An excellent place to begin your websearch for authentic recipes

is with Cariadoc's Miscellany, housed at:

Another good website with medieval recipes can be reached at:

Amy Gale's historic recipes can also be reached through:

Select the category "Ethnic Recipes". Under the listing

"Historical Recipes of Different Cultures", you will find two

recipe collections: 1) Medieval and Anglo-Saxon Recipes and 2)

Medieval European Recipes.

If you are interested in various period beverages, brewed,

not distilled, try the beverages section of the SCA files at:

Following is an extensive bibliography of medieval cookbooks,

compiled by Jaelle of Armida (Judy Gerjuoy).


7.1: My fiance and I love period music. Any ideas for how we

could do the music for our wedding? Also, what kinds of

instruments are considered period?

From: (Trystan L. Bass)

A single harpist would work well or a lute/mandolin player.

Other period instruments include the flute, bagpipe, guitar,

viol (forerunner of the violin), many types of horns,

spinet/virginal (forerunners of the harpsichord), organs (much

like modern church organs), and a wide variety of drums.


From: (Amy E. Rottier)

We had a medieval-themed wedding, with Celtic undertones. For

music, we had an Uilleann piper (also called the Irish pipes).

I don't know what the music was called, but it was lovely. The

piper was fabulous, and the sound was like no other. Ethereal,

yet woodsy and homey. Definitely put us in the right frame of

mind. Mark and I both like Highland pipes (what everyone calls

"bagpipes"), but I wanted something "older", hence the Uilleann.

And, I must tell you, that the Uilleann is featured on most of

the Celtic music pieces I have at home.


From: (Robyn Whystle(mka T. Shawn Johnson)

The instrument that has changed the least since the middle ages

is, surprisingly, the TROMBONE. While it was called SACKBUT in

earlier times, it has changed only in tuning. A consort of

trombones makes a lovely early sound, and is great for

processional-type music suitable for weddings. If you want a

truly regal sound, have trombones at your wedding.


From: (DLW)

The dinner started with a trumpet heralder inviting us in from

the entrance area of the building. Then there was a brass and

string group of musicians (I know, not really medieval, but it

gave it an air of such), and vocal groups which sang (without

music) traditional midwinter songs.


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

At a wedding I witnessed at the Minnesota Renaissance Faire,

two musicians dressed as monks played Handel's "Air",

Pachelbel's "Canon in D", Purcell's "Trumpet Tune". and Mouret's

"Rondeau" on guitar and trumpet.


From: (Bdavis0102)

Try Vivaldi's "Largo." It was used in the movie version of

"The Princess Bride" and is really lovely. One guitar.


From: (Stepstar)

I used to play at a Ren festival, and one Saturday night some

people got married at the chapel there. At that time the chapel

had no roof or windows. It was just bare timber framing, but it

looked rather romantic in the rising moonlight. The groom

looked dashing in his boots and the bride was piled high with

many types of old white lace and was led to the chapel entrance

riding a white horse. Both had a profusion of flowers in their

hair. Me? I was just one of many musicians trying to figure

out what to play for these fine and brave folk...and then

someone started playing - believe it or not - the Russian Army

marching song. He played it very slooooowly and it actually

sounded quite beautifull.... and with a wooop and a laugh we all

quickly joined in. And it is THUSLY that two young souls got

married...and to the highly ironic and rather humorous

undertones of a tune that under any other circumstances no one

would have touched with a proverbial ten foot pole.


From: (Melanie Ganson)

We had a harp and flute; a combination I would have never

thought to put together, but it was very pretty.


From: ejk4e@darwin.clas.Virginia.EDU (Edward James Kilsdonk)

We are having a celtic harpist play for us. We were thinking of

walking in, in part, to "Brian Boru's March" a simple but

effective minor key piece by O'Carolan. You might also want to

wander into the folk section of your favorite music shop or

library and see what you can listen to to get ideas, or ask the

folks on


From: (fiona ligget)

I am having a Celtic harp at my wedding. There are two types of

harps to my knowledge--the Concert and the Celtic. The Celtic

harp is smaller. For my wedding I am looking at having the

following songs:

Wedding March by Mendelssohn

My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose

Morning Has Broken

Mairi's Wedding

Skye Boat Song

A Time For Us: from Romeo and Juliet


The above songs are good for either harp. The next list of

songs are only for the Concert harp:

Bridal Chorus by Wagner

Lara's E

Theme: from Dr. shivago

Memory: from CATS ( Andrew Lloyd Webber)

Music of the Night : from Phantom of the Opera

Scarborough Fair


From: "'Jherek' W. Swanger" <>

Most harpists/harpers play weddings frequently and often have a

selection of pieces appropriate for the occasion. For the

record, most professional harpists will have a standard wedding

reportoire (which varies from performer to performer) and will

charge extra if they are required to learn a piece not in their



From: "John A. Resotko" <>

I'm a harper, and have several friends who play in Celtic bands

on traditional instruments or play and sing historical (period)

music. I plan to coerce many of them to play for the wedding

and reception (provided they let me play as well!) I will

probably hire one of the more traditional bands, then invite any

of my other friends who play to bring their instruments along.


From: Berlin)

Your answer is a brass quintet! To back up my personal bias, I

will say that no other ensemble can give you the same wide range

of repertoire from rennaissance through twentieth century

classical music to ragtime and jazz!


From: Susan Carroll-Clark <>

At a wedding I attended, the music was played on a modern

synthesizer but had a very medieval feel about it.


From: (Amypamy)

We found some dancers to "do" our reception. It turned out they

were free; I made a donation to their favorite charity. But

they were incredible. They specialize in Irish dancing, but had

a few medieval Celtic dances in their repertoire. They

organized the guests into rows and squares and had them going

for awhile. For music, I had brought my stereo out, and we set

it up with two extra speakers. It was more than we needed. I

bought CDs of medieval/Celtic music, and just put on the

scrambler (whatever it's called). The dancers brought their own

music, which they cued up themselves (and had no problems).


From: Amy E. Rottier <>

We're going to find a small band or strolling musician and an

enthusiastic dance instructor to conduct the "festivities" at

our medieval/renaissance theme wedding. We thought it would be

so nice to have someone show the guests a few steps of an Irish

jig or a May dance or something. Of course, I plan to have a

stereo and music for late night dancing by the roaring bonfire!

I *will* dance at my wedding!!)


From: Patricia D. Mooney

Background music was all CDs -- chants, madrigals, etc.


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

We ended up taping our favorite songs from our collection of

celtic CDs and piping it through the ballroom's sound system.


From: (Miche)

The music was played on a small tape machine hidden out of

sight. When I asked where the music was coming from I was told

it was 'shy minstrels' hiding behind a curtain!


From: Kristiina Prauda <>

We had a group of students of old music to play medieval songs

and tunes before dinner (that really helped to set the mood!).


7.2: Where can I find musicians who play medieval music?

From: (ChipZempel)

If you're looking for early musicians (most of us can't afford

to advertise in the yellow pages - that would pretty much wipe

out most of the money we'd make!) here are a few ways to track

some down: 1) Call the American Recorder Society in Boulder CO

and ask if they have a local chapter in your area. Contact them

and ask if they have a group that performs. (Skill level can

vary WIDELY!), 2) Call local music stores, ask if they have

someone who teaches recorder. 3) Call local universities, ask

if they have an early music ensemble, student or faculty, and

4) Post to, or alt.fairs.renaissance, or asking if anyone knows performers or groups in

your area. People often know people who know people.


From: (Lanfear)

Through the staff at the Renaissance Faire where we held our

wedding, we hired a woman that played hammered dulcimer.


From: (Lone Vulf)

Try your local Renaissance Faire....if there are not musicians

preforming there, the entertainment staff can probably provide

you with the names and addresses of local musicians who have

sent addition tapes, desperately trying to get work.


From: (Jason L)

We were able to get 4 musicians who work at the Southern

Renaissance Faire (CA). Since the demand for Ren music is

small, their prices tend to be low. We got all 4 for the entire

afternoon & evening for $500.



Suggestions: 1) Peruse the local paper's arts calendar for

dances, go to them and ask the musicians, 2) Check with the

music department of local colleges, 3) Flog the web, e.g.

3) If all else fails, contact CDSS (country Dance & Song Society

in NOrthampton, MA) in US, EDFS in UK and ask if they have any

members in your area.


From: (Johanna Turner)

You might try seeing if there's a local English Country Dance or

Contra Dance community in your area. Check newspapers (ours has

a weekly listing of Contra and English country dances) and music

(instrument stores) that cater more to a traditional music crowd

rather than electric guitars and drums.


From: Dale Breault, Jr. (

Word of mouth is the best way to find a band or anything else

for that matter. Ask couples or parents who have recently had a

wedding. Ask the catering people -- they go to a lot of

weddings. Ask the reception hall or restaurant people -- they

host a lot of weddings. Take an evening or two and go to all of

the local clubs and bars. You get a ready-made audition this

way. Call any local universities or colleges and ask around.


From: Adina Sobo (

Actually, the way I found the group for my wedding was by

listening to the music at the Mall. San Diego's Horton Plaza

hires strolling musicians to entertain shoppers, some other

large malls do as well. Some of them are not really good,

others are, and there's a wide range of styles (ethnic,

elizabethan, country westers, a capella, and so on). For that

matter, you'd be amazed at how many strolling troubadors at the

Ren Faires have business cards.


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

For authentic live music, ask around at a local Renaissance

faire or SCA event or on or alt.fairs.renaissance.

Try at a local college's music department too. There also many

tapes of Medieval folk tunes, church music & chants, & even some

new-age music used Medieval style instruments. A single harpist

would also work well, but no pianos (they weren't invented yet).


From (Laura Beth Weiss)

Ken and I have hired a harp and violin duo from the local

symphony to play at our ceremony. I have heard these two before

and the combination is lovely.


7.3: I am looking for good quality CDs for my Wedding. I need

suggestions for both Dancing and Ceremony music. It doesn't

need to be for any specific period, but I would like it to

have a medieval flavor. All suggestions are greatly


From: (Trystan L. Bass)

There many recordings of Medieval folk tunes, church music, and

Gregorian chants. Even some new-age music uses Medieval style

instruments. Look at a large, well-stocked record store in the

folk music and instrumental section. Sheet music for Medieval

ballads and folk songs is available too -- check at a large

music store. If they don't have it, ask them how to order it.

College libraries sometimes have large sheet and recorded music

selections, which you can make copies of.


From: (Grizel)

Do you have a national chain store called Best Buy near you?

It's an electronics, appliances and music store. Their

selection of medieval music (they call it ancient Music or

ancient classical) is out of this world. They have everything

from 13th century Spanish dance songs to monks to 17th century

Italian lute love songs.


From: hamilton@adi.COM

Here's some period recommendations:

For Ceremonial Music:

"The Pleasures of the Royal Courts". Early Music Consort of

London. Elektra/Nonesuch 9 71326-2

1. The Courtly Art of the Trouveres (1200s)

2. The Burgundian Court of Philip the Good (1400s)

3. The German Court of Emperor Maximilian I (1400s)

4. Italian Music of the Medici Court (late 1400s-early 1500s)

5. The Spanish Courts in the Early 16th Century (1500s)

"North Italian Music for Cornetts and Trombones 1580-1650".

Concerto Palatino Accent Records ACC8861D

"Carlo Gesualdo: Tenebrae". Hilliard Ensemble. ECM Records

1422/23 78118-21422-2.

"Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzonas, Sonatas, Motets". Taverner

Consort, Choir and Players. EMI Classics [late 1500s, early


"Renaissance: The Music of Josquin Desprez". The King's

Singers. RCA 09026-61814-2 [1400s-1500s]

For Dance or Background Music:

"Fantasies, Ayres and Dances: Elizabethan and Jacobean Consort

Music". The Julian Bream Consort. RCA 7801-2-RC

"Tielman Susato: Dansereye 1551". New London Consort.

L'Oiseau-Lyre 436 131-2. [1500s]

"Dances from Terpsichore". New London Consort. L'Oiseau-Lyre

414 633-2. [Early 1600s]

"The Feast of Fools". New London Consort. L'Oiseau-Lyre

433-194-2 [1200s?]

"Songs and Dances of the Middle Ages". Sonus. Dorian Discovery


"1492: Music from the Age of Discovery". Waverly Consort. EMI


"A Florentine Carnival: Festival Music for Lorenzo de Medici".

London Pro Musica. Pickwick International. PCD 825 [1400s]


From: (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

For background (mostly instrumental) music with a medieval or

Celtic sound to it, try any or all of the following:

-Anything by Maggie Sansone and/or Sue Richards, i.e., 'Morning

Aire', "Mist & Stone', or 'Music in the Great Hall'. Their

music is described as instrumental music and Celtic tunes from

Ireland and Scotland. Sansone plays hammered dulcimer. Richards

plays Celtic harp.

-Anything by Robert Almblade and Carolyn Cruso, i.e.,

'Ballincheol', 'The Fifth Element', or 'Tone Poems'. Mostly,

they compose their own music. They both play hammered dulcimer

plus Almblade plays cittern and Cruso also plays flute,

panpipes, pennywhistles and other wind instruments.

-Narada has produced some celtic music CDs. I have two of them:

'Celtic Odyssey' and 'Celtic Legacy', and both are very good.

-Try also 'Northern Lights' (harp & hammered dulcimer played by

Steve Coulter and Harris Moore), 'The Spiral Castle' (guitar,

Celtic harp and lute played by Linn Barnes and Allison Hampton),

and "Carolan's Cup' (hammered dulcimer played by Joemy Wilson).

In addition to the above, look for anything where the musicians

play hammered dulcimer, Celtic harp and/or lute. Also look for

groups that play the music of Turlough O'Carolan, a blind Irish

harpist (died 1738).



My fiance and I picked up a CD at the New York Renaissance Fair

called "The Flowers of Edinburgh". It's a beautiful CD,

approximately 40 min. which we will use during our cocktail

hour. Another CD I acquired was from Past Times called "Minstrel

Songs and Dances for a Medieval Banquet" which we will use

during dinner. I am also trying to get a CD called "Music For

The Coronation Of Queen Elizabeth I", which is mostly trumpet

music which we will use for our entrance. The rest of the

reception we will dance to regular Top 40 music. If you hire a

DJ, most of them will play the period music if you provide the

CD's or cassettes.


From: Witches)

Here are the best sources I have yet found for Early, medieval,

and renaissance music books, recorded music, and instruments. I

have ordered many times from both and really like their service.

Boulder Early Music Shop

2010 14th St. Boulder, Co. 80302

(303) 499-1301

Fax (303) 449-3819

Lark In The Morning

PO Box 1176, Mendocino, Ca. 95460

(707) 964-5569

Fax (707) 964-1979


8.1: How about including a list of well-costumed, atmospheric

movies that people could rent to see what a particular

period might be like? If a picture is worth a thousand words,

a moving picture is worth ten thousand!

Done. Following is a list of movies, separated into the following

time periods: Early Medieval (500 to @1050 AD), Middle Ages (1050 to

@1450 AD), and Renaissance (1450 to 1600 AD). An exclamation point

(!) indicates that the movie contains a wedding scene.



Sign of the Pagan (about Atilla, ruler of the Huns @433-453)


The Knights of the Round Table

Sword of Lancelot

!First Knight



Prince Valiant

Sword of the Valiant

!The Sword in the Stone (Disney animation)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (932 AD)

The Green Knight

Prince of Jutland

Merlin and the Sword

Merlin of the Crystal Cave

Flight of the Dragons (animated)

The Sword and the Sorcerer (Disney)


Tristan et Iseuldt

The Vikings

The Littlest Viking

The Longships

Eric the Viking

The Norseman

The Black Arrow

Charlemagne (late 700s France)

Alfred the Great (late 800s England)


MacBeth (set mid-1000s Scotland; 2 versions: 1) w/Orson Wells,

2) w/Jon Fitch)

Hearts and Armor (mid-1000s Spain)

!El Cid (late-1000s Spain)

Hildegard (11th C Germany)

The Crusades (about Richard the Lion-hearted)

The Seventh Seal (set during the Crusades)

Ivanhoe (late 1100s; 2 versions: 1) w/Robert Taylor,

2) w/Anthony Andrews & Olivia Hussey)

Robin Hood (many versions: !1) w/Errol Flynn, 2) w/Patrick

Bergin), 3) w/Michael Praed/Jason Connery, 4) Disney)

!Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves

Robin and Marion

Robin Hood-Men in Tights

Men of Sherwood Forest

The Court Jester (12th C England)


The Flame and the Arrow (set in Italy)

Ladyhawke (based on 12th C French legend)

The Lion in Winter (about Eleanor of Aquitane and Henry II,

ruler of England 1154-1189)

Beckett (archbishop of Canterbury during reign of Henry II)

Brother Sun, Sister Moon (St Francis of Assisi, 1182-1226)

The Navigator (from 11th-12th C Cumbria to 20th C New Zealand)

The Conqueror (about Genghis Khan, early 1200s Asia)

Alexander Nevesky (mid-1200s Russia)

The Dragon and the Sword (Russian)

The Magic Sword (13thC)

!Braveheart (late 1200's Scotland)

The Black Rose (time of Edward I & Kublai Khan, late 1200s)

Edward II (early 14th C)

The Name of the Rose (set in 1312 monastery)

The Sorceress (13-14th C France)

The Virgin Spring (based on 14th C legend)

Decameron Nights (about Italian poet Boccaccio, mid-1300s)

Hamlet (set 1300/1400? 2 versions 1) w/Mel Gibson,

2) w/Laurence Olivier)

Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Hamlet comedy)

Richard II (late 1300s England)

Richard III (late 1400s England)

The Black Knight of Falworth (in the reign of Henry IV, early 1400s)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1400's France)

A Walk with Love and Death (1400s Italy)

Joan of Arc: A Portrait of a Legend (1428 France)

Henry V (early 1400s England; 2 versions 1) w/Kenneth Branagh,

2) w/Laurence Olivier)

The Advocate

Brother Cadafel

!The Warlord

!The Princess Bride

Jabberwocky (Monty Python)

Stealing Heaven (about Abelard & Heloise, early 1100s France)

Black Adder I (British comedy)

King Lear

Snow White (Disney)

Sleeping Beauty (Disney)


Dr. Faustus


Captain from Castille

!Much Ado about Nothing

!The Taming of the Shrew

Romeo and Juliet (2 versions: 1) w/Norma Shearer 1936 and

2) w/Olivia Hussey

Elizabeth R

If I Were King (life of Francois Villon, mid-15C French poet)

Christopher Columbus (late 1400s)

1492: Conquest of Paradise (about Christopher Columbus)

Flesh & Blood/renamed The Rose and the Sword (1501)

The Agony and the Ecstasy (about Michaelangelo in 1500s Italy)

Martin Luther (early 1500s Germany)

Nostradamus (lived 1503-1566)

!Prince of Foxes (Italy 1500s)

Diane (de Poitiers, mid-1500s France)

!The Return of Martin Guerre (1540s France)

The Six Wives of Henry VIII (ruler of England 1509-1547)

The Private Life of Henry VIII

!Anne of the Thousand Days (Boleyn, 2nd wife of Henry VIII)

!Lady Jane (Grey, grandniece of Henry VIII)

Nine Days a Queen (about Lady Jane Grey, mid-1550s England)

The Blood on Satan's Claw (16C horror)

Cry of the Banshee (16C horror)

The Sword and the Rose (Disney; about Princess Margaret,

sister to Henry VIII)

A Man for All Seasons (set during the reign of Henry VIII;

2 versions, 1) w/Charlton Heston & Vanessa Redgrave,

2) w/Orson Wells)

Mary, Queen of Scots (mid-1500s)

Mary of Scotland

Aguirre, Wrath of God (1560s South America)

Ivan the Terrible (mid to late 1500's Russia)

Young Bess (the early years of Elizabeth I)

The Virgin Queen (Elizabeth I, late 1500s England)

The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Seven Seas to Calais (Sir Francis Drake, late 1500s)

Orlando (begins during the reign of Elizabeth I)

Black Adder II (British comedy, Elizabethan)

Queen Margot (late 1500s France)

The Mission (late 1500s South America)

Othello (contemporary with Shakespeare; 2 versions,

1) w/Orson Wells 1952, 2) w/Sir Laurence Olivier)


The Three Musketeers (early 1600s France)

The Four Musketeers

At Sword's Point (about the four Musketeers)

The Three Musketeers 20 Years Later

Cyrano de Bergerac (lived 1619-1655)

The Last Valley (set in 1641)

Taras Bulba (17th C)



9.1: Catalogs

The following is a list of catalogs which have been recommended as

possible sources of historic clothing and/or fantasy items with

medieval flavor. The compiler of this list makes no claims as to the

quality of either the merchandise or service provided by these



For readymade medieval clothing or period patterns and accessories:

Amazon Vinegar & Pickling Works

2218 East 11th Street

Davenport, IA 52803


They have three catalogs. The Pattern catalog ($7.00) illustrates

over 1,000 patterns for men, women, children and dolls, medieval

through 1950. The Shoe catalog ($5.00) has shoes from all periods.

The General catalog ($3.00) has everything except patterns -- hats

and bonnets, readymade clothing, accessories, toys, books,

kitchenware, etc.

Authentic Wardrobe

12710 E. Wentworth Ct.

Vail, AZ 85641

Source of readymade clothing and cloaks as well as special orders.

Body Hangings

835 Decatur St.

New Orleans, LA 70116


Source of cloaks in velvet, velveteen, leather and wool.

Carolina Stitches in Time

Box 10933

Winston-Salem, NC 27108

No current information available.

Chivalry Sports

PO Box 18904

Tucson, AZ 85731-8904


Source of clothing, books, weaponry and patterns. They publish

a "catalog magazine" called "Renaissance" ($14 for a 1-year


Greystone Garb

Address unknown


Source of handmade period clothing. No current information available.

Harriet's, Etc.

Tailoring & Custom Sewing

6 Parkview Avenue

Winchester, VA 22601-4406


Source of rented or custom-sewed, historically-accurate costumes

for period weddings (1520-1920). There is also a pattern division

(P.O. Box 1363, Winchester, VA 22604) but the emphasis is on the

18th and 19th centuries. Catalogs of patterns for ladies',

men's or children's fashions are $3.50 each).

Hedgehog Handworks

P. O. Box 45384

Westchester, CA 90045

(310) 670-6040


8406 Flight Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90045

No readymade clothing but a source of costuming books and other items

needed to make clothes (stitchery supplies, notions, needlework

tools, stays, hooks, clasps, and buttons) except the fabric. They

charge $5 for their catalog, refundable with an order of $30 or more.

Historic Fashions

1812 N. Queens Lane #219

Arlington, Va 22201

No information available.

House Morning Star

11246 S. Post Oak Rd. #217

Houston, TX 77035


Source of patterns, books, and sewing materials, but they will also

make costumes to order. Mostly Tudor stuff: bodices, skirts, and

chemises-as well as men's garb.

JAS Townsend & Son

P.O. Box 415

Pierceton, IN 46562


Source of books, patterns, clothing accessories and tinwear.

Emphasis is on the 18th and 19th centuries, but some stuff

is adaptable.


Post Office Box 3315

Truckee, CA 96160


Source of medieval items (armor, swords, jewelry, cups) and Period

Patterns. The items catalog is not free, but you can request a

Period Pattern flyer for free.

Moresca Clothing and Costume

361 Union Center Rd

Ulster Park, NY 12487


Source of capes, tunics, etc. Catalogs cost $5.00 plus $1.75 for

shipping and handling.

Museum Replicas Ltd

2143 Gees Mill Road

Box 840

Conyers, GA 30207


Source of medieval clothing and accessories such as swords, jewelry,

goblets, relics, etc.

Puffs and Slashes

c/o L. R. Fox

P. O. Box 443

Bloomington, IN 47402-0443

An anotated bibliography of pre-1650 costume sources (including books

and periodicals). $2.50 per copy

Raiments (aka Alter Years)

P.O. Box 93095

Pasadena, CA 91109


Source of medieval and renaissance patterns. The catalog is $5.00

($7.00 if shipped first class) but is very large. They also sell

books and some accessories.

Renaissance Herald (was Renaissance Shopper)

P.O. Box 422

Riverside, CA 92502


Actually a quarterly magazine, which contains advertisements for many

companies dealing in period garb, armor, weapons, etc, etc...Lists

quite a few clothing makers, including one who says they specialize

in Renaissance wedding garb. They have two subscription plans: for

$7.00, you get a lifetime subscription, but it is sent at bulk mail

rates; for $5.00 annually, you get the magazine at first class mail


Rose D'Zynes

1196 Sunglow Drive

Oceanside, CA 92056


Source of custom-designed medieval and Renaissance wedding attire for

rent or purchase. Call to request a videotape of bridal fashions.

St. Michael's Leather Emporium

156 E Second Street, Suite One

New York, NY 10009


Source of custom-designed leather armor, jewelry and Renaissance-era

clothing. Catalog costs $4.00.

Sterling Cloth Company

6109 Whipple Avenue NW

North Canton, Ohio 44720


Source of period fabrics, trims, thread, and patterns.

Whole Costumer's Catalog

PO Box 207

Beallsville, PA 15313


A listing of catalogs and stores that sell fabric, patterns,

accessories, etc. Costs $17.95 (incl. S&H).


For medieval weapons, jewelry and other gift items (but very little

clothing and no patterns):

Art & Artifact

2451 E. Enterprise Pkwy

Twinsburg, OH 44087


Check out their wedding chalice, a reproduction of an 18th century

English piece.

Atlanta Cutlery

Dept. TFH

2143 Gees Mill Road

Box 839

Conyers, GA. 30207


Source of swords and knives.

By the Sword

P.O. Box 149

Luray, VA 22835


Source of medieval weapons, armor, footwear, jewelry and musical

instruments. Catalog costs $2.00. Separate catalog of archery

supplies costs $1.00.

Celtic Folkworks

878 Willow Grove Road

Pittsgrove, NJ 08318


Source of Celtic jewelry, i.e., penannular brooches, knotwork rings,

necklaces, pins and bracelets.

The Cottage Works

12 W. Willow Grove Ave., Box 186

Philadelphia, PA 19118-3952


No information available.

Dancing Dragon

5670 West End Road, #4

P.O. Box 1106

Arcata, CA 95521


Source of fantasy dragon items. Check out their dragon champagne

flutes, dragon bride & groom caketopper (in pewter), and double

dragon banner.

Distant Caravans

PO Box 5254

Reno, NV 89513


Source of middle eastern clothing and belly dancing jewelry.

Fellowship Foundry

2550 East 12th St.,

Oakland, CA 94601.


Source of pewter wedding goblets.

Gryphon's Moon

3557 Tanner's Mill road

Gainesville, GA 30507-8828


Source of Celtic rings, brooches and pendants.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

255Gracie Station

New York, NY 10028-9998


Source of jewelry reproduced from ancient, medieval and renaissance


The Noble Collection

P.O. Box 831

Merrifield, VA 22116


Source of swords, helmets, suits of armor, axes, and letter openers.

Past Times

280 Summer Street

Boston, MA 02210-1182


Source of gifts and jewelry from Great Britain inspired by "the past"

(Anglo-Saxon, Viking, Medieval, Tudor, Stuart, Victorian, etc.).

Check out their medieval tapestry wall-hangings.

South Tower Armouring Guild

P.O. Box 221

Metcalfe, Ont. Canada



Source of swords and stuff. No other information available.

Smokey Mountain Knife Works

P.O. Box 4430

Sevierville, TN 37864

Check out their Excalibur letter openers as possible favors.

Starfire Swords,Ltd.

P.O. Box 74

Spencer, NY 14883

Winter Steel Armory

P.O. Box 1762

Palm Desert, CA 92261


Source of swords.


For stationary, parchment, invitations, sealing wax, and handstamps

for customizing your wedding invitations:

The American Wedding Album

American Stationery Co., Inc.

300 Park Avenue

Peru, Indiana 46970


Check out 'Medieval Fantasy' and 'Storybook Ending' invitations with

matching napkins and thank you scrolls.

Daniel Smith

Address unknown

1-800-426 6740

Source of handmade papers. No other information available.

Earth Care

P.O. Box 7070

Madison, WI 53707


Source of 'natural' papers (stationary and wrap) made of flower

petals. Also carry sealing wax and letter seals. Check out their

miniature sundial 'necklace', said to have been given as a romantic

present to Henry II from Eleanor of Aquitaine.


PO Box 180741

Utica, MI 48318-0741


Source of medieval fantasy handstamps (unicorns, wizards, castles,

knights, etc.).

Paper Direct

100 Plaza Drive

Secaucus, NJ 07094-3606


Source of clipart, fonts, notecards and stationary (including

parchment) for making your own invitations.

Rugg Road Paper Company

105 Charles Street

Boston 02114 617-742-0002

Source of handmade papers with real flowers mixed in.

The Swordmark Company

P.O. Box 49592

Atlanta, GA 30359


Source of wax seals and sealing wax.

The Rexcraft Wedding Invitation magazine

Address Unknown


No information available.

Victorian Papers

Address Unknown


Source of sealing wax and supples.


These are specialty catalogs:

The Historical Research Center

EZZELL Enterprises

2855 Villa Loma Drive

Colorado Springs, CO 80917


Source of information about your family name history, coat-of-arms

and shields. Also armor and swords.

Period Pavilions

Medieval Miscellanea

6530 Spring Valley Drive

Alexandria, VA 22312

Source of historical pavilions, tents, yurts, canopies, and

bannerpoles for rental or purchase.

Small Fry Sculptures

Sheri & Carlos Frey

620 N Logan Street

Wayne, NE 68787


Source of handmade sculptures depicting specific individuals for

special occasions (i.e., customized brides & grooms for caketoppers).


For Early, medieval, and Renaissance music books, recorded music, and


Boulder Early Music Shop

2010 14th St.

Boulder, Co. 80302


No current information available.

Lark In The Morning

PO Box 1176

Mendocino, Ca. 95460


Source of hard-to-find music and musical instruments, i.e., Celtic

harps, recorders, pennywhistles, lutes, lyres and others.

Time Warner Sound Exchange

45N. Industry Ct.

Deer Park, NY 11729-4614


Small collection of Celtic and New Age Celtic music (i.e., Clannad,

Enya and others).

9.2: Websites of Interest


Following is a list of informational websites, some of which

have been previously mentioned in the FAQ and which may provide

help to planners of medieval weddings or feasts. Please note

that this is not meant to be a list of WWW vendors.


Wedding Websites:

Weddings Online:

Wedding Traditions:

Leslie's Guide to Wedding Planning: homepage: homepage:


Medieval/Renaissance Websites:

Medieval & Renaissance Wedding Page:

Rialto Index & Archive:

SCA Current Middle Ages Page: (link to Art,

Science, & History)

Joe Bethancourt's homepage: (link to Society for

Creative Anachronism)


Med/Ren Foods, Recipes and Menus

Cariadoc's Miscellany:

Menu for Wile-the-Winter-Away Feast:

David Friedman's Recreational Medievalism page:

Amy Gale's historic recipes: (select 'Ethnic




Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild homepage:

Beginner's Peasant Garb for Renaissance Faire:

Historic Costuming FAQ:


Handfasting and Neopaganism:

Handfasting Rituals and Pagan Wedding Information Page:

Laura Mitchell's handfasting ceremony:

Rain Puddles webpage of resources for Neopaganism:

Kirsti Thomas' Medieval & Renaissance Wedding homepage:

Rowanhold Bardic Circle page:



SCA Music & Dance Page:

Digital Tradition Folk song Database:

Celtic Music on the Internet:

Home pages of Morris and Sword Sides:

The Jester's Court homepage:

Majestic Brass Quintet homepage:



Draw Your Own Celtic Knotwork page:

The Internet Movie Database:

York University (Ontario, CA) Web Museum: (for info on

medieval & renaissance artwork)

The Trayned Bandes of London homepage: (for info on

Elizabethan Military arts)

Labyrinth homepage for Medieval Studies at Georgetown Univ:

Richard III [1483-85] Society homepage:

The University of Kentucky Classics Dept. homepage: then select Web

Sites of Interest Elsewhere --> Strange Bedfellows

--> Camelot Project for bibliographies of Arthurian

legends, Tristan & Isoldt, etc.)

Books dealing with Henry VIII and his wives

(This is by no means a complete list :-D)

Compiled by Beth Barter


1. TITLE: Henry VIII: A biography

AUTHOR: John Bowle

PUBLISHER: Little, Brown 1965

CATEGORY: Biography/Non-Fiction

2. TITLE: Great Harry

AUTHOR: Carolly Erickson

PUBLISHER: Summit Books, 1980

CATEGORY: Biography/Non-Fiction

3. TITLE: The Personal History of Henry the Eighth

AUTHOR: Francis Hackett

PUBLISHER: Modern Library, 1945

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

4. TITLE: The secret of Henry the Eighth

AUTHOR: Philip Lindsay

PUBLISHER: Meridian Books, 1953

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

5. TITLE: The Private Life of Henry VIII

AUTHOR: Nancy Brysson Morrison

PUBLISHER: Vanguard Press, 1964

CATEGORY: Biography/Non-Fiction

6. TITLE: Henry VIII

AUTHOR: Jasper Godwin Ridley

PUBLISHER: Viking, 1985

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

7. TITLE: Henry VIII, The Mask of Royalty

AUTHOR: Lacey Baldwin Smith

PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1971

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

8. TITLE: Henry VIII and His Court

AUTHOR: Neville Williams

PUBLISHER: Macmillan, 1971

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

9. TITLE: King's Fool

AUTHOR: Margaret Campbell Barnes



10. TITLE: The Autobiography of Henry VIII:

With Notes by His Fool, Will Somers: a novel

AUTHOR: Margaret George

PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Press, 1986


11. TITLE: The Ivy Crown (Catherine Parr)

AUTHOR: Mary M. Luke

PUBLISHER: Doubleday, 1984


12. TITLE: Murder Most Royal (Anne Boleyn)

AUTHOR: Jean Plaidy

PUBLISHER: Putnam, 1972


13. TITLE: Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist

Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII

AUTHOR: Karen Lindsay

PUBLISHER: Addison-Wesley Pub., 1995


14. TITLE: The Six Wives of Henry VIII

AUTHOR: Alison Weir

PUBLISHER: Grove Weidenfeld, 1992

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

15. TITLE: The Six Wives of Henry VIII

AUTHOR: Gladys Malvern



Books dealing with Elizabeth I

(This is by no means a complete list :-D)

1. TITLE: Queen Elizabeth

AUTHOR: Katherine Susan Anthony


CATEGORY: Biography

2. TITLE: Envoy from Elizabeth

AUTHOR: Pamela Bennetts



3. TITLE: Elizabeth I

AUTHOR: Donald Barr Chidsey

PUBLISHER: Knopf, 1955

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

4. TITLE: The First Elizabeth

AUTHOR: Carolly Erickson

PUBLISHER: Summit Books, 1983

CATEGORY: Biography

5. TITLE: The Virgin Queen: Elizabeth I,

Genius of the Golden Age

AUTHOR: Christopher Hibbert

PUBLISHER: Addison-Wesley, 1990

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

6. TITLE: Young Bess

AUTHOR: Margaret Irwin

PUBLISHER: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1945


7. TITLE: Elizabeth the Great

AUTHOR: Elizabeth Jenkins

PUBLISHER: Coward-McCann, 1959

CATEGORY: Biography

8. TITLE: "The heart and stomach of a king":

Elizabeth I and the politics of sex and power

AUTHOR: Carole Levin

PUBLISHER: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

9. TITLE: Elizabeth Regina, the age of triumph 1588-1603

AUTHOR: Alison Plowden

PUBLISHER: Times Books, 1980

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

10. TITLE: An Elizabethan Garland

AUTHOR: A. L. Rowse


CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

11. TITLE: The Queens and the Hive

AUTHOR: Dame Edith Sitwell

PUBLISHER: Little, Brown 1962

CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

12. TITLE: Elizabeth Tudor: Portrait of a Queen

AUTHOR: Lacey Baldwin Smith

PUBLISHER: Little, Brown 1975

CATEGORY: Biography

13. TITLE: Tudor Wench

AUTHOR: Elswyth Thayne

PUBLISHER: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1932

CATEGORY: Biography

14. TITLE: Elizabeth The First, Queen of England

AUTHOR: Neville Williams

PUBLISHER: Dutton, 1968

CATEGORY: Biography

15. TITLE: All the Queen's men: Elizabeth I and her courtiers

AUTHOR: Neville Williams

PUBLISHER: Macmillan, 1972

CATEGORY: Non-fiction

16. TITLE: The Life and Times of Elizabeth I

AUTHOR: Neville Williams

PUBLISHER: Doubleday, 1972

CATEGORY: Biography

17. TITLE: All the Queen's Men

AUTHOR: Evelyn Anthony



18. TITLE: The Succession: a novel

AUTHOR: George P. Garrett

PUBLISHER: Doubleday, 1984


Books dealing with Mary Tudor

(This is by no means a complete list :-D)

1. TITLE: Rose and the Thor

AUTHOR: Nancy Lenz Harvey


CATEGORY: Non-Fiction

2. TITLE: I am Mary Tudor

AUTHOR: Hilda Winifred Lewis

PUBLISHER: McKay, 1972


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