A Few Renaissance Wedding Tips
FIRST, planning a wedding
is a HUGE undertaking and to pull
it off without a flaw, organization
is an absolute must. It seems that
most Renaissance weddings are planned
by the bride and groom and typically
they do not use a wedding planner.
If you are planning your own wedding
then I highly recommend you purchase
a good wedding planner book.
A planner will put everything
you need to do in a nice organized
fashion. Most have cost savings
tips and well as questions you need
to ask people like the photographers,
caterers, etc. You have plenty of
stress and this will definitely help
eliminate a lot of it.
If you want a nice touch to your wedding then pay particular attention to the music played. Many people use a bagpiper to play during the actual ceremony then hire a band for the reception. If you happen to be in the Southern part of the US then the best bagpiper is at TexasBagpiper.com .
It's pretty common
for people to get really nervous when
thinking that they are going to have
to give a speech in front of a bunch
of people. The groom sometimes give
a speech. The bride sometimes gives
a speech. Some weddings have the best
man give a speech, the maid of honor
give a speech, the father of the bride
give a speech and the mother of the
bride give a speech (plus the bride
Now I'm not going
to tell you how to run your wedding
but keep in mind that IF you are going
to have anyone give a speech, then
it might be a good idea to give them
a little help with the preparation
of those speeches. Here's a link to
a really good downloadable book on all
types of wedding speeches. It has
suggestions for all types of speeches.
And if you are the bride or groom,
you just might find some good information
in there too.
If you are looking at a Renaissance theme wedding then
there's a pretty good chance you are interested in
wedding rings or wedding bands that 'fit the theme'.
If you haven't picked out your rings yet here are
some good sites with wide selections and very good
prices on Celtic
wedding rings, Irish
wedding rings or Claddagh
wedding rings. If you click on any of these links
your browser will open in a new window when it goes
to those sites. You will have to close those pages
to return to this site.
If you are considering a Renaissance
the med wedding and would like to
give gifts to the groomsmen that
carry that theme too, then I would
tankards. These are popular for
those having Renaissance theme weddings
and also for those just looking for
something unique to give to those
who stood beside them during their
ceremony. You have different sizes
and woods to chose from and they
are pretty darn inexpensive too.
Those couples interested in Renaissance
the med weddings are usually interested
in giving bridesmaid gifts that carry
through on the theme too. Here are
a couple of websites that may help
you come up with some 'theme' gifts.
or Irish jewelry or Claddagh
jewelry are popular. Even if
you don't find anything on the websites,
they can give you a springboard
to help get your creative juices
going in coming up with some great
bridesmaid gift ideas.
BRIDES DRESS: You
should know that the white bride's
dress was not worn during the Renaissance.
It’s actually a fairly recent trend. Back in the day (as my teenage daughter likes to say), most wedding dresses were dark colors. Today there are a lot of pretty materials you can use for the dress. Popular colors are Hunter Green, burgundy and deep purple (purple was reserved for royalty only and others were actually prohibited from wearing it). The bride's dress will probably be laced at the sides or front and it will be long and probably be low cut (but not too low). Ribbons and lace can accent the dress. The body of the dress often looked rather like a coat. The term “cotehardie” which in translation means “bold coat”,
is used to describe the dress of the
Skirts were long and the hair was worn up. (only “loose” woman wore their hair long and down). Look at the artist paintings (there are plenty on this web site) and you will rarely see any woman with her hair down. Although today this is rarely given a thought with most brides and bridesmaids in Renaissance weddings wearing their hair loose and down. Many put ribbons hanging loose over the back of the head.
You can find quite
a few wedding dresses on ebay. Try here for
some of the best.
FOOD: If you elect to serve authentic food and/or drink at your reception, keep in mind the needs of ALL of your guests.
SEATING: There are really
no set guidelines on how to set up
the seating during the dining after
the wedding. Traditionally, the seating
arrangements were tables set in a
horseshoe fashion, with the bride
and groom, the best man, matron or
maid of honor (and their guests)
seated at the head table with the
guests seated on both sides. Musicians
were placed against a far wall or
in a corner. If this is difficult
to imagine the you should look at
the painting by Paolo Caliari of
Veronese titled "The Wedding at Cana".
This painting gives a pretty good
idea of how the weddings of the time
were set up (painted around 1562).
LOCATION. Church? Inside? Outside? A castle? A Ren. Faire? Pick your location but be aware of the limits. A small church can’t hold 500 wedding guests. You will need an estimate of how many will be attending before you call.
THEME DECORATION: Flowers? Herb bouquets? Banners? You can always hire a professional to decorate or maybe you have some artistic/creative friends that can assist you with the decorations.
When making the decision on what you are going to wear keep in mind that the look is only one part. You need to be comfortable (sort of) and you need to be able to comfortably walk. Maybe even dance?
Your quests will be more inclined to dress for your chosen theme if they know that the entire wedding party will be dressing that way. Peer pressure even works on adults.
WEDDING FAVORS: It’s
common to have a memento of some
sort for the quests to take home
with them. Candles? Pressed flowers?
GUESTS: Keep in mind that some of your guests may not have any idea exactly what they are supposed to wear. You will want to have some places for them to look to get ideas (books?, ebay? magazine articles. Hey, here’s an idea, How about this web site?).
ATTIRE SUGGESTIONS: Let your guests know that any type of "era" dress is appropriate. After all, there were peasants, middle class and nobility during the Renaissance. This will give them more latitude and help open their eyes to the possibilities.
If you are giving your guests the option of wearing theme dress, you may want to personally encourage them to dress in costume. A little encouragement may be all they need to go ahead and do something different, like dress in appropriate attire.
ACTIVITIES: You may, or may not, want activities that are era appropriate. The decision is up to you. Keep in mind that some guests may hesitate simply because they may be a little self conscious about the way they are dressed. It may take a little while before the participation really gets going. My experience is that a liberal amount of alcohol seems to help (but that’s just me).
MENS DRESS: Men's dress during the Renaissance was nothing like today. Pants were tight (called breeches). Some men wore tunics. Loose shirts (we call them pirate shirts today) and vests that were laced were common.
Leather boots was the most common footwear.
Men's hair was long and worn loose.
FLOWERS: Flowers, and specifically herbs, played a very large role in Renaissance/Medieval weddings. Some herbs were believed to have mystical powers and could help the couple prosper and stay healthy.
Wheat, of all things, was the symbol of fertility and nearly all ceremonies used wheat. Placed in with the bouquet flowers it was supposed to help the couple have lots of children. "Lots of children"..., I have to stop and think about that. As a father myself I know that God gives you twelve years to learn to love your children, then He turns them into teenagers.
Again I want to emphasize that having a wedding is about what YOU want. Unless you are a real stickler for authenticity (if you are then you are probably already member of the SCA) then don't worry too much about exactly what to do. Let your instincts guide you.
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