Organized and compiled by BJ Kuehl for the alt.wedding and soc.couples.wedding newsgroups.
Please email BJ directly with additions or corrections to the FAQ.


Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about 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: 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 appreciated!

2.4: 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?

2.5: I'm thinking of rolling up my invitation (but how would you mail that cheaply!). Any suggestions??!!

2.6: How about thank you cards? Any ideas for how we can make our thank you cards look medieval in style?


Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ:  Questions about
Invitations and Announcements

***************************************************************
(c) The Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ was compiled
by and is maintained and copyrighted by Barbara J. Kuehl.  All
suggestions and additions should be emailed to her at
bj@csd.uwm.edu.  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.
****************************************************************
2.1:  We're using a medieval theme for our wedding.  How can we
     adapt that look for our invitations?

From: fishcat@hooked.net (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: ladyjane@cyberverse.com (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: smyrniw@bnr.ca (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
printer.
                   -------------------------
From: mitchell@owl.csusm.edu (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@gramercy.ios.com (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: ereiswig@cycor.ca (eric reiswig)
There's a nice 'how-to' for drawing knotwork at
http://www.en.com/users/ivan/knotwork.html
                   -------------------------
From: Marian Jones 
If anyone is interested in making their own Celtic invitations 
(on MAC or Windows) I found a really good collection of Celtic 
Clipart from a company in Calfornia.  Contact 
highland@wco.com
 
for more information.
                   -------------------------
From: Jason_L@pop.com (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: sbartels@ivory.trentu.ca (SUE)
We got the most gorgeous scroll paper ($6) at a paper supply 
store. We put it in the printer, printed off a master copy of 
our design (a knight in shining armor and his princess riding up
to a castle) and photocopied it for $2 dollars total.  Our 
invitations were in zurich callagriphic text. We folded them in
thirds and put them in a #10 envelope ($1 on sale for 100) but,
to fancy it up, we used the same font on the envelope and added
our chosen graphic (a fan), and put a gold seal ($2/100) on the
envelope flap.  The response cards were done four to a page on 
antique gold stock (mailboxes has it) paper, folded and placed in
self-addressed baby envelopes which fit perfectly in the #10 
envelopes. Add to that a newletter/map on a normal piece of paper
detailing accomodations, attractions, restaurants and directions
to the hall, and we sealed them up and send them off.  Moral of 
the story: they look great, we can say we did them ourselves. 
People know we took the time and effort (a lot!!) but we got what
we want instead of settling for a plain boughten invite.
                   -------------------------
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: aspsys@slip.net (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@joanne.central.sun.com (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
lettered.
                   -------------------------
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".
                   -------------------------
From: lskidm1@umbc.edu (Larisa-Rose Skidmore)
To start with, get a copy of the current American Wedding Album 
invitation catalog.  I too am looking into a medieval wedding 
and think I may have found the perfect invitations.  They have 
an invitation called "Medieval Fantasy" which has a castle with 
a knight and maiden on a horse.  Also, there is an invitation 
called "Storybook Ending"  This invitation also has a castle on 
it, but the knight/maiden on the horse is replaced by a 
horse-drawn carriage.  The first one is all white, and the 
second is teal on white vellum.  Both are beautiful and would 
work for a medieval wedding.

================================================================
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
                                 and
                       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
       --------------------fold------------------------------
      The ceremony will begin at two o'clock in the after-noon
                                 at
          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: guettier@moretcri.ensmp.fr (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...
et
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...
and
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@rand.org (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 (bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu)

Here are some possibilities:

             HEAR YE!       HEAR YE!

            The honour of thy presence
               is hereby requested
               at the marriage of
                 [bride's name]
                       and
                  [groom's name]
                 on [day and date]
         in a mediaeval wedding ceremony
          at half-past the seventh hour
                in the eventide

In keeping with the medieval theme of such a wedding invitation,
the announcements might also be worded:

            H E A R   Y E               H E A R   Y E

           Let it be known that on the 11th day of June
     in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-___
   the house of [bride's last name] pledged its firstborn daughter
                              [name]
   to the house of [groom's name] in marriage to the firstborn son
                              [name]
                                at
                         
                            City, State
                                **
           [Bride & groom's married name(s) now reside
                                at
                          
                           City, State
                               Zip
                   -------------------------

            On the eve of February the twenty-fourth,
                    in the year of our lord
                nineteen hundred and ninety-six
                 at half past the seventh hour,
         the heads of Houses [last name] and [last name]
          invite you to bear witness to the joining of
                         [bride's name]
                               to
                         [groom's name]
                   in the bonds of matrimony
                 and to share in the celbration
               of the joining of these two houses
                       at [name of place]
                            [address]
                         City, State, Zip
                   -------------------------
From: sbartels@ivory.trentu.ca (SUE)
Our wording reflected our medieval theme and the look of the 
scroll: "Hear, ye, hear ye, be it known that we request the 
pleasure of you company at the ceremony of our Marriage nuptuals
on .....And be it further known that Immediately following the 
ceremony...invite ye to attend a reception held in our honour.
Susan and Steven" 

================================================================
2.3:  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
    appreciated!

From: bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
In a medieval movie I once saw, the king sealed a document by
holding a stick of sealing wax over a candle flame until it
began to melt, then quickly positioning the stick over the
document, letting 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.
                   -------------------------
From: fishcat@hooked.net (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
box.
                   -------------------------
From: VWilson@ccsmtp.farinon.harris.com
Do not use a candle or lighter flame to melt the wax, it can 
cause a black residue in your wax. The best way is to use a 
small butane torch (you can buy small portable ones at most 
major hardware stores for under $20.00).  It is advisable to 
lightly coat your stamp every 5 uses to keep the wax from 
sticking and to make it easier to remove the stamp without 
damaging the image.  Any light vegetable oil will work, but I 
found that the cooking spray "PAM" was the easiest and least 
messy to work with.
                   -------------------------
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: bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (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."
                   -------------------------
From: musasurv@aol.com (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.

================================================================
2.4:  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:  ???????????
The guy at the post office told me that they really frown on 
sealing wax on outer envelopes. When they get run through the 
stamping machine (which is hot) the wax melts off and gets all 
over the machinery.  In fact, he also told me that when they see
envelopes with sealing wax they usually either just send them 
back to the author or put them in a dead letter file. I think 
they even have a policy somewhere about sealing wax.
                   -------------------------
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: Julia Haskett 
We just mailed our invites and I sealed some of the local ones 
and they arrived mostly with the wax chipped off pretty badly.
                   -------------------------
From: nutmegga@aol.com (NutmegGA)
I have sent tons of letters with sealing wax before. After a 
while, it occured to me to ask if the seal arrived with the 
letter; the response I often got was, "What seal?"  Either it 
melts off, as was mentioned before, or it cracks and falls off,
as the dried wax is very brittle.  Even if you seal the inner 
envelope, the recipient will likely get an envelope full of 
little crumbled pieces of wax.  Send one to yourself (just a 
regular envelope, no need to waste an invitation), write "HAND 
CANCEL" on the outside of the envelope, and see if the wax is 
still there on the outside or if it crumbles on the inside.
                   -------------------------
From: Brock Mislan and Cathie Trayers 
As far as sealing wax goes and the mail service - here is what i
have been told.  Sealing wax placed on the outer envelope will 
chip off is it goes through the cancellation machines at the 
post office.
                   -------------------------
From: VWilson@ccsmtp.farinon.harris.com
Use a good quality paper stock which is fairly stiff since 
bending the stamped item can cause the wax seal to lift up and 
fall off the paper, which is what will likely happen with flimsy
or lightweight paper.  One way I've seen to completely avoid 
this problem is to use the wax stamp to seal the actual 
invitation and then place the sealed invitation inside a separate
outer mailing envelope so that your guests can disregard the 
outer envelope with all of the modern mailing necessities such 
as canceled postage stamps and such.
                   -------------------------
From: mallian@mail.med.upenn.edu (MARYBETH U. ALLIAN)
Find a post office that hand stamps the mail- yes, this may 
sound unusual and somewhat inefficient in our day and age but 
here in Philadelphia the old Benjamin Franklin post office does 
this with no extra charge if the number of invitations is under 
50.  After 50, they charge an extra .05 cents per envelope. The 
stamp they put on is beautiful (it looks somewhat antiquated and
has BF's "signature" on it) especially if you use love stamps 
and have the addresses calligraphied. If you can find something 
like this in your area- you might have to call around- it would 
be both convenient for the wax seals and a beautiful addition 
to them.
                   -------------------------
From: Brock Mislan and Cathie Trayers 
The only problem with hand cancelling is that some post offices 
aren't thrilled about that - so if you have a large number of 
them to be hand cancelled, you should bring them to the post 
office a bunch at a time.
                   -------------------------
From: mitchell@owl.csusm.edu (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: bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)
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: Julia Haskett 
You can get nice stick-on gold initial seals at most stationery 
shops. That might be an alternative.

================================================================
2.5:  I'm thinking of rolling up my invitation (but how would
     you mail that cheaply!).  Any suggestions??!!

From: kyrstyn@icecastle.com
You can buy tubes in which to mail them.
                   -------------------------
From:  BJ (bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu)
If you really want to go gala, have your invitations delivered
by a friend dressed as a herald!

================================================================
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.
****************************************************************



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