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

    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 housed
at The Medieval & Renaissance Wedding page:
The following websites provide links to the Medieval &
Renaissance Wedding page: (Art & Science)
       (page down to p.28 - Wedding information)
If you do not have web access, the Medieval & Renaissance Theme 
Wedding FAQ may be obtained through email from: (The SCRIBE Network)
    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 Traditions, Ceremonies, and

1.1: Weddings are filled with 'traditions' such as the tossing of the
     bouquet and garter, the bride wearing white dress and veil, the
     exchange of wedding rings, etc.  Just how far back do these
     'traditions' really go?
1.2: What is the story behind the wedding rhyme:
         "Something old, something new,
          Something borrowed, something blue,
          And a lucky sixpence for your shoe."
1.3: 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?
1.4: 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 the rite...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...but I know very
     little about the ceremony.  What things were done in a 
     historical handfasting and in what order?
1.5: 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.
1.6: Is handfasting legally binding?
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: 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
2.4: 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?
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
4.4: Could I wear flowers in my hair instead of a veil?
4.5: 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?
4.6: 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: I know that a wedding cake is not a medieval custom, but 
     it's expected in our family to have one.  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 Historical Figures

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