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Stefan's Florilegium


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wed-FAQ - 3/19/96

Intro. and table of contents for wed FAQs.

NOTE: See also the files: weddings-msg, p-weddings-bib, wed-FAQ, p-marriage-msg,
Ger-marriage-msg, Scot-marriage-msg, beadwork-msg, silk-msg.


This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set
of files, called Stefanšs Florilegium.

These files are available on the Internet at:

Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.

While the author will likely give permission for this work to be
reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first
or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris
AKA: Stefan li Rous


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,
alt.wedding, rec.food.historic, rec.org.sca, 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 bj@csd.uwm.edu.

(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
to news.answers, a newsgroup with the expressed purpose of
posting and archiving FAQ lists.

The Medieval & Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ is also housed
and/or linked at the following locations:

The SCRIBE Network (Mihalik1@aol.com)
http://www2.ecst.csuchico.edu/~rodmur/sca (Art, Science and

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 [aadandy@watarts.uwaterloo.ca]
Beth Barter [bab2@cc.bellcore.com]
Jaelle of Armida [jaelle@access.digex.net (Judy Gerjuoy)]
Kirsti Thomas [kst@paul.spu.edu]
Trystan L. Bass [fishcat@hooked.net]

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 Historical Figures

<the end>

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