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wed-invit-FAQ - 3/18/96

Medieval and Renaissance Theme Wedding FAQ: Questions about Invitations and

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

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

(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

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
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
From BJ (bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu)
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@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: "Rottier_Amy" <Rottier#u#Amy@mnb2.fss-moses.lockheed.com>
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 <prauda@cc.helsinki.fi>
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 <serifm@fastlane.net>
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 <sclark@epas.utoronto.ca>
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" <Rottier#u#Amy@mnb2.fss-moses.lockheed.com>

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: 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...
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@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)


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??!!

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!

2.4: 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: bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (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: 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
From: Sally Jackson <serifm@fastlane.net>
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."

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 <serifm@fastlane.net>
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 (bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu
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: 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: 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.

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

From: Kristiina Prauda <prauda@cc.helsinki.fi>
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 (bj@alpha1.csd.uwm.edu)
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.

<the end>

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