Home Page

Stefan's Florilegium


This document is also available in: text or RTF formats.

weddings-msg - 1/10/08


Period and SCA weddings.


NOTE: See also the files: weddings-e-art, p-weddings-bib, wed-FAQ, wed-attire-FAQ, beadwork-msg, silk-msg, p-bibles-msg, religion-msg, herbs-msg.





This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.


This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org


I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.


The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.


Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: CONS.ELF at AIDA.CSD.UU.SE ("]ke Eldberg")

Date: 11 Apr 90 05:21:36 GMT

Organization: Society for Creative Anachronism


Greetings from William de Corbie!


A gentle whose name I have forgotten asked on the net for information about

medieval wedding ceremonies. I am researching that subject, hoping that it

might result in an article for T.I. sometime in the future. Here are a few

items from the material I have gathered.


          Pagan and Medieval wedding rituals - a brief outline

                  Copyright (C) 1990 by Ake Eldberg


There is no such thing as *The* Medieval Roman Catholic wedding ceremony.

Practices varied from country to country and even from see to see. Marriage

is not a Christian invention. When Europe was Christianized, the church had

to deal with a wide variety of local customs formed by other faiths and

traditions Q Celtic, Norse, Latin. The Germanic pagans didn't think of

matrimony as a sacrament. To them, it was a legal contract between two

families. Even a long time after the they had been converted to Chritianity,

it was often difficult to make people understand the need for a Christian

wedding service.


The "pagan" ceremonies were mostly juridical and only peripherally connected

to religion. The church couldn't simply replace the old rituals with one of

its own. So the church absorbed everything that was not directly contrary to

Christian faith, and incorporated these traditions into its ceremonies.


I will try to describe how a medieval wedding might have been done in

Scandinavia, but you should be aware that local customs may have been

different where your persona comes from.


Weddings before Christianity


The juridical procedure in Norse society was complicated, but three

ceremonial actions seem to have been necessary to make the marriage



1. Engagement, which meant that the man and the woman were promised to each

other. This was part of the deal, and economic compensation was necessary

if one side wanted to break the engagement.


2. Wedding, where the bride was formally given to the bridegroom by her

guardian, usually her father. This was done at a feast in the bridegroom's

home. "I give thee my daughter" was the formula spoken by the guardian.

3. Bedding, where the couple went to bed together in the presence of

witnesses. This was not a pornographic "live show"! The witnesses left

before any sexual action began. But the fact that the couple had gone to

bed together was firmly established.


With Christianity came a different perspective. Marriage was now a

sacrament, instituted by God and therefore something that concerned both

church and society outside the two families. Mutual consent was demanded,

and the husband was expected to be faithful. These were new ideas.


Medieval wedding ceremonies


The first part of the ceremony took place outside the church door. At

cathedrals with several entrances, there was usually a designated "bridal

door" for this. The actions done there corresponded to the functions of the

old germanic ceremony. Even though it was now led by a priest, it was

essentially a secular act by which the union of the families was confirmed.


When people had arrived at the church door, the men were placed on the right

side and the women on the left. If the bride was a virgin, her hands were

bare. If she was a widow, she wore gloves. In some countries the most

important parts were conducted in the vernacular, in others everything was

in Latin. In the latter case, the priest would read the words that the bride

and bridegroom were supposed to repeat.


The ceremony at the church door began with the mutual consent of the man

and the woman. The priest asked the man if he would take the woman for his

wife. The man replied "Yes", and then turned to the woman and said: "I

take thee, N. now to be my wife, in the name of the Lord". The same was

then repeated for the woman.


Next, the priest blessed the ring. Only one ring was used, given by the man

to the woman. The ring was sprinkled with holy water, the bridegroom took

the ring and moved it so that it came to be placed in turn on the bride's

thumb, index finger and long finger - where it stayed. This was accompanied

by the priest (or the bridegroom) saying: "In the name of the Father - and

the Son - and the Holy Spirit". Non-Scandinavian rituals have different

wordings and movements, where the ring would end on what we call the ring



Now the priest would bless the couple, after which the whole party moved

into the church. According to some rituals, the couple held burning candles

in their hands during the procession.


Inside, a "bridal mass" was celebrated. It consisted of prayers, hymns,

bible reading, antiphonals, and culminated in the solemn bridal benediction.

The couple kneeled at the altar and a fine piece of cloth (called a "paell"

in Swedish) was held over them by four unmarried people. The blessing of

the bride included many words from the Old Testament, particularly the

apocryphic book of Tobias. It included wishes that she should be good to

her husband like Rachel, wise like Rebecca, and faithful like Sarah. Let

her be fertile, chaste and innocent, and let them both live to see their

offspring to the third and fourth generation. The bridal benediction is

very old - the first known example is from the 5th century.


After this benediction a mass (communion) followed. The ritual kissing of

the bride belongs here, at the moment of the kiss of peace. The priest

kissed the bridegroom, who kissed the bride, and then the bride passed the

kiss on to the women while an assistant cleric brought it from the priest

to the male side of the church (of course the men were on the south side

and the women on the north side in the nave).


Interestingly enough, the formula "I now pronounce you man and wife" was

not used everywhere. It occurs in late period German and French rituals,

but there is evidence that in older times, the priest left the confirmation

of the marriage to God: "May the God of Abraham, Isac and Jacob unite youI"


Afterwards, in the evening, there was the bedding. The Church adopted this

pagan custom and converted it from a juridical act into a blessing of the

matrimonial bed.


Remember also that medieval wedding gowns were usually not white, as far as

I know.


I hope some of the above may be of use to you. If you want a medieval

wedding, I suggest that you choose such medieval elements that are

compatible with your faith and that are practically feasible, and try to

incorporate them into whatever modern ritual your church is using. Having

parts of the liturgy sung in Latin will help to give you a medieval feeling.


William de Corbie




From: whh at PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt)

Date: 30 Aug 90 23:17:58 GMT

Organization: Pacific * Bell, San Ramon, CA


In article <9008291635.AA20875 at well.sf.ca.us>, well!jeannec at APPLE.COM ("Jeanne

C. Stapleton") writes:

PURGATORIO:  I'd also like to mention, 'cause I didn't see it in Hal's

Purgatorio report, that Lord Iulstan Sigewealding and his lady, Juturna the

Musical, both received Leaves of Merit from James and Verena in their final

court.  Vivat and well deserved!


I think another item about these two has been missed as well.  They were

married at the end of June.  Full blown SCA wedding and feast.  As a very

nice touch for the wedding feast, they got a lot of wooden plates for the

feast and then gifted them to the wedding guests afterwards.




        Hal Ravn, Province of the Mists, West Kingdom

        Wilson H. Heydt, Jr.,  Albany, CA 94706, 415/524-8321 (home)




From: atterlep at vela.acs.oakland.edu (Eldon F. Zyzyskuzuk)

Date: 12 Nov 90 23:34:06 GMT

Organization: Oakland University, Rochester MI


In article <29955.273B7965 at stjhmc.fidonet.org> Yves.Fortan

er at f510.n370.z1.fidonet.org (Yves Fortanier) writes:


Good gentles, why are there 'SCA weddings'?  If you've had one or

performed one, what was the purpose?  If like Brian, you don't like

them, why not?  Are they at least tolerable if they're entertaining?


  In my experience with SCA weddings, they're done mainly because, in many

cases, many or most of the close friends of the couple are Scadians.  Since SCA takes so much of so many people's lives, it seems natural that they would share marriage as they share so much else.  As Baron Kevin recently commented, SCA is a family and a major purpose of the marriage ceremony is to have a family gathering.  


  The most innovative way I ever saw of dealing with a SCA marriage is to make

it into an event.  Two of our group's oldest members (one has been to EVERY

Pennsic War) were marrying, and so we decided to incorporate their marriage

into our regular summer event.  The flyers sent out mentioned the "signing of

the marrige contract" as a major event in the day, and the mundane families of

bride and groom were decked out in garb (which they acquired on their own).

It was a lot of fun, but a huge amount of work (most of the group, myself

included missed the ceremony because feast began immediately afterward.)  

It made for a nice touch and was definitely a lot of fun. (And it was period, too!)



From: jerbil at nntp-server.caltech.edu (Joseph R. Beckenbach)

Date: 12 Nov 90 19:52:13 GMT

Organization: California Institute of Technology, Pasadena


Unto the gentles of the Rialto, greetings!


Yves.Fortanier at f510.n370.z1.fidonet.org (Yves Fortanier) writes:


Good gentles, why are there 'SCA weddings'?  If you've had one or

performed one, what was the purpose?  If like Brian, you don't like

them, why not?  Are they at least tolerable if they're entertaining?


        In Caid I have heard of a few, all of which were either The Real

Vows between two members with active SCA families on both sides (and thus

LOTS of SCA friends), or a second ceremony to share the joy with their SCA

friends after having the civil or church ceremony for the non-SCA friends.


        The only related happenings I have witnessed have been 'hand-fastings'

held after Opening Court, which formalized an engagement for the traditional

Scottish 'year and a day'.  Those have all specifically been announced in

Court as being "ten minutes after the end of Court" in a different pavilion

than that of Court, and that people are invited to witness if they chose.

Such hand-fastings usually are quite well witnessed, and not only by

friends of the two principals involved....  A gorgeous little ceremony.


        In service,

                Joseph d'Aquitaine



From: bloch at mandrill.ucsd.edu (Steve Bloch)

Date: 17 Nov 90 02:48:58 GMT


Yves.Fortanier at f510.n370.z1.fidonet.org (Yves Fortanier) writes:

Good gentles, why are there 'SCA weddings'?  If you've had one or

performed one, what was the purpose?  If like Brian, you don't like

them, why not?  Are they at least tolerable if they're entertaining?


A month or two ago two gentles of the Barony were wed. They scheduled

the 20th-century (I'm hesitant to use "mundane" for a wedding!)

ceremony for 5 PM, the SCA ceremony for 7 PM, and the reception and

semi-potluck feast immediately thereafter.  Both ceremonies were held

at one of our regular event sites, and everyone changed clothes in

between (the couple's non-SCA relatives and guests were provided with

adequate garb).  The whole thing was not an intrusion on an SCA event,

it was effectively an SCA event of its own, though not announced in

Kingdom newsletters.


It is traditional in this Barony for a gentleman to go to the Baron

and Baroness to request permission to court such-and-such lady (unwed

ladies being by assumption wards of Their Excellencies), and after some

months to return to ask Their Excellencies' permission to wed.  This

request is followed by lengthy haggling over brideprice and/or dowry,

after which arrangements for the wedding are made.  The aforementioned

wedding had all this (over the course of a year or two), as well as

some very good-theatre gift-givings, drinking-from-the-same-cup, etc.

culminating in a running jump over a crossed sword and broom.  After

which it was time to eat, and then dance.


This wedding was done very well, and I believe all present (including

the dozens of non-SCA folk) enjoyed it immensely.



Stephen Bloch

Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib


bloch at cs.ucsd.edu



From: BERDANJ at YALEVM.BITNET (Amoret of Dragonship Haven)

Date: 29 Jan 91 14:43:03 GMT

Organization: The Internet


Greetings to the Rialto!


In answer to the question of Yaakov HaMizrachi <lawbkwc at buacca.bitnet>

regarding appropriate colors for period wedding attire in Europe and the lands

of Islam:


The modern "white wedding" is a Victorian development (and an upper-class one at that).  In Europe at least, period wedding dress would simply be the best

outfits the couple had.  While it might have been made specifically for the wedding, it would be expected to serve as their "dress-up" clothes until it

wore out.  No particular color was mandated; whatever is apprpriate in period,

but fancier.  (I.e., peasants would not be dressed in black, since they could

not have gotten the color, etc.)


I am less certain about Muslim dress.  My only suggestion comes from my

viewing of a recent museum exhibit on Saudi costume, which included several

wedding outfits.  They were several different colors; a shocking-pink one

comes to mind.  The common denominator was that all were dripping with as much jewelry and decoration as could be managed.  I would suspect that the


part was not color, but how much wealth the bride could manage to show off at

her wedding.  I will gladly be enlightened if someone knows differently.


                                            Amoret of Dragonship Haven

                                              mka Susan de Guardiola



TO: Ravenwing

FROM: Da'ud Al-haqq

SUBJECT: Weddings


-> In the midst of a rare brain-idea collision, Ravenwing said to All:


-> RR>"    One of the members of our Barony is planning to do a

-> RR>"13th c British wedding service in late July, but he is

-> RR>"having difficulty locating an authentic period text of the

-> RR>"service.  Can anyone out there help out. I don't even know

-> RR>"where to send him to try to look something like that up.


Britain in the 1200's would probably have confined all of its "gentle"

wedding services to Church liturgy, with Norman overtones to be sure.  The

less-than-gentle services, say those of Northern England or Wales might

have a measure more fun in them, though, with pre-Norman Danelaw and

Celtic commonfolk traditions involved.


* Origin: Don't be nervous or I'll have you beheaded! (1:135/99)



TO: Cadi

FROM: Da'ud Al-haqq

SUBJECT: Weddings


-> CC>"And so, what would those Celtic commonfolk traditions have

-> CC>"consisted of?


Specifics vary from area to area in the British countryside, from morris

dancing to May poles, all of which are ceremonies for personal fertility

(and weddings are linked to the agricultural fertility ceremonies) as well

as calendar events.  There are songs, dances, and feasts that all have

peculiarities of the villages which performed them.  No single rule

of what they consist of applies to all, but you may wish to research these

in the folklore section of a good college library.


* Origin: Don't be nervous or I'll have you beheaded! (1:135/99)


From: dolata at lead.uazaic.arizona.edu (Dolata)

Date: 14 Jul 91 22:15:13 GMT

Organization: University of Arizona AI Chemistry Lab, Tucson, AZ


Dearest Gentles,


        If I may be allowed to insert a comment about tailoring fees;


        In 1982 my Dear Lady and I decided to be wed in Rennaisance fashion.

We hired Dorothy Breen (daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradly) as our seamstress.

We bought the material, and paid her for the immense amout of work necessary

to construct two very authentic Court Dress of the style of the court of

Henry VIII of England.


        At that time the cost was about $500.   Apart from two small problems,

the clothing has served us well and faithfully through the years.  (Problem

#1,  the sleeves on her dress were not 100% correct. Problem #2,  where DID

these 25 extra pounds come from????)      Over these years we have come to feel

that the fees were modest, and a good investment.   After all,  nowadays I

spend about 2/3 of that just on a boring 2 piece pin-stripe suit!


        Yes,  the cost of tailoring may seem very high.   But good material

and good craftsmenship will last,  and if you amortize that over 20 years...  

the cost becomes minimal.


        I hope you receive as good as of value as we did, and remain


Yours in Service


Thomas Ignatius Perigrinus

Minister of Arts and Sciences           (brewing!  now there's an art I

College of St. Felix                     can support!!!!)



From: BERDANJ at YALEVM.BITNET (Alejandra Mercedes de Rosanegra)

Date: 22 Aug 91 13:08:03 GMT

Organization: The Internet


Greetings to the Rialto and to Alessandra Francesca Chiarmontesi (who has a

nice first name!)


In regards to the query as to information on Italian Renaissance (especially

Venetian) weddings, information on marriage itself in Venice may be found in



_Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice_ by Edward Muir ISBN 0-691-10200-7

_The Boundaries of Eros_ by Guido Ruggiero ISBN 0-19-505696-5


Among other things, it seems that whether one was actually married or not was

a bit unclear to many, particularly among the lower classes; rather like modern

common-law marriage.


A description of a mid-fifteenth-century Florentine wedding ceremony may be

found in


_Giovanni and Lusanna_ by Gene Brucker ISBN 0-520-06328-7


but it is a description of a somewhat clandestine marriage (and the book

focuses on the resulting "palimony" suit filed by Lusanna against Giovanni.)


Hope this is of assistance!


                                 Alejandra Mercedes de Rosanegra



From: whheydt at PacBell.COM (Wilson Heydt)

Date: 22 Oct 91 18:40:17 GMT

Organization: Pacific * Bell, San Ramon, CA


In article <9110211929.aa20656 at mc.lcs.mit.edu>, BERDANJ at YALEVM.BITNET (Alejandra) writes:


those of you who are attached meet your spouse/whatever through the SCA?  


I met my Lady Wife at the first event I attended.  We were married

about 14 months later at one of the earliest SCA weddings.




        Hal Ravn, Province of the Mists, West Kingdom

        Wilson H. Heydt, Jr.,  Albany, CA 94706, 415/524-8321 (home)



From: samlb at optilink.UUCP (Sam Bassett)

Date: 31 Oct 91 19:13:22 GMT

Organization: Optilink Corporation, Petaluma, CA


From article <29420 at nntpd.lkg.dec.com>, by norteman at tnpubs.enet.dec.com (Karen J. Norteman):

>a large

>scroll describing the particulars of the wedding and balanced with

>lots of space at the bottom for guests' signatures.

I've seen this done a number of times, and made two of them myself for SCAdian

friends' weddings.  


        And I often do the same thing for weddings I perform -- the official

State of California/local county Marriage Certificates are horrors, so I

usually make the couple a "Wall hanger" in my Fine Italic Hand . . .


Sam'l Bassett -- System Administrator (among other things)

Work:   DSC, 1310-C Redwood Wy, Petaluma 94975; 1-707-792-7253

Home:   7 Gothic Court, Novato  CA  94947;     1-415-897-7424

UUCP:   uunet!optilink!samlb;  Internet: samlb at well.sf.ca.us



From: mongo at maple.circa.ufl.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Religion in the SCA (long)

Date: 13 Mar 1993 13:58:20 GMT

Organization: Center for Instructional and Research Computing Activities


The more extensive, obvious, and public the

expression, the more uncomfortable I feel.  I'm not sure I have ever been

at a religious ceremony where, at some point, the congregation has not been

asked to pray --- at this point, I have been asked to become a participant,

and I feel very uncomfortable.  If the reason is good enough, I put up with

this discomfort.


I would probably feel different about a religious knighting ceremony where

the congregation was never expected to pray.  (Is this period?  I have no

idea.)  But at all ceremonies I can recall attending, and I believe this

includes the few religious weddings, I was asked, at least implicitly, to

be a participant.  This strikes me as a very different thing than to

associate with those of different beliefs.


      First off, let me say that I'm merely an interested bystander.  I'm

not a member of the SCA (nor do I play one on TV), but I number about a dozen

friends who are, and being a minister, a ex-doctoral history student, a

self-taught herald, and a fair-minded man, I'm often called upon to mediate

disputes...not that that's what I plan to do here, much...


      Being a minister in a very tolerant, non-denominational, NON-CHRISTIAN

religion (of our own local founding, and using vaguely Anglican and RC titles

and phrases to keep the Good Ol' Boys in this town happy), I have been placed

in the position of writing and performing wedding and baptism ceremonies that,

while religious, are non-demoninational.


      For instance, my first parishoner (the first man to actually seriously

introduce me, 22-year-old scruffy earringed baggy-eyed-from-lack-of-sleep lout

that I was, as his minister) is nominally Southern Baptist.  His wife is

Wiccan, after years of being raised as a Seventh-Day Adventist.


      Do you know how HARD it is to write a ceremony that won't offend



      But it can be DONE...If anyone's interested, I have the text to both

the "standard" wedding and baptism ceremonies somewhere on disk.  The fact is

that a ceremony doesn't have to be offensive to ANYONE unless you deliberately

go out of your way to find any public display of faith offensive on the grounds

of sheer principle.


      But that's not the belief I've seen expressed in this newsgroup.



From: bloodthorn at sloth.equinox.gen.nz (Jennifer Geard)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: SCA as Game

Date: Mon, 31 May 93 06:42:37 GMT

Organization: Lethargy Inc.


Payn le Chaunster to Sister Kate, Greetings!


"Subculture" seems to fit the SCA well.  At the same time, and although I'm

not sure what definitions of religion have surfaced in the Thinkwell

discussion, I've often thought that heavy involvement with the Society

fulfils many of the same social, cultural and psychological needs as

religion.  Perhaps that's because religious groups can be subcultures too.


Which doesn't really lead on to my next point, but hey... Last year I looked

into the regulations regarding marriage celebrants in New Zealand, since two

SCA people were planning a deeply SCA wedding and would have liked an SCA

celebrant.  There are two classes of marriage celebrants in New Zealand:

generic civil marriage celebrants (with a huge waiting list to become one),

and marriage celebrants appointed by one of the groups on the list of

government-approved groups-which-can-appoint-celebrants. At present that

list consists almost entirely of religious denominations, but the wording of

the relevant Act of Parliament also allows groups with certain sorts of

<racks memory> cultural and humanitarian aims to apply.  I had a chat to the

Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages about it:  he brought up the group

option and suggested that the SCA *might* be eligible, and that the only way

to find out how the Act would be interpreted was to apply. This potentially-

interesting test-case was stillborn after the betrothed couple worked out

that they were better off if they didn't legally wed.


It raised some questions for me, though.  Would the SCA be interested in

being the sort of organisation which could appoint marriage celebrants?  At

first I was quite enthusiastic about this (every well-equipped group needs a

celebrant ;-), but then there came a range of niggling doubts.  The initial

appointment of a group and single celebrant is one thing: the group's power

from then on to submit a list of celebrants is quite another, especially in

light of the drastic changes of personnel to which SCA branches seem prone.  

Then there was the fact that although officially this would be something

between the New Zealand SCA (which would probably have had to incorporate for

the purpose) and the New Zealand Government, positions in the local hierarchy

of would-be celebrant-appointers are subject to the approval of people in  

California.  It had the potential to get Very Messy.


I'm still interested, though, at least in talking about it.  Has anyone else

looked at the possiblities for this sort of thing?  Is it compatible with the

aims of the Society?  Would it be desirable?


Jennifer Geard                         bloodthorn at sloth.equinox.general.nz

Christchurch, New Zealand



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: SCA as Game

From: bloodthorn at sloth.equinox.gen.nz (Jennifer Geard)

Date: Tue, 01 Jun 93 22:40:12 GMT

Organization: Lethargy Inc.


Payn to Andrew, Greetings!


[SCA NZ and marriage celebrants]

> I wonder if this wouldn't destroy the legal standing of the Society in both

> CA (where it was incorporated as an -educational- organisation) and the US

> Federal system, where we 'enjoy' a similar status. Considering the furour

> currently visible/audible w.r.t. the separation of Church and State in the

> US, I think that it might well be a Bad Idea for the US corporation to be

> seen as sponsoring a 'religion'.


Some clarifications first:  a New Zealand marriage celebrant is a person

authorised to conduct legal marriages and do the paperwork for them.  The

State appoints all marriage celebrants.  As well as warranting individuals as

civil celebrants, the State warrants groups which then send the State an

annual list of people they'd like as marriage celebrants for that year.  

Currently all of those groups are religious denominations, but the criteria

for warranting groups (which involve them promoting either religious beliefs

or philosophical or humanitarian convictions) would *very probably* cover

groups such as Greenpeace, Rotary, and even the Diabetes Society.  No-one's

yet tried it, and there's interest in a test-case.


The application would be made *not* as a religious group, but as a group

which promotes certain philosophical convictions (the ideals of courtesy and

chivalry come to mind), has its own subculture such that it would benefit

from having a sympathetic person to cater to the needs of the group, and has

a certain solidity and respectability which never hurts when doing this sort

of thing.  In Christchurch, where the SCA has done more than a few demo:s for

Council events, we could put together a reasonable case.


DISCLAIMER:  There are no plans afoot to do this at the moment, and I'm

talking about it merely because I found the idea intriguing and wondered how

others saw it.  In order to apply we'd need a local SCA couple who wanted to

be legally married by an SCA celebrant but were prepared to wait a year, a

proposed initial celebrant who could get good character references from

people inside and outside the SCA, "character references" for the SCA in NZ,

NZ Inc. status or equivalent, and someone nutty enough to take the case


> I think it should well be discussed in light of the differences in corporate

> law between the US (and the People's Republic of California <grin>) and New

> Zealand.  Perhaps incorporating the SCA there would be suffcient distancing

> for the American legal entities not to fly up into the bows, but I rather

> doubt it, given their track records.

The SCA would have to be a legal entity in NZ before the procedure even

began, and NZ legal independence would become an issue.  I strongly doubt

that anything done by an independent entity (which happened to have a similar

name) in another country would affect the SCA US, but US law is a mystery to



RESTATED DISCLAIMER:  No, we're not planning it at the moment.  I looked into

it when a couple of friends were planning their wedding, but they decided

against a legal marriage and I decided the SCA was probably better kept out

of this sort of thing.


(NB:  I talk about "legal marriage" a lot. There are reasons, but they're

probably more relevant to a soc.* group.  I've just been on the phone to the

Registrar of Births, Deaths, and Marriages (again) who described some of the

situations where they've helped people put together weddings which are quite

intentionally *not* legal marriages.  Inter-country anthro.)


Jennifer Geard                         bloodthorn at sloth.equinox.gen.nz

Christchurch, New Zealand




Subject: Re: SCA as Game

Organization: HoloNet National Internet Access System: 510-704-1058/modem

Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1993 08:04:31 GMT


MI>On Cariadoc's third hand, performing marriages is quite clearly outside the

MI>purposes of the SCA, Inc..  In the period which we study, all marriage

MI>ceremonies _were_ religious.  We have chosen to exclude religion from our

MI>official activities.  The only marriage ceremony which could be an

MI>appropriate activity to be sponsored by the SCA would be a period one,

MI>which would be a religious one, which would conflict with our policy



   I must beg to differ. My Lady and I combined our Society wedding with

our legal one, which was made possible by an old Montana law allowing

two people to marry as long as they get a couple of witnesses together

and have everyone sign a letter to be later filed with the authorities.

No minister, no Justice of the Peace, just some friends who can later

say, "Yep, they went and announced that they was hitched."

   All of this is leading up to the fact that I did a bit of research

into medieval marriage customs, so that we might be historically

accurate in our ceremony. What I found was that weddings evolved over


   In early period, weddings were often strikingly similar to the above

law - the couple announced their vows before friends, and that was that.

A little later, they still wedded before friends, but then went to the

local church to repeat their vows on the building's steps, before the

priest. As time went on, the church ceremony became more important, and

moved into the chapel, while the civil ceremony dropped out of use.

   The preceeding was very quick and rough, and omitted many details.

It does, however, touch on the point that, at least early on, weddings

were not strictly religious affairs.


Sir Aylwin the Flamehaired

Barony of Sentinels' Keep / Artemisia             aylwin at holonet.net




From: sclark at epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Clark)

Subject: Re: Marrages, Life Events and Re: SCA as Game

Organization: University of Toronto - EPAS

Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1993 22:47:13 GMT



      All this talk about marriages makes me remember all that canon

law I play around with.....

      In brief, marriage was (and still is, I think) the only sacrament

performed BY THE PARTICIPANTS.  That's right, marriage is celebrated

by the couple, no priest or no witnesses officially needed.  Now, both

Church and secular officials came to frown on clandestine marriages, mostly

because of inhetance and legitimacy issues, so gradually mostly

civil and a few church strictures were applied to marriages so as to

encourage public ceremonies done before a priest.

      As to how to do "real" marriages in the SCA, I have met many a couple

who have had two or three ceremonies for different groups of people.  One

thing I discovered while preparing to get hitched myself was that in

Ontario,a civil ceremony may only be held in a judge's chambers, thus

necessitating some sort of religious offical (even if they do a

generic, non-sectarian ceremony) if the wedding is held anywhere else.

Now the group of folks who can perform these ceremonies is quite wide

(it includes, for instance, the Wiccan Church of Canada)....but still, this

could really restrict anyone wanting to have an SCA wedding and still

observe the no relgious ceremonies thing....however, almost every SCAdian

I have met who has had a garbed wedding has done it as a PRIVATE event

(albeit one where herds of SCA folk are invited and where the format is

nearly indistinguishable from an SCA event)



Nicolaa de Bracton of Leicester

sclark at epas.utoronto.ca

Susan Carroll-Clark



From: hjfeld at acs2.bu.edu (harold feld)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: SCA as Game

Date: 8 Jun 93 18:22:10 GMT

Organization: Boston University, Boston, MA, USA


In article <1uvtsd$qim at usenet.pa.dec.com>, haslock at rust.zso.dec.com (Nigel Haslock) writes:


|> Greetings from Fiacha,


|> Tadhg says


|> > Actually, you were correct: all marriage ceremonies *were* religious,

|> > although not necessarily under the purview of the Christian church;...


|> I can accept this only if you admit that certain cultures allowed, if not

|> encouraged, cohabitation for the purpose of raising children without a need

|> for the partners to be 'married' in a religious sense.


|> As far as I can tell, the Irish were such a culture.


|>     Fiacha


There is also the rather difficult problem of distinguishing between the

legal and religious consequences of marraige.


for example: In Medieval England, after primogeniture became the mandatory

law of inheritance, the question of whether a legal marraige took place

or not was crucial.  Now, while inhereitance was determined at law

in the Court of Common Pleas, the determination of marraige could

*only* be made by the local ecclesiastical court. Nevertheless, certain

questions (such as matters of consanguinuity or whether the factual

pattern of a marraige or ravishment had taken place) where held to be

legal matters determined by putting the "question to the country" (trial

by jury).

So, assume Adam has a son, Fulk, by Matilda.  Adam then has

another son, John, by Elizabeth.  On the death of Adam, both claim

the estate.  Fulk claims to take by primogeniture, by John claims that

Matilda and Adam were consaguinous, and therefore the original marraige

to Matilda was void and Fulk is a bastard.  John claims consaguinity

because Matilda's sister, Anne, slept with Adam's brother, Arthur.


Now, the Jury determines whether the fact pattern claimed by John

is true (assuming Fulk issues a general denial, which I'll assume

he does or things start to get a little complicated. :-)). If

the jury decide that John is telling the truth, the case

then goes to the Ecclesiastical court to determine if such a relationship is

consanguinous and makes a legal determination whether Fulk is a bastard.

(It is unclear whether the change in court allows Fulk to re-argue the

facts found by the Jury.  By Elizabethan, times, its clear the answer

is "no", and would result in a writ of error against the church court).

If the ecclesiastic court finds consanguinuity, then the case

goes back to common pleas on the question of whether Fulk can inhereit

(answer: no, but we need to enter it as an official verdict).


My point?  The modern concept of "marraige" is complicated, having

both religious and secular consequences.  In discussing what various

cultures did or did not recognize as marraige, it is important to

state how you mean the question.  


In Service,

Mar Yaakov



Subject: Re: period wedding

From: Linda Peck, lspeck at indirect.COM

Date: 11 Aug 1993 05:09:11 -0400

In article <9308110907.AA03603 at indirect.com> Linda Peck, lspeck at indirect.COM writes:

LIBLBM at orion.DEpaul.EDU (MURPHY LORI) writes:

>: Does anyone know of any books that contain information on middle

>: eastern weddings?  I/we want to renew our vows and want to do it

>: in a period middle eastern style.  So far, I have only found

>: small references to henna that the bride applied the night before.

>: Any information will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

>: Sahar

Ardelys responded:

>I don't know if this was done in period or not, but there are a number

>of current Muslim wedding practices that include the bride having

>intricate designs painted in henna on her hands and feet the night

before the wedding.  [...]

At the last Estrella, I had the pleasure of being invited to one of these

parties, in period or course. The idea was to paint the brides hands and

those of any participant available. Also there was refreshments (it is

customary for the women to make a big deal of any gathering, especially

this one) and stories of how to treat the new husband as relates to money.

(usually in the form of gold-modern-or silver-period), work, and of course

fathfulness. - Please understand that the bride and groom were doing a

pretend wedding therefore this was a pretend party, but that didn't stop

the gossip or suggestions. - The party was a blast. It was held in the

afternoon before the wedding. The wedding BTW was a 12th century shepardic

recreation. Very well researched and performed.

If you are going to Pensic find the current Queen of the Outlands,

Elisheva. It was her head Lady in waiting who put on this party, she will

be there as well. If you do find HM Elisheva give her a hug from Rhianwen.

Wish I could go too.


Oh yes. There was another tradition used at this party. I believe it was

Turkish. A silver coin was placed in right (i believe) palm of the bride.

It was covered with henna . . .lots of henna. Then wrapped so the hand was

covered. The next morning when the hand was un wrapped if the coin had

left a mark (IOW a white spot in the middle of a red blob) then the bride

would be prosperious otherwise, not. There was a white spot in the

dark red blob. For weeks on end. Imagine explaining that to

your boss.





Subject: Re: period wedding

From: Ed Kreyling 6966, kreyling at lds.loral.com

Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1993 13:15:48 GMT

In article <1993Aug11.131548.18254 at lds.loral.com> Ed Kreyling 6966,


kreyling at lds.loral.com writes:

In article <9308110907.AA03603 at indirect.com> lspeck at indirect.COM (Linda Peck) writes:

>LIBLBM at orion.DEpaul.EDU (MURPHY LORI) writes:

>>: Does anyone know of any books that contain information on middle

>>: eastern weddings?  I/we want to renew our vows and want to do it

>>: in a period middle eastern style.  So far, I have only found

>>: small references to henna that the bride applied the night before.

>>: Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

>>: Sahar


Greetings Lori,


My wife's apprentice has done extensive research in Middle Eastern customs.

She was gratious enough to give me a large list of references which I could

upload later but for now she said that the following two sources were the

best for what you want:



Columbia University Press, N.Y. 1989 (ISBN: 0231 06974-x-1989)

Chapters 6,10,11,13,15.



rest of bio unavailable as she only has copies of sections of the book.


I hope this is of some help.




Ed Kreyling               | Master Erik of Telemark O.L.,O.P.

kreyling at world.lds.loral.com    | Shire of Brineside Moor

Sarasota,Fl. USA           | Kingdom of Trimaris, SCA




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Subject: Re: Ceremonies in the SCA

Organization: HoloNet National Internet Access System: 510-704-1058/modem

Date: Fri, 6 Aug 1993 08:19:22 GMT


BO>[It's been argued that 'secular' weddings are okay. IMHO, the nature of a

BO>'wedding is just too deeply involved in religious rites to ever divorce the

BO>two... :^) ]


   For what it's worth, my Lady and I held our legal wedding as an SCA

event. There was no mention of any religion or higher powers, and

involved the current Prince and Princess joining us in wedlock (such

things are legal in Montana). We modeled everything, near as we could,

upon secular ceremonies that were originally held in addition to the

church ceremony.

   What worked for us, though, won't work for everyone.


Sir Aylwin the Flamehaired

Barony of Sentinels' Keep / Artemisia              aylwin at holonet.net




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: waltz at mprgate.mpr.ca (Marina Waltz)

Subject: Re: period wedding

Organization: MPR Teltech Ltd., Burnaby, B.C., Canada

Date: Fri, 6 Aug 1993 20:55:06 GMT


LIBLBM at orion.DEpaul.EDU (MURPHY LORI) writes:

: Does anyone know of any books that contain information on middle

: eastern weddings?  I/we want to renew our vows and want to do it

: in a period middle eastern style.  So far, I have only found

: small references to henna that the bride applied the night before.

: Any information will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

: Sahar


I don't know if this was done in period or not, but there are a number

of current Muslim wedding practices that include the bride having

intricate designs painted in henna on her hands and feet the night

before the wedding.  The bride's friends frequently paint one of their

own palms or another friend's also.  I have participated in these

night-before evenings on three occasions and they are a great deal of

fun.  It is usually a professional woman who comes in and paints the

bride's hands and feet, and the designs are really beautiful.  


The henna is mixed with water and lemon juice, and is applied with

something like a cake decorator for making fine lines. The bride's

friends usually use toothpicks to paint their designs.  A solution of

lemon and sugar and some clove oil is frequently patted onto the henna

to help it stick to the hands (it flakes off quite easily once it is

dry).  The participants go to sleep without washing the henna patterns

off if they want the designs to last for awhile.  The patterns are

usually visible from one to two weeks afterwards.


I don't know if this information is any help to you or not, but if

you are looking through books and see pictures of women with fancy

patterns on their hands and feet, you'll know that they are newleyweds,

and that patterning was done back then.


If you decide to go ahead with this I'm sure you'll really enjoy it - it

was lots of fun.  (On another note - Many of the women I used to work

with were Indian, but our boss wasn't.  She hated it whenever any of

them got married.  She used to say it looked like we had a palmful of

worms.  As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.)






Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Asking for a lady's hand.

From: bettina.helms at channel1.com (Bettina Helms)

Date: Sat, 18 Sep 93 21:34:00 -0500

Organization: Channel 1(R) * 617-864-0100 Info * 617-354-7077 Modem


MA>   A question has arisen as to the proper way to ask for

MA>a lady's hand.  Prior to asking the lady for her hand,

MA>does the suitor need her baron's leave to ask the lady?

MA>Further if she is a member of a House, does the suitor

MA>need the leave of the head of the House?  If the

MA>permission of both the baron and the head of the House

MA>are needed, which gentle is asked of first?


Different places, situations and personas, different customs. In the

East, the local Baron (if there is one) is at most requested to give the

pair his official blessing after all other permissions (including the

lady's) are obtained. Am not sure what the situation is regarding

households, and it may differ even from one Household to the next - so

you may as well start by discussing with the head of the Household what

formalities are involved.


If the lady's persona is early Norse or early Celt, you ask *her* first,

and anyone else involved *after* she has agreed to your suit!


-- Katja, who is a person in her own right and no man's chattel! :-)



From: David Friedman <NetID at cornell.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Asking for a lady's hand...

Date: 19 Sep 1993 15:16:07 GMT

Organization: Cornell University


Mark writes:

>   A question has arisen as to the proper way to ask for

>a lady's hand.  Prior to asking the lady for her hand,

>does the suitor need her baron's leave to ask the lady?

>Further if she is a member of a House, does the suitor

>need the leave of the head of the House?  If the

>permission of both the baron and the head of the House

>are needed, which gentle is asked of first?


I think in principle the person whose permission you must ask

is her father or, failing that, her guardian. In period, wardship was an important matter. When Henry II wanted to

express his appreciation for William the Marshall's services,

he did so by promising him the wardship of Isabel of Pembroke,

daughter and Heiress of the Earl of Pembroke and (through her

grandfather, Dermot) heiress to about a quarter of Ireland.

Henry died, Richard acted on the promise, and William promptly

married Isabel, converting himself from an almost landless

knight to one of the wealthiest and most powerful barons in



So you should first find out whose ward she is, then ask him.

I'm sure the gentlemen who married my last three wards must

have done so, but at my age memory is not entirely reliable.

I'll have to make sure next time.





From: pyotr at halcyon.com (Peter D. Hampe)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Minister seeks help for medieval-style wedding

Date: 4 Oct 1993 18:55:51 -0700

Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.


I missed the first post but ...


HH>   I'm posting this request on behalf of a Unitarian minister who

HH> is stuck out in the middle of Illinois. She has been asked to

HH> devise and officiate at a wedding ceremony for two SCA members

HH> with 11th - 12th century medieval European personae. They wish

HH> to have a "medieval style" wedding suitable for their period. The

HH> minister is at a loss for sources for such a ceremony, so I'm

HH> asking in probably the most likely newsgroup! Any help would

HH> be appreciated.


The quick and dirty way is to find a Book of Common Prayer

(pre 1551 ed, the 1549 is deemed to be borderline 'suspect'

it says 'ere. :-) )  And go from there - the rubrics

hadn't been changed that much from Roman PRactice. So you can

do a rather straight wing it.


Of course, a Unitarian might have trouble with a Trinitarian

source book, but that's life.  Customs surounding the nuptial

mass varied from town to town - that's going to be a harder

trick to pull off.


good louck and good fortune.




pyotr at halcyon.com  Pyotr Filipivich, sometimes Owl.



From: Caitlin.Nic.Raighne at f350.n280.z1.fidonet.org (Caitlin Nic Raighne)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Politics and Weddings and such

Date: Wed, 08 Dec 1993 23:18:00 -0500


RL> My Lady is a Lombard Circa 1200, I am a Late Celt/Early Scots

RL> persona.

RL> we were considering doing the celebration in early Tudor, or

RL> perhaps in

RL> 14-15 century houplands (excuse spelling please).


RL> Come on, hasn't ANYBODY ever done and SCA wedding?


My lord husband and I had an SCA wedding last summer (1992) to commemorate our

20th wedding anniversary.  We had a late 15th century Scottish Highland

wedding.  The Shire made it a kingdom event.  There was a tournament of love

earlier in the day, and A&S competition with a Celtic theme, and a feast of

three removes for 100 people.  Since the Prince and Princess were in

attendance, a court with the wedding ceremony performed before them.  Our

local Seneschal was the officiator.


    The ceremony consisted of Anlon's "clan leader" (a friend who agreed to

dress and act the part) leading he and his assistants into the court.  The

assistants were carrying his bride price which consisted of bolts of material,

spices, bottles of mead, a shepherd to refer to his herd of sheep, and a bag

of "gold".  (He has a merchant persona).  Then the "clan leader" and his wife       (my father and mother) entered leading me and my assistants who were carrying my

dowry.  It consisted of hand made quilts, baskets of homemade bread, a loom, a

person to refer to the marvelous horse I brought to the household, ownership

of a parcel of land in far off Meridies, and our then 16 year old son to prove my ability to produce a male heir! (We wanted to involve him in the ceremony in

some way and this seemed a good way to do it!)  Baron Charles basically based

the ceremony on the Brehon laws of handfasting.  There is a beautiful scroll

that Baroness Graidhne ni Ruaidh calliged and illumined. The reading of it

was basically the entire ceremony.  If you like I can give the text in a later



    I made all the garb for Anlon, Seamus and myself as well as for my parents

since they are not SCA.  I wore a Tudor dress in light green velvet with the

turned back sleeves lined in light green damask.  Anlon wore a kilt and a

doublet made of the same damask.  His Tudor shirt was silk.  Seamus wore a

Tudor silk shirt, kilt and a leather doublet.  My father wore trews and a

cotton Tudor shirt with a brat brooched on one shoulder. (There was no way

her would wear a kilt!).  My mother wore a dress with a Spanish Surcoat over

it.  I know it wasn't exactly the same period but since she wears the same

size I do, and she's not in the SCA, I made something else I wanted to own!

    This ceremony was a lot of work but it was a whole lot of fun for not only

us but everyone who attended.  We had about 150 people in attendance.  Not bad

for an event that was solely based on the wedding of two relative un-knowns in

our kingdom!  Oh yes, I forgot to mention that the winner of the tournament

received a chainmail hauberk that was made and donated by a member of our

shire.  My son, Seamus made the site tokens.  They were cast pewter celtic

crosses.  He made 175 and those we didn't give away on site I have since given

away as gifts.  I still get comments about those sight tokens.


    Forgive the rambling note.  I hope some of this is helpful.  I enjoyed the

remembrance of a wonderful day.  None of this could have been done without the

help of an exceptionally helpful and hardworking shire!


Beannachd leibh,

Ly Caitlin nic Raighne

Chatelaine, Shire of Dun Ard, Calontir



From: Karen.Moon at f555.n387.z1.fidonet.org (Karen Moon)

Date: 07 Jun 94 19:14:00 -0500

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Norse Weddings

Organization: Fidonet: Cygnus I.I.N. / San Antonio, TX / 210-641-2063


Good Lady,

I have participated in two weekend long Norse weddings in my group.  

The research was done in the main by HL Gunnora Hallakarva, who is at

the moment engaged in putting this info in book form to be published

hopefully this year.  She is always glad to share her information.  The

ceremony she has reconstructed works quite well (each time was a bit

different but both were neat).  If you will be so kind as to send me

your Snail Mail address, I'll have her send you the info. If you can't

get me on E-mail -- this is an echo I'm getting -- send your address w/

(with a letter reminding me who you are *smile*) to Mari, 2935

Nacogdoches Rd #217, San Antonio, TX, 78217.


Mari ferch Rathtyen


Fidonet:  Karen Moon 1:387/555

Internet: Karen.Moon at f555.n387.z1.fidonet.org



From: ifdz176 at utxsvs.cc.utexas.edu (Amanda Shields- Queen of the Smurfs)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Wedding advice

Date: Fri, 09 Sep 1994 18:58:25 -0600

Organization: University of Texas at Austin


In article <34q3cl$r10 at search01.news.aol.com>, rhiannon5 at aol.com

(Rhiannon5) wrote:


> My finace and I are planning a period outdoor wedding, and are looking for

> information on a suitable ceremony.  Any help would be appreciated.  


> Rhiannon ne BrennenDate: Fri, 09 Sep 1994 18:16:29 -0600

From: ifdz176 at utxsvs.cc.utexas.edu (Amanda Shields- Queen of the Smurfs)

Subject: Re: Period Wedding advice

Organization: University of Texas at Austin


In article <34q3cl$r10 at search01.news.aol.com>, you wrote:

Gee, I just happened to have run across the perfect book in the library on

customs regarding births, marriages, and death. I do not have it with me at

the moment, but I can give you the gist of what I can remember it having



The wedding gown need not necessarily be white. That custom got started

around the eighteenth century (in other words, OOP). The wedding dress was

much like a court dress (but as fancy a court dress as one could afford),

except it had a train. The maid of honor would bear this train.


The less popular wedding headgear was the headgear of the period. What was

the more popular wedding headgear was letting one's hair go long, and

wearing a crown on top of it. Anne Boelyn's (?) wedding crown had sprigs of

fresh rosemary in it. NOTE: During the time period when hennins were in

fashion, and women tended to shave their heads, the woman wore her hennin,

not a baldie-shine and a crown :) )


The groom would wear what amounts to his best court gear (all new, of

course), but again, this is the absolute finest stuff he owns. Best

embroidery, gem-studded, the whole schmeer on both the bride's and the

groom's outfits.


From all the stuff running around from the time that guy found that

medieval gay wedding ceremony a few months back, it was said weddings would

take place on the steps of the church, possibly with a celebration of the

Eucharist afterwards (I do not know your religious affiliation)


During Elizabethan times, the wedding ring would be worn on the thumb. All

other time periods show the wedding ring in its more traditional position,

or even on the right hand.


Poesy Rings (plain bands with some sort of love poem inscribed on the

inside) were popular as wedding rings in the sixteenth century. Also, James

Avery has a replica of Martin Luther's wedding ring in both silver and

gold, for both men and women. If you don't have a ring yet, y'all should

check this out.


This is all I can remember for now, but if you would like to e-mail me for

more details, the address is ifdz176 at utxsvs.cc.utexas.edu


I hope I have been of some help to you. Congratulations, and good luck!


Anagret (or Anne Margarethe-whatever the Heralds will pass) von Bayern



From: archmonk at news.gate.net (John W. Missing)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Wedding advice

Date: 25 Sep 1994 06:42:05 -0400


Subject: Re: Period Wedding advice



It is good to hear from you again.

R>In article <199409201849.OAA63102 at hopi.gate.net>, archmonk at gate.NET



R>::I must ask a few questions to be able to answer your question properly.

R>::Is this to be a real (legal) wedding?  Precisely what period (there is

R>::quite a difference between 7th Century and 17th Century)?  What are the

R>::nationalities of the personae?  Finally and very importantly, what



R>It will be a legal wedding. We are looking at a time period between 11th

R>and 14th centuries.  We are both of Celtic personae. And I'm pagan and

R>he's ex-catholic.  Thanks for the help.

Are these the religions of your personae? Or your mundane ones as well?

If you have a Catholic service (and in your period it was not unusual

for a pagan to have a public church wedding and a very secretive pagan

ritual) , the Nuptial Mass hasn't changed significantly from the 12th

or 13th century up to Vatican II, but you should have a priest if it is

to include Mass. However, if it is the wedding only, in most states it

would be valid as long as any cleric or notary performs the service.  If

on the other hand you want a pagan service, I'm sure there are

knowledgeable pagans who could supply the service and even perform it.

However, in some states they might have to be a notary or otherwise

certified for it to be valid.  If you have trouble locating the service

you want, I can probably locate it for you. I'll have to leave it to you

to find an officiant.



‘ sinful monk Diormid, priest. rka Father Joseph mka John Missing ‘


R>Rhiannon ne Brennen




From: greg at bronze.lcs.mit.edu (Greg Rose)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period weddings

Date: 13 Jan 1995 10:56:46 -0500

Organization: Guest of MIT AI and LCS labs


Greetings to all, from  Angharad ver' Rhuawn.


Everard asks,


>I am going to get married in the near future (June) and we would like a

>vaguely period wedding for England circa 12th century. Unfortunately, I

>have had little luck in my research and less time to do further.  We are

>shooting for as religiously neutral as possible (We're not Christian but

>our families are).  It's going to be outdoors and casual (at least the

>guests-I'll be in a formal tunic).  Obviously, if I'm asking for help

>on the Rialto, I'm desperate :{).


I'm afraid that what you want is either trivial or impossible.  There

are two aspects to marriage in about the 12th C, as I recall my reading:

the act that actually caused the people to be married, and the stuff

people did around that.


What actually caused the marriage was a public statement of a present

intention of being married.  That could be accomplished as simply as

joining hands in front of witnesses -- normally including a priest --

and saying something that came down to "I take you for my husband/wife."

"Early on" this tended to take place outdoors in front of the church.

"Later" it moved inside.  I don't recall what dates correspond to "early"

and "later".


That bit is trivial, and because it is trivial, it will have no more a

12th C flavor than a 20th C one.


Then there's what you normally did next: went inside and attended a

mass.  That's a pre-tridentine Roman Catholic Mass, than which few

things are less religiously neutral, and whichwould be nontrivial

to get even if one of you were Catholic, and probably impossible if

neither of you is.


If you want a vague sense of the sorts of things people said and did

in the trivial bit, I suggest Gies & Gies, _Marriage and the Family

in the Middle Ages_.  Like most of the Gies & Gies books, it is

shallow, and not the best scholarship, but for what you are looking

for, it is probably enough.




-- Angharad/Terry



From: sclark at blues.epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Carroll-Clark)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period weddings

Date: 14 Jan 1995 00:14:18 GMT

Organization: University of Toronto -- EPAS



      English weddings in this period were two-fold:  Part was done

outdoors, at the church door, where the groom would publicly announce

which portion of his property would be his wife's should he die (this

was called "dower property" and was only for the wife's use during

her lifetime).  Afterwards, they'd go inside for a nuptial mass.

If you want to avoid the obviously religious stuff, I think you could

make a nice production of announcing your bride's dower rights (which

you could make either appropriate to your persona, your modern self,

or both--i.e., "she shall have use of the manor at Thorncliffe"  if

you live on Thorncliffe Park Dr.  In lieu of a church door, any

archway will do.  The actual ceremony could then be a very simple

version of the modern marriage service--cutting out the scripture

readings, and focusing on the vows.  Since at this period, a priest

was not technically required to make a marriage valid (it's the

only sacrament performed by laymen, and it's valid if even only

they know, though not for inheritance purposes), you might wish

to say the vows directly to each other, without prompting from

the officiating minister/priest.  I would say that the presentation

to the community afterward would be a vital part of the ceremony

as well.


Hope this helps!


Canton of Eoforwic

sclark at epas.utoronto.ca



From: svartorm at netaxs.com (Emil Stecher)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period weddings

Date: 16 Jan 1995 05:24:45 GMT

Organization: Netaxs Internet BBS and Shell Accounts


Joe Bethancourt (locksley at indirect.com) wrote:

: David Sanda (everard at netcom.com) wrote:

: : I am in need of a little assistance.


: : I am going to get married in the near future (June) and we would like a

: : vaguely period wedding for England circa 12th century. Unfortunately, I

: : have had little luck in my research and less time to do further.  We are

: : shooting for as religiously neutral as possible (We're not Christian but

: : our families are).  

:                The Form of SOLEMNIZATION OF MATRIMONY


:     Drawn From The Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England


:                  As Promulgated by Elizabeth I,


         I pray that Master Ioseph will forgive me for disagreeing, but I

believe that the ceremony he describes is not at all suitable for

Everard's purposes.

         When my wife and I were to be married we tried to research the form

of a medieval civil ceremony, as we are of differing religious

backgrounds, and came to much the same conclusions  that the most

excellent scholars, my ladies Angharad and Nicolaa have already presented.

         We therefore had the following as our SCA ceremony: The Baron

convened his court, and the Herald called upon my lady and me to present

ourselves, which we did, along with our families and supporters. The Herald

then read the terms of the dowry and bride price.The Baron then inquired of

each party whether they were satisfied with the terms, of each of our parents

whether they granted their permission, and of my liege lady whether she gave

her permission. Once these permissions were given, the Baron pronounced

us to be married and signed the Wedding Certificate, as did all the guests.

        Since this all took place in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, to the

best of my understanding, it would constitute a legal marriage as long as

at least three of the people who signed the Wedding Certificate would legally

acknowledge their signatures (But I wimped out and made her stand up in

front of a JP, just to be sure she couldn't get away.)

        My suggestion, therefore, is to set up something similar, with your

Baron or some local pointy hat officiating and a mundane JP who is willing

to keep his bit down to "By the power vested in me by the state of...I

now pronounce you man and wife". The JP could be called in to court by

the Herald and requested by the pointy hat to administer and witness

the appropriate oaths in accordance with the laws (Gee, wish I'd thought

of this part for my own wedding, instead of hassling with a seperate trip).

Or you could save the money for the JP by just doing the deed at Pennsic

after obtaining the appropriate license  

                                 Emil M Stecher

                               svartorm at netaxs.com



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: rayturne at cln.etc.bc.ca (Raymond Turner)

Subject: Re: Period weddings

Originator: rayturne at cln

Organization: Education Technology Centre of B.C.

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 21:23:44 GMT



Just wanted to add my $.02 worth on this topic. My lord is a

licensed Anglican (Episcopalian in the US) minister, and has

performed weddings both mundanely and in the SCA, and I believe

some of the SCA weddings were legally binding (recognized by civil

law). Anyway, my understanding has been for a long time that the

Church did not need to be involved in marriage, as it was

considered to be a civil matter, more to do with property and

inheritance than anything else. This was true up until late in

our period. SOme folk chose to be married in the church, but many

did not.

I just finished reading the Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir,

which I believe was well-researched and documented (not my field,

so I can't say for sure) and she was very specific that even in

Henry's time, marraige was considered a private matter, and was

primarily civil rather than religious. The choice of ceremony

would therefore be up to the individuals concerned. The betrothal

was the big thing, with the actual nuptials merely a followup.

This said, I would venture to guess that during the 12th century,

the average couple would have any ceremony that felt right to

them and their families (usually the declaration of dower, or a

reading of the betrothal or nuptial agrement), even to the

almost-legendary jumping over a broomstick, followed by a mass,

and of course by a party.

My lord, whose persona is 15th-16th century Scots-English, and

I, who am tenth century Welsh, chose as our SCA service to be

handfasted by a pagan friend of ours. As my lord is Christian, and

I'm a Baha'i (totally non-period!), and we'd had both of those

mundanely, we felt this was the best and most historically

plausible compromise. Friends of ours told us later that they'd

used virtually the same ceremony in their SCA wedding, and they

are mundanely very devout Anglicans with a decided pre-Reformation


BTW, the service my lord uses for SCA weddings is taken from the

prayerbook of Edward VI, a bit earlier than ELizabeth I, but

identical in most respects to the Book of Common Prayer. If he

celebrates the Eucharist (privately, of course!) at events, he

uses a version of the Celtic Canon from before the split

between Rome and England.

Hope this helps, and doesn't confuse matters more!

In service,

Olwen Pen Aur, AoA

Shire of Appledore, Kingdom of An Tir



From: greg at bronze.lcs.mit.edu (Greg Rose)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period weddings

Date: 16 Jan 1995 20:14:13 -0500

Organization: Guest of MIT AI and LCS labs


Greetings, all, from Angharad ver' Rhuawn.


Olwen pen Aur writes,


>      Anyway, my understanding has been for a long time that the

>Church did not need to be involved in marriage, as it was

>considered to be a civil matter, more to do with property and

>inheritance than anything else. This was true up until late in

>our period. SOme folk chose to be married in the church, but many

>did not.

>I just finished reading the Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir,

>which I believe was well-researched and documented (not my field,

>so I can't say for sure) and she was very specific that even in

>Henry's time, marraige was considered a private matter, and was

>primarily civil rather than religious. The choice of ceremony

>would therefore be up to the individuals concerned. The betrothal

>was the big thing, with the actual nuptials merely a followup.


I believe that you have confused two separate issues: the reasons

why people married, and what constituted a legal marriage. Your

remarks are true of the former; but it is the latter that determines

the structure of marriage ceremonies.  


Had the _legal_ issue been primarily civil, Henry's life would

have been _immensely_ simplified, divorcing Katharine (and for

that matter, Anne later) would have been trivialized, and England

would never have broken with Rome.  


(BTW, even _Henry_ didn't think the legal issue should be civil:

he agreed with the Catholic Church that marriage was a sacrament,

and that the dissolution of a marriage required a cause recognized

in religious doctrine.  He just thought that he'd found good

enough causes, and that the Pope shouldn't stand in his way.  Not

an entirely consistent man....)


People _contracted_ marriages for reasons of property and inheritance,

and viewed what was behind the marriage, and what went on in it,

as private.  From the point of view of families forming alliances,

what you say about the emphasis on betrothal is correct. But

ultimately, the betrothal is worthless without a legally valid

wedding, and in that matter, the Church _did_ play a central role.

From _very_ early in period, the absolute arbiter of what

constituted a valid marriage was the Church.  


Now, the Church always held that the essence of marriage was consent,

and in that sense, a priest was not necessary.  But for a number of

reasons (one of them being that the Church was called upon, from

time to time, to assess the validity of existing marriages, usually in

royal cases where a king wanted to dump a wife, and it was very

hard to do this with any semblance of validity unless there were

witnesses), the Church began to require public witnesses on its

behalf, and to move toward the requirement that a priest to be

present and the marriage be formally acknowledged and recorded.


Hence what you say next:


>This said, I would venture to guess that during the 12th century,

>the average couple would have any ceremony that felt right to

>them and their families (usually the declaration of dower, or a

>reading of the betrothal or nuptial agrement), even to the

>almost-legendary jumping over a broomstick, followed by a mass,

>and of course by a party.


is simply not so.  What they did had to satisfy the Church's

requirements of the time, and in particular, had to satisfy the

Church's witness that the requirement of serious present intent

was fulfilled.


Also, even today, tradition plays a tremendous role in setting

ceremony; and in the middle ages, there is every evidence that

it did so more, since religious conformity (denial of which

is the basis for a huge percentage of modern variations) was

the overwhelming rule.


Finally, the SCA normally assumes that its members are upper

class.  In the High Middle Ages, there are upper class Jews

and Muslims as well as Christians in parts of Europe at various

times.  One might on rare occasion even find someone who

professed himself openly to be atheist.  But by that point,

there are _no_ openly admitted upper class pagans in Europe.  

_All_ members of the upper classes paid at least lip service

to one of the major religions.  Hence any rite that smacks

of paganism is not only unlikely to be acceptable to the Church's

witness, but it is also unlikely to have been acceptable to

any of the participants, let alone the guests.


So far as I am concerned, people can get married any way they

want to, and they should certainly feel free to satisfy their

personal religious preferences.  However, they should realize

that if those preferences do not fit the mold of Christianity,

Judaism, or Islam, then they are not compatible with the wedding

practices of 12th C Europe, and the choice to get married in that

fashion rules out a ceremony that is appropriate to that time

and place.


-- Angharad/Terry



From: CARMEN.BOYLES at rook.wa.com (carmen boyles)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period weddings

Date: Sat, 28 Jan 1995 04:33:11 GMT

Organization: Knight-Line! (206) 565-0594


Ar> |-------------------------------------|

Ar> All that I see here is one person's opinion.

Ar> + sinful monk Diormid, priest. rka Father Joseph mka John Missing +

Ar> (archmonk at gate.net)


there are several books by georges duby on the subject of medieval marriage,

i only have one of them with me now.  it's title is "medieval marriage, two

models from 12th century france".  another is called <i believe> "the knight,

the priest, and the lady".  both of these, and several others he has written,

deal with the church's reluctance to become involved with the act of marriage.

it is not 'one person's opinion'.


melusine d'argent



From: michael.mccollum at dazed.charleston.sc.us (Michael Mccollum)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


Date: 21 Jan 95 17:14:00 GMT

Organization: Dazed & Confused BBS - Ladson, SC - 803.873.5797


Hiya David,


DS> I am going to get married in the near future (June) and we would like

DS> a  vaguely period wedding for England circa 12th century.

DS> Unfortunately, I  have had little luck in my research and less time to

DS> do further.


I did some research for a class I was giving on this subject just before

we had our medieval wedding.


You didn't specify in what areas of medieval weddings you wanted the

research on, so I'm giving you what I've got. Good luck &





1. The Origin of the bachelor dinner


This appears to have had its source in Sparta. A Spartan groom always

invited his close friends to a supper on the eve of his wedding. The

custom is very old and many believe it originated simultaneously in many

different lands.


2. From what tradition did engraved invitations or announcements stem?


Many centuries ago the monastic schools kept marriage books for the

royalty. These records were made in the very beautiful handwriting of

the monks. Later, formal invitations were issued by Royalty in the

handwriting referred to as 'script'. In 1620 copper plate engraving of

script writing was first achieved and gradually the custom evolved of

engraved rather than hand written invitations to weddings and other

formal affairs.


3. What is the origin of the trousseau?


The trousseau can be directly traced back to the barter-price,

purchase-price and dowry systems. It was customary for a bride to come

to her husband well-provided with a dowry, so that the man might be

compensated for his expenses in caring for the children of his wifes



4. What was the origin of the members of the bridal party?


During the 'marriage by capture' era, the loyal tribesmen and close

friends of the groom within the tribe aided him to invade the enemy

territory to capture his bride. While he dashed off with her, his

friends stayed behind to fend off or fight the brides outraged

relatives. Such were the first ushers and best man. The maid of honor

and the bridesmaids, as they are known today, can also be traced back

through the centuries to Saxon England. The senior among them would

attend the bride for several days before the wedding. She was especially

responsible for the making of the bridal wreath, the decorations for the

wedding feast, and for dressing the bride.


5. What was the origin of the processional?


In Medieval times, the processional was especially colorful. Gaily

dressed minstrels sang and piped at the head of the procession. Next

came a young man bearing the bride-cup, which was a chalice or vase of

silver or silver-gilt, decorated with gilt, rosemary and ribbons. Then

the bride walked, attended by two bachelors, and a dozen or so knights

and pages. Next came maidens carrying bride cake, followed by girls with

garlands of wheat. The bridegroom then appeared, led by two maidens, and

walked in the midst of his close friends, including his "best man". The

relatives walked after him, and these were followed by less intimate



6. What is the tradition of wedding gowns?


In early Saxon days and through the 18th century, it was the poorer

bride who came to her wedding dressed in a plain white robe. This was in

the nature of a public statement that she brought nothing with her to

her marriage and that therefore her husband was not responsible for her

debts. Colors used for wedding dresses reflected the values that were

ascribed to certain colors. Blue was used to show constancy. Green was

an indicator of youth. A blue ribbon on the shoulder symbolized purity,

fidelity and love. Two colors not used much in medieval wedding gowns

were yellow and gold, the first because it symbolized jeolousy and the

second because it symbolized avarice.


7. What is the origin of the veil?


The introduction of the veil into Europe came through returning

crusades. In early wedding tradition in Europe the bride was bargained

for through her father. She was swathed in a bridal veil, and revealed

to her mate after the ceremony. In Anglo-Saxon times, the bride wore her

hair hanging loose as part of the wedding ritual.


8. How did flowers become associated with weddings?


The wearing of a wreath of ornage blossoms as a crown on the bridal veil

was a Saracen custom introduced by returning Crusaders. Orange blossoms

were so expensive that only the wealthy could afford them and poorer

brides resorted to artificial ones. Flowers also carried special

meanings. Apple blossoms - better things to come. Clematis - love vine.

Ivy - good luck. Rosebud - a promise. Myrtle - lover's flowers. Laurel -

peace. Again, there were flowers that wouldn't normally be used. Yellow

flowers - jeolousy. Tulips - infidelity.


9. What is the tradition concerning the tossing of the bridal bouquet?


Originally, it was not a bouquet but a garter that was tossed. This

custom originated in 14th century France. However, even when the bride

left it dangling around her ankle in order to make the snatching easy,

she was considerably mauled. Finally, some bride thought of tossing her

bouquet and this custom has been followed ever since. Some grooms still

like to follow the old garter tossing custom, so that ushers as well as

the bridesmaids may know who among them will be next to marry.


10. What is the origin of wedding gifts?


The tradition is closely related to the brides dowry. In all societies

and in all centuries, the celebrations attending the marriage ceremony

included the exchange of gifts, even if only of food. By Saxon and

Elizabethan times, it was customary to bestow upon the bride various

items of hardware which she carried in her belt, such as bodkins,

knives, scissors, pinchers, scales, etc. There are records of wedding

gift giving as far back as the Norman conquest.


11. What is the origin of the wedding reception and refreshments?


Marriage feasts have been in existance nearly as long as marriage

ceremonies. The early Greeks had a feast at the end of the wedding

procession when the bride was conducted to her new home at night.

Although the Greek custom was not to include women at their banquets,

they were invited to wedding feasts.


12. What is the origin of the wedding cake?


This was alwasy an important part of any wedding feast. Where or when it

first originated cannot be told, it is so ancient. The Romans broke a

cake made of salted meal over the bride's head as a symbol of abundance.

Many peoples of various nationalities customarily dropped wheat flour or

cake upon the bride's head, then ate these offerings for good luck. The

early Britons baked large baskets of small dry crackers for weddings and

every guest took 1 home - thus the tradition of taking wedding cake home

to "dream on". The small cakes gradually increased in size and richness,

and, so the story is told, a French chef in London finally had the idea

of icing the mass of cakes together - the first English-French wedding

cake, during the reign of Charles II.


13. What is the origin of the honeymoon?


In the caveman era, once the man had abducted his bride, he kept her

carefully hidden until her father's tribesmen gave up the pursuit and

permitted their tempers to cool. Among certain northern European peoples

in early centuries, a newly married couple drank wine made of mead and

honey, known as, metheglen, for a month after their marriage. A month

was then a "moon", and therefore the month during which the wine was

drunk became known as the honeymoon.


14. What is the origin of throwing rice, old shoes, etc?


The rice-throwing is closely related to the wedding cake itself - in

fact, throwing grain preceded the baking of cakes and the cake developed

from the earlier practise. The throwing of grain seemed to involve two

symbols; good luck and fertility, or abundance. Among ancient Assyrians

and Jews, when a bargain was made, a man gave his sandal as an

indication of good faith. A show was the symbol of authority. When the

Anglo-Saxon hurled a shoe, it indicated that authority had been



I hope this gives you plenty of ideas. If you were looking for something

entirely different, please post back and give us a better idea of what

you're looking for!





Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: tccg at netcom.com (Tim McDaniel and Other Users)

Subject: Miss Manners, SCA Wedding

Organization: NETCOM On-line Communication Services (408 261-4700 guest)

Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 06:30:28 GMT


I sometimes wondered what Miss Manners would think of an SCA wedding.

Now I know.  Her article of 8 March 95 has a long letter on the

subject.  Rather than commit total copyright violation of clari.

feature.miss_manners, losing Netcom access, possibly losing Netcom's

access to Clarinet, and possibly losing Clarinet access to Miss Manners

(as happened with Dave Barry, a curse on the man who caused that!), I

will attempt to summarize.


I do encourage people to buy a paper witht this article. Miss Manners

has lots of little witty bits that I have to remove here. (I love her

style and sensibility.)


A mother is writing about her daughter and her daughter's fiance, "who

met in an organization that studies and re-creates medieval and

renaissance culture".  The couple plan to have an Italian Ren wedding

at a church.  There will be


- the normal service, but 16th Century music

- the wedding party weariing Italian Ren, from Raphael secular paintings

- banners and such for the dinner in the community hall

- the "first dance" will be the wedding party doing a period dance.


This mother's husband is outraged and insulted at this "circus".  The

daughter points out that the usual wedding clothes are also much

different from normal clothes, and that they're just following an older

tradition.  The mother herself is only worried about what people will

think of the wedding pictures in the future.


Miss Manners replies that she dislikes "theme weddings", but doesn't

think this is distasteful.


For the argument against:


Miss Manners points out that, despite the argument about wearing

different clothes mundane wedding clothes "are ... nevertheless

traditional to our time and place."  [But what if the society in which

you live is the Society?  My personal suggestion might be to get a

life. - TMcD]


She also points out (though not in such language) that an in-persona

wedding "encourages the idea" that this is merely an in-persona

wedding, not "a solemn event" committing the couple "in everyday life."

"Never mind that clever argument about the 'older' tradition -- Miss

Manners can think of even older traditions that would bring the house



However, she relents on several grounds.


* "they are connecting the style with a serious interest that they and

their friends share. And no, that doesn't mean that Miss Manners will

put the stamp of good taste on a Trekkie wedding."


* The "theme" is restricted.  The ceremony itself is usual; it's the

party afterwards that gets the decorations and the dance.


* Italian Ren is not "freakish in a modern context": "And even the

clothes could pass for a version of today's evening clothes."  [I think

she was thinking about a woman's dress, not the men's clothing! --



* "Miss Manners doubts that friends who know of the couple's interests

will be 'insulted' by these details."


* No matter what is worn, the grandchildren will laugh at the clothing

in the wedding pictures anyway.



Daniel de Lincoln

Tim McDaniel                                  Dallas, TX -- 214 380-4876



From: Sharon Saroff <sindara at moose.erie.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Renaissance Wedding

Date: Wed, 15 Mar 1995 09:04:07 -0500

Organization: ErieNet


I have seen mention of a wedding bread from the Island of Crete.  I have

given this as a gift to several friends and I plan to have one at my SCA

wedding this Pennsic.  It is Braided and decorated w/ dough in the shapes

of moons, stars,etc. and dried and candied fruits and peels.  It contains

many spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, coriander, clove, allspice, and

anise), rum, almond flavor, orange peel, lemon peel, citrine, and orange

flavor.  It is supposed to smell and taste like the sweetness of the

wedding and the love shared by the bride and groom.  I'll see about

digging up the recipe.


Another item of note: There is a custom in the Pacific Islands of

dropping agate beads in the shell drining vessels of the bride and

groom.  When this is done, the following is pronounced: "As these two

beads at the bottom, so you will go together and not apart."





From: Kirsti  Thomas <kst at paul.spu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Wedding

Date: Fri, 5 May 1995 10:49:23 -0700

Organization: Seattle Pacific University


Here's hoping that the newsreader will actually post to the outside world

this time.   GRRR!!!


> In article <3o3hf6$vih at news.nevada.edu>, akersl at nevada.edu (LAURA AKERS) says:

> >

> >My fiance and I are planning a medieval (late 13th/early 14th century

> >western Europe) wedding and are having a hard time locating resources.  

> >Can anyone recommend books on costuming, ceremonies, and family life?

> >Any help would be appreciated.

> >

> >Laura


Check the following subjects at your local public and/or research library:


Marriage customs and rites

Marriage services






Costume--History--Medieval, 500-1500

Wedding costume

(Place)--Social life and customs


I'm working on putting together a bibliography, but don't anyone hold

their breath.  In the meantime here's one book to take a look at:


Stevenson, Kenneth  (Kenneth W.)

     Nuptial blessing :  a study of Christian marriage rites /

Kenneth Stevenson.--New York :  Oxford University Press, 1983, c1982.



kst at paul.spu.edu



From: bj at alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Creating FAQsheet for Medieval-style Weddings

Date: 17 Jul 1995 16:37:14 GMT

Organization: Information & Media Technologies, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee


The subject of medieval/Renaissance weddings arises frequently enough

on this newsgroup (as well as other groups which discuss related topics,

i.e., alt.fairs.renaissance, alt.wedding, soc.couples.wedding) that

I have volunteered to put together a FAQ sheet (possibly a web site)

on the topic since I've got a little spare time this summer and more

than a passing interest in the subject (my own wedding was medieval in



The categories in which I gathering ideas and anecdotes include (but

are not limited to) the following:







      reception activities








As an example of a wedding summary, I am posting a description of

my own medieval wedding just to give you some ideas.  If anyone has

had or has attended a medieval style wedding and would like to offer

their story or ideas, or if you can think of categories I have missed,

please email me directly or post to this newsgroup. Information on

historical accuracy is appreciated but not mandatory as it is the

medieval ambience from the royal court to the peasantry that I am

hoping to capture.

                              -BJ (aka Barbary)




                  June 11, 1994


    For invitations, we bought prefolded parchment stationary from

a graphics supply store, and we designed and printed them on Tim's

McIntosh with color printer.  We used a variety of medieval fonts

and a lot of Hear Ye's and Prithee's.  Our announcements were similar

but were printed on parchment scrolls, rolled up and sealed with

red wax, ribbon and family seal.


    We were married in an evening candlelight ceremony in a historic

church in downtown Milwaukee.  I lined the pews with candlesconces, hung

grapevine wreathes on the doors, and used tons of English ivy and seasonal

white flowers.  We chose not to adorn the church with any other decorations

because the church itself was ornate enough.


    I wore a long green A-line dress (white was NOT traditional

during medieval times) with a white lace shawl and a wreath of fresh

ivy for a tiara.  I carried a bouquet of ivy and white sweetpeas which I

tied together with trailing white and green ribbons.  My two daughters

(from previous marriage) served as my bridesmaids.  They wore long green

crushed velvet dresses and carried candles.  Tim dressed as a

medieval huntsman, wearing green velvet britches, knee-length leather

mocassins, white shirt and leather tunic.  The groomsmen were similarly

dressed (except they did not wear tunics).  As a wonderful surprise,

Tim's parents rented medieval robes from a costume shop. His

mother wore a beautiful red and gold brocade dress, and his father

wore a red and gold brocade jacket, white tights, and a bard's cap

with a long white feather!


    Our guests signed in on a parchment scroll using either a BIC or

a quilled ink pen (their choice).  Tim chose all the wedding

music which was played on full pipe organ.  We lit a unity candle from

the two candles carried down the aisle by my bridesmaid daughters.

We hired no photographer (we later chose our photos from amongst the

many taken by our guests), and my FBIL videotaped the ceremony

unobtrusively from the balcony.  Tim and I exchanged matched wedding bands

which we had designed for us.  The rings were made to look like

wreaths of ivy.  My matching engagement ring included a diamond

nestled amongst the leaves.


    Following the ceremony, we were met at the church door by a

horsedrawn carriage which whisked away the wedding party to a nearby

Hyatt Regency hotel where our reception lay awaiting in the executive

ballroom.  Earlier that day, we had decorated the ballroom with medieval

banners, a suit of armor, baskets of ivy and white roses, and votive

candles set in gold cups with medieval designs punched in them.  A buffet

table was laid out (decorated with ivy vines) with vegetables, fruits,

nuts, sausages, and cheeses.  The bartender served soda, wine and

champagne punch.  The background music (on tape) was a combination of

Celtic tunes featuring hammered dulcimer, Celtic harp, lute, flute,

etc.  We cut the three-tiered white and green wedding cake with two

long swords and toasted each other with long-stemmed pewter goblets.


    We heard no negative remarks about our untraditional wedding.

In fact, the most common comment was "This is the way weddings are

supposed to be".



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: ojid.wbst845 at xerox.com (Orilee Ireland-Delfs)

Subject: Re: Creating FAQsheet for Medieval-style Wedd

Organization: Xerox Corporation, Webster NY

Date: Thu, 20 Jul 1995 17:07:21 GMT


When my protege got married, she asked me to be autocrat-in-charge

for the day, since she made all of the other arrangements in advance.


I'll just summarize the highlights:


The wedding was outside in her sister's backyard with pavilions

set up to provide shade for the wedding itself, the cooks, and for

the guests to dine under.  The main pavilion was decorated with

large baskets of flowers and an aisle was created with flowered

garlands on poles and large standing wooden candle holders.


She wore a cream brocaide dress (a bit of fantasy here - it was

modeled after one in the Princess Bride) with her hair uncovered.

Her bridesmaids each wore a dress in a jewel tone to match their

own persona: one was in a deep red tudor, another in emerald green

cotehardie.  She also made matching outfits for her parents and

his parents (the fathers discovered how much fun tights can be -

we complimented them on their legs quite regularly!)

Guests were encouraged to wear garb (altho the SCA

guests wore garb as a matter of course : )  The groom, being Irish, wore

a saffron yellow tunic with embroidery and went barefoot most of the day.


The reception was "catered" by our best SCA cooks and consisted of

SCA-type fare: salads, fresh fruit, chicken, etc.  (I'll get the menu

if you really want it).  The wedding cake was a castle with a marzipan

bride and groom at the gate.


The wedding was conducted by a justice of the peace.


The afternoon activities consisted of a tournament for the bride's

garter (the winner of the tourney won her garter), a fencing tournament,

archery, and a small court conducted by the bride and groom before they






From: ashaw at consultronics.on.ca (Aaron Shaw)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: bereavement

Date: 31 Jul 1995 21:44:38 GMT

Organization: Consultronics Limited


ALBAN at delphi.COM says...

>Solveig Throndardottir said:

>>It seems to me that the society should soon begin evolving

>>death and berievement customs similar to those practiced by

>>the masons.  I do believe that the society forms a significant

>>part of the lives of many who belong to it.  

>i agree with solveig: i think it's about time people started

>researching **and doing** other types of ceremonies - birth

>parties (for babies, not birthdays, although it'd be really spiff to

>see what period birthday celebrations were like), wedding

>showers, bachelor parties, baptisms and equivalents (like bris's),

>engagements, recovery-from-great-illness parties, spring

>planting and fertility celebrations, fall harvest fairs,

>housewarmings, barn raisings (with obligatory branch tied to last

>rafter raised), shrovetide pancake races, my-eldest-son-just-

>caught-the-biggest-fish-of-the-year parties. . . i am _not_

>intending to downplay the idea of bereavement customs; they

>are a vital party of any successful culture. but so are a lot of other

>life-affirming customs, ones that i think the sca and its

>membership would do well to investigate more fully and

>recreate more often.


It was along this spirit that the Venshaven encampment (especially Ragnar

Thorbergsson) and my brother Siggurd helped me to throw a Norse wedding

feast and ceremony for my fiance Eyrny at War last year. We received

invaluable assistance from a lady in Texas (i think it was texas - i

can't remember exactly) who had done the research on the appropriate

ceremonies.  Our friends from all around rallied to our assistance to

make the day go wonderfully.


We requested that all guests attempt to garb themselves in the Norse

manner, which most were able to accomplish, greatly helping the

atmosphere.  There were many parts of the whole day & evening that made

the historical aspect strike home, too many to attempt to talk about

here.  One of these was when Ragnar gifted unto us a small farm plot of

land in England, complete with tenants, and a silver mark as thier first

year's rent paid for, that he would monitor and collect rent for us



Since this time, we (as Hoskuld & Eyrny) conduct ourselves as married.  

Our more modern selves will actually do modern, legal paperwork in



Anyone who is interested in getting a copy of the research for this

ceremony should e-mail me privately, and I will foward the name & e-mail

address of the original source to you.


Hoskuld Thorleiksson

Middle Kingdom

Principality of Ealdormere

hoskuld at consultronics.on.ca



Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: hopkins at hopkins.rtp.dg.com (Edward Hopkins)

Subject: Re: Menu ideas for medieval wedding reception

Date: Tue, 1 Aug 95 00:01:03 GMT

Organization: Data General Corporation. RTP, NC.


bj at alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl) writes:


>1) What kinds of foods might one see on the menu of a wedding banquet

>   during the early medieval age (the Dark Ages, Arthurian fantasy, etc.)?


>2) What kinds of foods might one see on the menu of a wedding banquet

>   during the mid-medieval age (the Crusades, Robin Hood fantasy, etc.)?


>3) What kinds of foods might one see on the menu of a wedding banquet

>   during the late medieval age (the Renaissance, Elizabethan age, etc.)?


>I'm looking for menu ideas (not specific recipes) on the types of foods

>which one might actually have seen on the banquet tables during these

>periods.  I'm also interested in how the foods were laid out and/or



>Thanks for any help you can give.


I suggest that you look for a book showing the paintings of

Pieter Brueghel (also known as Pieter Breugel), a Dutch

painter of the Fifteenth Century (I think, maybe; well

definitely in the Period).  He did at least one delightful

paintings of a wedding feast.


-- Alfredo

hopkins at dg-rtp.dg.com



From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Wedding feast during the Dark Ages

Date: 4 Aug 1995 03:51:07 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


Barbara Jean Kuehl (bj at alpha1.csd.uwm.edu) wrote:

: I am attempting to write a description of how a wedding feast might have

: looked during the Dark Ages, specifically during the time of King Arthur

: ( at 600 AD Britain) and Beowulf ( at 700 Scandinavia). Can anyone help me

: as to the types of clothing, music, foods and traditions one would

: probably encounter at these two points in history?


For the first, try reading the descriptions of weddings (and feasts in

general) in the Mabinogi. Although the tales were probably first written

down (or at least codified in the present form) around the 10-11th

century, the era they describe is significantly earlier (when it isn't

"timeless"). I won't go so far as to say that it is "correct" for 6-7th

century Britain, but it is probably one of the best approximations you'll

find. It's a bit light on clothing and music descriptions. Mostly you get

a bare-bones description like "At Aberfraw they began the [wedding] feast

and sat them down. This is how they sat [seating arrangements omitted].

... And they began the carousal. They continued to carouse and converse.

And when they perceived that it was better for them to seek slumber than

to continue the carousal, to sleep they went. And that night Matholwch

slept with Branwen." Perhaps surprisingly, to modern pre-conceptions of

the time, good conversation is _always_ mentioned as essential to a

successful party. A bit more detailed is the wedding of Pwyll and

Rhiannon in the First Branch. "He set off for the court of Hefeydd the

Old, and he came to the court, and a joyous welcome was given him; and

there was much gathering of folk and rejoicing and great preparations

against his coming; and all the resources of the court were dispensed at

his direction. The hall was made rady, and they went to the tables. This

is how they sat: Hefeydd the Old [the bride's father] on one side of

Pwyll, and Rhiannon the other side; thereafter each according to his

rank. They ate and caroused and they conversed. And at the beginning of

carousal after meat [a stranger enters the hall, asks a boon, which Pwyll

foolishly agrees to grant before hearing it. Many adventures ensue. A

year later, the wedding feast is resumed.] And they went to sit at table;

and as they sat a year from that night, they sat each one that night.

They ate and caroused and time came to go to sleep. And Pwyll and

Rhiannon went to their chamber, and they passed that night in pleasure

and contentment. And on the morrow in the youth of the day, 'Lord,' said

Rhiannon, 'arise and begin to content the minstrels, and refuse no one

today who may desire a gift.' 'That will I gladly,' said Pwyll, 'both

today and every day whilst this feast may last.' Pwyll arose and had

silence proclaimed, to call on all suitors and minstrels to declare

themselves, and had them told how all should be contented according to

their wish and whim; and that was done. That feast was preoceeded with,

and none was denied while it lasted. And when the feast was ended [the

bride and groom return to his home.]"


There are more examples, but best you should buy a copy for yourself.


Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn



From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Wedding feast during the Dark Ages

Date: 4 Aug 1995 15:21:08 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


In article <3vqt5r$eob at uwm.edu>,

Barbara Jean Kuehl <bj at alpha1.csd.uwm.edu> wrote:

>I am attempting to write a description of how a wedding feast might have

>looked during the Dark Ages, specifically during the time of King Arthur

>( at 600 AD Britain) and Beowulf ( at 700 Scandinavia).  Can anyone help me

>as to the types of clothing, music, foods and traditions one would

>probably encounter at these two points in history?


I haven't got the text here at work, but look up a book with a

title something like "Earliest English Law Texts" (or search for

subject, early english law, etc.) till you get hold of a copy of

the laws of Ine, King of Wessex, 8th century or so.  These laws

include a list of what was included in "feorm"-rent (what you

paid to the king for the land you held of him, to put it in

later-period terms).  Roughly:


      1 steer's worth of beef

      a couple of wethers' worth of mutton

      a pig or two, I think

      lots of salmon

      hundreds of loaves of bread

      lots of honey

      lots and lots of "clear ale" and "Welsh ale"


No vegetables are mentioned, but that isn't to say they wouldn't

have been served in season, and described as "worts."


Now maybe you sent this in to the King's house, if it was

convenient, but more likely you had him and his huscarles as

guests for a couple of days, as they traveled around from place

to place.  I dare say they took the leftovers with them.


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin          Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                 UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable            djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu




From: bj at alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Catalogs for the medieval wedding faq

Date: 4 Aug 1995 18:18:55 GMT

Organization: Information & Media Technologies, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee


The following is a list of catalogs which have been suggested for

inclusion in the Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Faq as sources of

clothing and/or items with medieval flavor.  I am currently in the

process of attempting to attain these catalogs so that I can check

them out but, in the meantime, if anyone has one of the catalogs or

has ordered from them, I would like to hear from you as to the quality

and types of items offered by the catalog company.


For medieval clothing, patterns and items:



P.O. Box 93095

Pasadena, CA 91109


Renaissance Herald (was Renaissance Shopper)

P.O. Box 422

Riverside, CA 92502


Amazon Vinegar & Pickling Works

2218 East 11th Street

Davenport, IA 52803


Exclusively Weddings

1301 Carolina Street

Greensboro, NC 27401



Harriet's, ETc

Millwood Crossing

381 Millwood Avenue

Winchester, VA 22601


Museum Replicas Ltd

2143 Gees Mill road

Box 840

Conyers, GA 30207



The Noble Collection

P.O. Box 831

Merrifield, VA 22116

1-800-noble-8 (was given as phone # but this is obviously incorrect)


Hedgehog Handiworks

8406 Flight Avenue

Los Angeles, CA 90045


Dancing Dragon 5670 West End Road, #4

P.O. Box 1106

Arcata, CA 95521



Past Times

280 Summer Street

Boston, MA 02210-1182



Atlanta Cutlery



For paper products, parchment, invitations, and gifts:


Colorful Images

1401 South Sunset Street

Longmont, Co 80501-6755



Earth Care




Paper Direct




If you know of any other catalogs which should be included in the

Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Faq, please send me their names,

addresses and 1-800-#s.





From: Karen Vicker <lupa at u.washington.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Catalogs for the medieval wedding faq

Date: Fri, 4 Aug 1995 13:39:38 -0700

Organization: University of Washington


On 4 Aug 1995, Barbara Jean Kuehl wrote:


> Past Times

> 280 Summer Street

> Boston, MA 02210-1182

> 1-800-242-1020

My aplologies for this lengthy return to the question, but when I visited

the Past Times outlets in Oxford, Edinburgh and London this spring I was

impressed with their medieval selection, small though it may be. Most of

the store was OOP, but the selection of Celtic jewelry and such was very

nice, and they had some very good reference material (basic, but good)

for those interested in research. This is a good source!



From: bj at alpha1.csd.uwm.edu (Barbara Jean Kuehl)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: More catalogs for the medieval wedding faq

Date: 4 Aug 1995 18:53:05 GMT

Organization: Information & Media Technologies, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee


Oops, I forgot to include the following catalogs in the list of catalogs

suggested for the Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Faq. The same request

applies...if you have a copy of any of these catalogs or have ordered

from the companies, I would be interested in hearing from yu as to the

quality and types of merchandise offered.




Whole Costumer's Catalog

PO Box 207

Beallsville, PA 15313


Carolina Stitches in Time

Box 10933

Winston-Salem, N.C. 27108

(919) 764-0790


Chivalry Sports

PO Box 18904

Tucson, AZ 85731-8904

Inquires  (602) 722-1255

Orders 1-800-730-KING


JAS Townsend & Son

P.O. Box 415

Pierceton, IN 46562

(800) 338-1665


Mediaeval Miscellanea

6530 Spring Valley Drive

Alexandria, VA 22312

(703) 642 - 1740 and Fax: (708) 237-1374


The Queens Thimble

515 S. Evergreen Dr.

Mira Loma, CA 91752-1577



Sterling Silks/Sterling Cloth Company

701 Cleveland Avenue Southwest

Canton, Ohio  44702

(216) 456-0653



9600 Business Park Dr. Suite 2

Truckee, CA 95734

(916) 587-5974



RD 1 Box 1444

Herndon, PA  17830

(717) 425-2045


Alice Stephenson

2734 Mountain View W.

Tocoma, WA  98466

(206) 565-2893


House Morning Star

11246 S. Post Oak Rd. #217

Houston, TX 77035

(713) 729-7990


An anotated bibliography of pre-1650 costume sources (including books

and periodicals) is available from:

Puffs and Slashes

c/o L. R. Fox

P. O. Box 443

Bloomington, IN 47402-0443

$2.50 per copy



From: Kirsti Thomas <kst at paul.spu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca,alt.wedding,soc.couples.wedding

Subject: Medieval/Renaissance Wedding Bibliography

Date: Tue, 15 Aug 1995 19:22:52 -0700

Organization: Seattle Pacific University


The rough drafts of bibliographies of articles and books have been loaded

onto my homepage.





kst at paul.spu.edu



From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period greenery for a wedding

Date: 7 Dec 1995 18:04:33 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley


In article <49nlop$5n at sphinx.gsu.edu>,

Jennifer Aiello <gs01jxa at panther.Gsu.EDU> wrote:

>A friend of mine who is a rather active member of SCA is getting married

>in a few weeks and I've been asked to decorate the reception hall.  Does

>anyone know of any herbs/plants/assorted greenery that would be

>appropriate or particularly meaningful for this?  ...


Well, the bad news is--some people in our area were asked this

question a while back and did the research--that it is not period

at all to decorate the interior of a building with vases of flowers.

That is a *Victorian* practice; our people even came up with the

name of the lady who first did it, but I've forgotten it.


The good news is that almost nobody knows this.  You *could* do

whatever you think looks nice and you can afford.


I would suggest cutting evergreen branches and decking the rafters

with them, and garlands of flowers for the heads of the wedding party.


The most impressive way to decorate the reception hall, IMNSHO,

is to borrow everybody's personal banners, those of your group

and neighboring shires, etc., and deck the walls with those.

Lotsa color.


For my wedding (25 years ago) we decked the church (ugly bare

concrete) with banners and put garlands on the heads of the

wedding party; the reception was held outdoors.  But this was

California in May.


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin          Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                 UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable            djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu




From: Gretchen Miller <grm+ at andrew.cmu.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scottish Weddings

Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 13:22:53 -0500

Organization: Computer Operations, Carnegie Mellon, Pittsburgh, PA


My husband and I based our wedding on period Scottish practice as

described in the book "Virgins and Verigos", a book about women in

Scotland from 1200-1700 (this book used to be available from Unicorn,

Ltd.  I highly recommend it)


The period Scottish marriage was prefaced by the making of a marriage

contract.  That we cut out.  On the day of the marriage, the couple and

witnesses appear before a priest, declare that there is no hinderance to

their getting married, and say "I, name, take, you name, as my

husband/wife, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy



And that's it.


We added a piper to pipe us and our attendants in.  Since this is

Pennsylvania, where you can get a Quaker license (ask me for details if

you're interested), we didn't need/have a priest/officiate.  We used the

declarations and phrase above, then exchanged rings.  Then the piper

piped us back up the aisle.  Short, sweet, and very very nice.  (Also,

very period)


toodles, margaret



From: s.krossa at aberdeen.ac.uk (Sharon Krossa)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scottish Weddings

Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 04:32:46 +0000

Organization: Phuture PhuDs


In article <4gmfuu$a6a at heathers.stdio.com>,

maney at heathers.stdio.com (Fredrich P. Maney) wrote:


>Lyon (lyon at infi.net at infi.net) wrote:

>: My fiance and I are getting married in Oct and although we are not having an


>: wedding we are trying to incorporate some Scottish elements, the groomsmen are

>: wearing full-dress highland, we have a celtic band ect.  We are now looking


>: some Scottish traditions to make the ceremony more unique.  Any ideas?

>: Giovanna Mancuso

>: andreah at cpsnet.com


>Umm... offhand I'll mention this. You should incorporate a blacksmith

>with anvil and hammer, as well as a Piper.


The blacksmith is actually an *English* tradition -- coming from the

English couples running away to Scotland to get married (because until

about 1940 all you had to do was consent to marriage in words of the

present tense to get married in Scotland) and stopping at Gretna Green (one

of the most southerly border villages) and snagging the blacksmith as a

witness. *Scottish* couples didn't go to gretna green and its famous

blacksmith, because they could get married anywhere they wanted to.


Of course, this was an irregular form of marriage -- perfectly legal and

binding, but the authorities still did their best to make you solemnize it

properly afterwords (ie, do the banns and church thing, even though you

were already married). It really has little to do with a formal, especially

church, wedding.


Sharon Krossa, who can't seem to escape from the section on marriage in her



skrossa at svpal.org (permanent) -or- s.krossa at aberdeen.ac.uk (until June 1996)



From: "'Jherek' W. Swanger" <jswanger at u.washington.edu>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scottish Wedding Ceremonys and Viking Dances

Date: Tue, 26 Mar 1996 13:49:05 -0800

Organization: University of Washington


On 25 Mar 1996, Greg Williams wrote:


> Does anybody have any information on Scottish Wedding ceremonies from

> period


Stop by the Medieval/Renaissance Wedding Page

[http://paul.spu.edu/~kst/bib/bib.html] and take a look at the

bibliographies.  I would especially recommend trying to get your hands on

the following books and articles:


Searle, Mark, and Kenneth W. Stevenson.  Documents of the Marriage

  Liturgy.  Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical P, 1992.


Stevenson, Kenneth W.  Nuptial Blessing: a Study of Christian Marriage

  Rites.  New York: Oxford UP, 1983.


Muirhead, I.A.  "The Forme of Marriage: 1562 and Today."  Scottish Journal

  of Theology  6 (Mar. 1953): 31-42


It is more or less impossible to find information on marriage ceremonies

before the 10th-11th centuries.  This is partially due to the fact that

marriage was considered a secular, civic contract rather than a sacrament

for much of church history and so the priests and monks who were writing

things down, weren't too concerned with it.


Towards the beginning of the Middle Ages, a priest *could* be present at a

wedding ceremony to bless the couple, but it wasn't until the Council of

Trent in the 16th century that the Church absolutely required a clergyman

to officiate.  In many cases, the only thing required to marry the couple

was the exchange of vows (as simple as, "Will you marry me?"  "I will.")

and some sort of token (rings, a piece of fruit, etc.) in front of a

witness.  This seems to have held on in Scotland for a very long time.

It wasn't until the early 20th century that Scottish law *required* an

officient to marry the couple; prior to that you could get married by

simply stating in front of witnesses that you were wed.



(not jherek)



Organization: University of Maine System

Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 10:40:14 EST

From: <CS23001 at MAINE.MAINE.EDU>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Scottish weddings


In response to the inquiry regarding Scottish weddings:


Within the last month there has been discussion on scottish.culture

newsgroup about Scottish weddings.  I don't recall exactly who,

but someone is working on a FAQ.  While I do not expect to see

any specific references (yet) to the middle ages time period,

this is probably a good jump point to learn more about medieval

Scottish weddings.


I found this posting today from Craig Cockburn of Edinburgh, Scotland.


I hope it helps. I have not yet checked out this site.


-- Lady Bryn MacLachlan (Lisa Tyson)

Shire of Endewearde

Kingdom of the East


>From: Craig Cockburn <craig at scot.demon.co.uk>

>Newsgroups: soc.culture.scottish,soc.culture.celtic,


>Subject: Updated info on Scottish weddings

>Date: Sat, 23 Mar 1996 16:28:22 +0000

>Organization: Mo dhachaidh


>I've updated my WWW pages, URL below.

>  Included in this update:


>    More info on Scottish weddings

>    Expanded info about organisations, Edinburgh Folk Festival, Fringe

>       Festival, Adult Learning Project etc.

>    various other changes and bugfixes.


> Craig Cockburn (pronounced "coburn"), Edinburgh, Scotland

> Web pages at http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/~craig/   comments welcome

> Sgri\obh thugam 'sa Gha\idhlig ma 'se do thoil e..



From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Cake Tops

Date: 19 Jul 1996 20:05:28 GMT

Organization: University of California at Berkeley


In article <31EEF5CF.58BA at huskynet.com>, Beowulf <beowulf at huskynet.com> wrote:

>I am getting married this fall and I would like to have two

>different cake tops.


>       1) A castle

>       2) A knight (perferably on horseback)


>       Anyone know of any good places to find something like this. I can

>find plenty of things like this in perwter but I was hoping for glass or

>some other material. Anyone?


Well, when I got married, and it's 25 years ago, I went to a bakery

in Berkeley that no longer exists, alas; and I started saying to

the clerk, "I want a wedding cake that looks like this..." and

after half a paragraph she said, "You'd better talk to the baker."


So I did, and the baker was most enthusiastic.  I showed him a

picture of a thirteenth-century ivory plaque showing knights

attacking the Castle of Love, and ladies defending it with flowers.


I had managed to find plastic knights and ladies about two inches

high in my local dime store.  This clearly depends on whether you

make your Serendipity roll when you go shopping!  Maybe you could

paint your pewter figures with nontoxic paint?


Anyway, of all the variegated sizes of cake pan he had available

for baking wedding cakes, the baker made one layer of the largest

size he had, and about five layers of the smallest, for the

tower.  He frosted the tower to look like masonry, and the bottom

layer to look like grass.  Then he made frosting flowers in the

hands of (well, on the fronts of) the ladies, and several knights

were shown to have just received a flower, splat! right in the

kisser.  Other flowers were scattered around the landscape.


Try your local dime stores.... if that doesn't yield suitable

plastic stuff, try painting your pewter and taking all the

figures *OFF* the cake before it's cut, wrapping them up and

putting them away, so no little kid decides to try a nibble.

Good hunting.


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin                Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                        UC Berkeley

Argent, a cross forme'e sable           djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu




From: Linda Cox <coxlj at a1.esvax.umc.dupont.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Cake Tops

Date: 23 Jul 1996 16:32:26 GMT

Organization: CR&D


Beowulf wrote:

> I am getting married this fall and I would like to have two

> different cake tops.


>         1) A castle

>         2) A knight (perferably on horseback)


>         Anyone know of any good places to find something like this. I can

> find plenty of things like this in perwter but I was hoping for glass or

> some other material. Anyone?


Often you can find castles, knights, etc. done in ceramics at gift

shops or at role-playing stores.  These are fairly heavy, but they

can be used as cake toppers as follows: get a piece of heavy card-

board or light particleboard and cut it about 1/2" smaller than the

top layer.  Ice it with the same icing used on the cake. Insert straws

or dowels in the top layer as for the other layers (to support the

tiered cake, dowels or straws are inserted into each layer -- your

baker will know) and rest the cardboard circle on top. Place your

figurines on the circle and decorate the edge so it doesn't show;

you can support quite a bit of weight this way.


If the figurines have felt bottoms, the felt can be covered with

carefully trimmed saran wrap to keep them clean.


Felicitations on your upcoming marriage,

Lady Signi Bjornsdottar



From: jeffebear1 at aol.com (JeffEBear1)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Cake Tops

Date: 28 Jul 1996 11:41:26 -0400


In article <31EEF5CF.58BA at huskynet.com>, Beowulf <beowulf at huskynet.com>



>I am getting married this fall and I would like to have two

>different cake tops.


>       1) A castle

>       2) A knight (perferably on horseback)


DragonMarsh carries the cutest knight on horseback with a lance that comes

out of the hand. It's about 4 " tall and made of pewter. I placed 2

"Jousting" each other on a cake and it was cute. I believe they also have

a glass cake top available of a castle. Along with a lord/lady pewter top.

Call (909) 276-1116 and ask for misty.



From: s.krossa at aberdeen.ac.uk (Sharon Krossa)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Scottish Marriage (was: Scottish Personas Help!!!)

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 02:42:58 +0000


In article <4mKdB5e00UjUM5VUkD at andrew.cmu.edu>,

Gretchen M Beck <grm+ at andrew.cmu.edu> wrote:


>Excerpts from netnews.rec.org.sca: 7-Oct-96 Re: Scottish Personas

>Help!!! Bryan J. Maloney at cornell (558)


>> Handfastings were not weddings, nor were they "pagan"--they were a result

>> of the fact that the Christian priests of the day had to act as "circuit

>> riders", and one couldn't always have a priest handy to do a marriage

>> whenever.  Thus, you had a "handfasting", and the matter was then

>> solemnized/rendered official when the priest made it 'round.


>Technically, and especially in Scotland, you don't need a priest, or a

>handfasting--all that's required is the agreement to a wedding contract

>between the two individuals involved.  In Scotland, for most of period,

>if you agreed between the two of you that you were married, you

>were--this also applied to England (see the issue of whether Anne Boleyn

>or Catherine Howard had secretly arranged a marriage before their

>marriages to Henry).


No, technically (at least in Scotland) all you needed was to exchange

consents in the present tense. No priests, no witnesses (though that would

make it hard to prove), no marriage contracts. "I take you for my husband"

"I take you for my wife" Hey, presto, another married couple.


>Usually the procedure went like this:  the parties involved (or rather

>their parents/guardians) arranged a marriage contract, in which the

>various goods/monies/services each party would provide to the marriage

>were spelled out.  Bans were posted so that anyone claiming a prior

>contract could come forward.  If none introduced a prior claim, then the

>couple declared themselves married before witnesses--usually, though not

>necessarily, in front of a priest.


No, this is not how it worked (least not in Scotland)


What happened, if you were going to do it properly, parental consent and

all, was

1) They (usually the parents) arranged the marriage contract.


2) Often, there was a handfasting at which the couple was betrothed (that's

what handfastings are, betrothals, getting engaged to be married). This is

usually when the marriage contracts were signed/witnessed/whatever.


3) The banns were posted/read/whatever. This would not only give notice for

prior marriages to be made known, but also of any other impediments (like

consanguinity, etc.) to be made known. For all I know, however, there may

(also) have been a totally different motivation for the banns. I can't

really say, as I don't know. But people didn't do banns unless they

intended to have a church wedding.


4) The couple went to church, and, in the precense of the priest, at the

door of the church, they exchanged consents in the present tense. (In order

to do this church door and priest thing, the banns were required -- at

least from a certain council whose date I forget)


5) At this point, things varied. A blessing might be given, a nuptial mass

was often celebrated, etc. However, this was just extra icing -- the thing

that *married* the couple was the consent by words of the present -- not

anything that came before, nor anything that came after.


The above is the normal form of marriage. Other forms worked, but if you

were going to all the bother of marriage contracts, etc, then this was the

most common form. This was the only form in which priests were supposed to

involve themselves.


Effric neyn Kenyeoch vcHarrald

mka Sharon Krossa, growing weary...

skrossa at svpal.org (permanent) -or- s.krossa at abdn.ac.uk (until Nov 1996)

Medieval Scotland Web Page (including information on names & clothing):




Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 00:44:22 -0500

To: ansteorra at eden.com

From: gunnora at bga.com (Gunnora Hallakarva)

Subject: Wedding Rings in Period


Here's another interesting tidbit I gathered from the Historical Costuming

news list.


Gunnora Hallakarva




Date:    Sun, 20 Oct 1996 15:31:49 -0700

From:    Trudy <bambi at RESORT.COM>

Subject: wedding rings


i happened to find a book yesterday which discuessed (only a little) wedding

rings and on which finger they were worn...i just wrote down some notes, so i'm

only paraphrsing here:


during the period of george I in england, the wedding ring was usually

worn on the thumb (although it was placed on the fourth -- i guess what

we consider the ring -- finger during the ceremony). apparently very large

wedding rings were fashionable which necessitated waering them on the



in france from the 11th to the 15th centuries, they wre usually on the right

hand, middle finger; s in some areas they were on the fourth finger.


the guals and the britons of the 1st century wore the ring on the middle

finger (didn't say which hand).


the order of matrimony in england, pre-freformation said that men

should wear their wedding ring on their right hand, women on the left.


chirlandajo's frescoes in the curch of santa croce in florence show

the betrothal of the ivrgin (make that virgin...no backspace c key here)

mary -- the ring is placed by joseph on mary's fourth vinger, right hand.


during the betrothal of lucrezia borgia with giv ARGH make that giovanni

sforza on feb. 2, 1493, the wedding (engagement) ring was placed on her

fourth finger, left hand.


and finally, an idea that might explain the custom of wearing the wedding

ring on the thumb -- the second digit of the thumb was dedicated to

the virgin mary.


this is all from "rings for the finger", by george frederick kunz,

dover press, 1917 (repreinted i believe late 1940s).  i found thi s book

used at Green Apple Books on Clement St. in San Francisco (i didn't buy

it so it's still there ) if any bay area people are interested.


-Kendra Van Cleave



From: roggenbk at river.it.gvsu.edu (Karin Bear)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: weddings

Date: 30 Jan 1997 16:16:19 GMT

Organization: Grand Valley State University


Tara L Wilbur (wilbutl at mail.auburn.edu) wrote:

: yet, but I would appreciate any advice/info anyone has on medieval/early

: Renaissance weddings/clothes/food/traditions/flowers/etc.


Tara, first, congrats!  Second, there are a few resources that could help

you, though unfortunately I don't have the addresses handy for either one.

The first is the SCA's own Rialto files.  (Lots of documents and threads

relating to various subjects). [Now called Stefan¹s Florilegium. You are

now reading the file mentioned]  Someone here should be able to tell you

where to find them, or just search for either Rialto or SCA on an engine.

The other is the FAQ for soc.couples.weddings.  There are several sections

on there pertaining to medieval weddings complete with flowers, food,

dress (catalog names and ideas!) and I think favours too. This is posted

monthly to either soc.couples.weddings, alt.wedding and a few other NG's

too.  Dejanews should be able to help you find it.  (FWIW, I got a lot of

my ideas out of it, as I too am planning a period wedding)


-- Karin (and Kevin) sometime in '99



Date: Wed, 19 Mar 1997 22:41:13 -0600

From: kst at paul.spu.edu

Subject: Re: 15th century wedding

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca


> From: dederick at clark.edu (David Eric Sletten)


> I am a welsh archer/merchant. I just got engaged to a 15th century Itailan

> concubine.  She expect a large wedding from her home land. I need help. If

> you have any info or know where I should look I woould really appreciate it.


You might want to stop by the Medieval/Renaissance Wedding Page at



I would especially suggest looking at the bibliography of books.

In my research, I did run across a fair deal of information on

Italian weddings.  Some of the ones you will probably want to get

your hands on (talk to the Interlibrary Loan Dept. at your library)



Altieri, Marco Antonio.  Li nuptiali.  Rome, C. Bartoli, 1873.  Ed.

  Enrico Narducci.

  (If you can read Italian, this seems to be one of the best primary

  sources on Italian Renaissance wedding rituals. Originally written

  around 1509, it was reprinted in 1873 and does not seem to have

  appeared in print since.)


Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo.  Il Matrimonio Nella

  Societa Altomedievale: 22-28 aprile 1976. Settimane di studio del

  Centro italiano di studi sull'alto Medioevo 24.  Spoleto : Presso

  la sede del Centro, 1977.


Gerstfeldt, Olga von.  Hochzeitsfeste der Renaissance in Italien.

  Esslingen: P. Neff, 1906.


Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane., Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance

  Italy.  Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1985.


Searle, Mark, and Kenneth W. Stevenson.  Documents of the Marriage

  Liturgy.  Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical P, 1992.

  (_The_ book to read for copies of the vows themselves. Includes a

  Jewish ceremony and a number of Christian liturgies from the Early

  Middle Ages to the present)


Stevenson, Kenneth W.  Nuptial Blessing: a Study of Christian Marriage

  Rites.  New York: Oxford UP, 1983.

  (Chapter 2 is a good source for various rituals and ceremonies,

  while Chapter 3 deals with marriage customs during the Reformation)


Bolton, Brenda, et al., eds.  Women in Medieval Society. Philadelphia:

  U of Pennsylvania P, 1976.


Klapisch-Zuber, Christiane.  "Zacharias; or, The Ousting of the Father:

  the Rites of Marriage in Tuscany from Giotto to the Council of Trent."

  Ritual, Religion and the Sacred.  Ed. Robert Forster and Orest Ranum.

  Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1982.



From: djheydt at uclink.berkeley.edu (Dorothy J Heydt)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Flowers for mideaval wedding

Date: 15 Apr 1997 00:04:29 GMT

Organization: University of California at Berkeley


Hilary of Serendip did some research a while back and found that

the whole concept of decorating the interior of a building with

cut flowers seems to have come in in Early Victorian times.  (She

actually mentioned the name of the lady who started it, but I've

forgotten it.)  So in that sense no flower arrangements would be

strictly period.  Flower wreaths on your heads, however, would be.

You could scatter rushes [if you can find any], herbs, and stray

blossoms over the floor--or over the tablecloth on which you serve

the food.


Dorothea of Caer-Myrddin                          Dorothy J. Heydt

Mists/Mists/West                                Albany, California

PRO DEO ET REGE                                     djheydt at uclink



From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Date: Wed, 07 May 1997 23:21:41 -0400

Subject: Re: SC - Announcement and question


The Cheshire Cat wrote:

> As a result of this recent turn of events, could anyone please tell me what

> type of dishes were served at a period wedding feast?


> -Sianan


For what it's worth, there's a complete wedding feast menu in Le

Menagier de Paris. I don't have it in front of me at the moment, but I

recall it is pretty standard 14th-century French foods: in other words,

not too shabby!





From: gfrose at cotton.vislab.olemiss.edu (Terry Nutter)

Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 23:05:55 -0500

Subject: Re:  SC - Announcement and question


Concerning wedding feasts: there are surviving menus reproduced in Austin

at the end of the first manuscript and, I believe, in the Menagier.  The

ones in Austin are from 14th and 15th C England (not all the menus are

weddings, but some are); the Menagier's, presumably, would be 14th C



- -- Katerine/Terry



From: Stephen Bloch <sbloch at adl15.adelphi.edu>

Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 21:57:24 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Announcement and question


> could anyone please tell me what

> type of dishes were served at a period wedding feast?


There is a recipe in _Manuscrito Anonimo_ (a 13th-century Arabo-

Andalusian cookbook) specifically described as "served among us at

wedding feasts in the Algarve".  At least, that's my recollection.  I

can't find it on my hard disk right now, and I have no memory of what

the dish was.

                              mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib

                                                 Stephen Bloch

                                           sbloch at panther.adelphi.edu


                                        Math/CS Dept, Adelphi University



Date: Mon, 14 Jul 1997 07:22:17 EDTFrom: kathe1 at juno.com (Kathleen M Everitt)Subject: Re: SC - Wedding Cake L Herr-Gelatt and J R Gelatt <liontamr at ptd.net> writes:>Aoife here, in a small quandry. Friends of mine are having a "period">wedding, during a public demo---they want it to be truly historical,

>and are researching all the necessary historical details--and have

>asked me to make the "cake".

>Problem 1: They're 5th century Christianized Celts (so that>gives us bannocks, right?).

>Problem 2: Modern wedding cakes are not "period">by any concievable stretch of the imagination.>Lady Aoife FinnGee, I can't remember if I kept the research I did before my SCA weddingmany years ago, but I'll look for it.If I remember correctly, I read that guests brought some sort of cake asa symbol of fertility and presented it to the couple. They were stackedon a platter at the wedding feast. Can't remember the period, but it waslate. Later (out of period) someone got the idea to put icing on thispile of cakes and the tiered wedding cake was created. That's one story.Another was that cakes were brought as fertility gifts but thrown at thebride. Any that landed on her were a sign of children to come. I thinkthat was earlier than the stacking the cakes, but again, I can'tremember. Later that custom became the rice that we throw at weddingstoday. That's all I remember. Hey, it was 18 years ago next week! I'll lookaround and see if I can find any of the references that I used when Iplanned the wedding.Julleran



Date: 14 Jul 1997 09:27:37 -0700

From: "Marisa Herzog" <marisa_herzog at macmail.ucsc.edu>

Subject: Re: SC - Wedding Cake


I remember some mention of a very rich fruit cake (yes fruit cake can be

delicious) as a medievel wedding food in a book about wedding cakes.  Can't

remember the book though :(




Date: Wed, 06 Aug 1997 09:11:11 -0400

From: karen at georesearch.com (Karen Green)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Medieval Wedding 2


Jennifer wrote:

>         I would appreciate any other suggestions that would fit in with the

> above and how to place it so that it seems real.  As well I have no idea

> what to serve for the reception that will not scare my guests.  To some

> people medieval cusine is a little frightening. Thank you


My husband, Lord Gruffudd ap Cadfael, and I got married "medievally"

last April.  Originally we were going to have the ceremony and reception

in the stone lodge of a local country club, but two weeks before the

wedding, the club called to cancel on the lodge; we went with a picnic

pavillion on the club's property instead, and while it was a bit chilly,

there was plenty of space and the view (of the valley, Bull Run, and the

Blue Ridge Mountains) was absolutely gorgeous.


Some of the things we did to make the wedding seem more medieval:


- The entire wedding party (us too!) were garbed in 14th/15th century

costume.  My gown was a full-length light ivory brocade cotehardie which

laced up the back; it was trimmed with a gold looped braid which I

accented with garnets and pearls.  My husband wore a burgundy-colored

houppelande lined with black brocade, trimmed with a gold-and-burgundy



- The wedding invitations (the "Medieval Fantasy" invitatation with the

knight and lady riding to a castle which can be found in several wedding

invitation catalogs) included the line "Medieval attire admired, but not

required."  A lot of the guests (even the non-SCA folks!) got dressed

up.  Even my grandmother!  :)


- We didn't do the "marching out of the hall under a whole mess o'

swords" bit as both of us are reasonably tall -- could have been quite a

mess ;) That and we got married under a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy)

held up by the groomsmen and best man, so they would have had to chuck

the chuppah (which would have been an absolute tragedy, as it was

handpainted silk and made by a very dear cousin) and fetch their swords.


- For the ceremony and dancing at the reception, we had a local SCA

music group play (they charged a far too reasonable fee) ;)  While you

may not have the opportunity to go with an early music group, you may

want to look for some CD's of early music to have played during the

ceremony.  You may like some of the CD's put out by a group called

"Cantiga" -- very pleasant medieval-sounding instrumental music.  :)


- In terms of food, we had hired the catering branch of the country

club, and selected a menu that would "feel" medieval without being icky

-- London broil, veggies, etc.  We also had vegetarian lasagne for the

herbivore crowd.


- For the wedding cake, we again went with what the catering branch

could offer.  It tasted nummy :) The cake topper depicted a little pair

of doves in flight.  (Lady Rafn's daughter Chryston asked if she could

eat the candy doves; Lady Gwen explained that they were plastic.)  :)

There is a cake-topper of a castle out there but neither my husband nor

I liked the look of it very much.  I've seen pictures of medieval

weddings where the cake was figured to look like a castle; this fits in

with the idea of a "subtlety" dessert in wedding feasts.


- You may want to research period wedding feasts -- it's fascinating to

see how they celebrated weddings in this period.  :)


We are also from different backgrounds (I am Jewish, and he was brought

up Lutheran) but we went with a loosely Jewish ceremony. Even had an

illuminated ketubah (kind of a Jewish wedding contract thingie -- and

it's GORGEOUS!) :) Please let me know if I can be of any further help --

in the meantime I remain


Yours in Service to the Dream,


Karen Larsdatter

  Barony of Ponte Alto, Atlantia

  (mka Mrs. Karen Harris) :)



Date: Wed, 06 Aug 1997 09:41:38 -0500

From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Medieval Weddings


To add another source of information to the discussion of medieval

weddings, you can dlaso check out my research on the Viking Wedding located





Gunnora Hallakarva



To: markh at risc.sps.mot.com

Date: Thu, 18 Sep 1997 18:00:14 -0700

From: Kathi <britearrow at geocities.com>

Subject: weddings


For those wanting to do the "traditional" wedding cake for their

Medieval/Renaissance wedding(I know, it's not really "period), finding

an appropriate cake-topper can be a problem.  Fellowship Foundry makes a

nice one(http://www.ffoundry.com/cgi-bin/catalog.cgi?Type=Wedding), and

also have goblets and other accesories for weddings.  In absence of

this, you can get the regular toppers, and use a bit of leftover

material from the bride and grooms outfits.  Just cut them to fit, glue

them on (you can even take a snip of hair to make it look more like you),

and you have an reasonable replica of the bride and groom to place on

the cake.


Caitlinn Ingen Brigt/Kat



Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 13:20:01 -0400

From: "Karen Lyons-McGann" <dvkld.dev at mhs.unc.edu>

Subject: SC - Okay - here goes!


>  I am having a medieval wedding on June 21st.  There will be

>approximately 200 or more people there.  >snip<

>We really don't have much money - it was suggested that we have

>people bring food to share instead of gifts, but I think that sounds

>kinda tacky. If we're having a wedding, we supply the food - (and with

>our friends, the guests supply the entertainment!)

>Cessara ni Rannall


I would suggest that since you know some friends are willing to provide

the entertainment (the tournement) please consider that some guests would

adore to provide at least part of the food, as a gift to you.  Really.  I

would be highly complimented if someone was impressed enough with a dish

to ask me to bring enough to feed their friends and relations.    For

non-traditional weddings, a request that so and so bring enough of (their

specialty) to feed X guests in lieu of a gift  is not uncommon.   If it

really bothers you, offer to defray the costs of groceries.  It might be

best to ask someone familiar with feasts and your friend's specialties

to coordinate the catering effort for you. They could cater the whole

thing.  Or they could simply coordinate the various cooks, dealing with

requesting the dishes and offering grocery money if doing so makes you

feel awkward.  Do beware that a non-SCA friend of relative may hear of

the idea and want to bring Watergate Salad for 200.  Smile and be






Subject: Re: ANST - Fwd: Help

Date: Fri, 20 Nov 98 13:01:56 MST

From: "Casey&Coni" <weed at sage.net>

To: <ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG>


I've done a good deal of research on Italian and German weddings in the 14th

and 15th c.


I found that the following books were fine 'starters' with enough basic

information to reconstruct a fairly accurate picture of how the events



Marriage and the Family in the Middle Ages, Gies&Gies 1987


A History of Private Life vol. II, Aries & Duby 1988


Other people you might wish to consult with are Jovian Skleros seddy at vvm.com

and Lady Zaharra domino7 at texas.net  who are both stewing in research on this

very subject from the Greek Orthodox and Spanish viewpoints, respectively.





Subject: Re: ANST - Fwd: Help

Date: Sun, 22 Nov 98 09:59:59 MST

From: "Mary Temple" <noxcat at hotmail.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Another book that might be helpful is: Giovanni and Lusanna Love and

Marriage in Renaissance Florence by Gene Brucker.


(disclaimer: while I DO own it, I have not yet read it. Something about

mundanity getting in the way.)


Katerine Rowley

Bryn Gwlad, Ansteorra



From: drgnflydsn at aol.com (DrgnflyDsn)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Period Weddings

Date: 26 Jan 1999 20:09:48 GMT


>Greetings to all, My Lady and I are getting married on April 24th-we are

>doing a "periodish" wedding. Meaning our SCA friends come in garb and >our

>friends and family who are not in the SCA, come in Mundane garb. Our

>outfits are circa 1400. Can anybody outthere give any ideas on some

>ceremonies or music etc.

>Thank You

>Padraig Ruadh Cille Chainnigh

>(Phil Sheridan)


Renaissance magazine had an excellent wedding issue last year that is still

available at http://www.RenaissanceMagazine.com

You can also try the Medieval wedding links page at




Dragonfly Design


Masks, Historical Clothing Patterns, Garb



Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 12:07:56 +0000

From: "William T. Fleming" <gorp at erols.com>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Help needed with Scottish Marriage Customs


> My daughter (who currently lacks access to the net) is doing research on

> Scottish marriage laws and customs.  She's focusing on the similarities and

> differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant practices in the late

> medieval and renaissance periods.  Any help or pointers to available

> materials would be appreciated.


> Mikhail


I recomend glancing at Scottish Lore and Folklore by Ronald MacDonald

Douglas.  Scotland still recognizes ancient "irregular" forms of

marriage which other nations outlawed after the Council of Trent.  For

irregular marriage, no clergy is neccesary all one needs to do is to

declare mariage in front of two witnesses, promise marriage before

intercourse, or live with someone as man and wife and gaining the repute

of marriage.





Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 12:12:23 -0500

From: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Help needed with Scottish Marriage Customs


Luznicky wrote:

> My daughter (who currently lacks access to the net) is doing research on

> Scottish marriage laws and customs.  She's focusing on the similarities and

> differences between Roman Catholic and Protestant practices in the late

> medieval and renaissance periods.  Any help or pointers to available

> materials would be appreciated.


> Thank you


> Mikhail


http://www.electricscotland.com/history/social/sh7.html Scottish Weddings






http://www.dalriada.co.uk/site.htm  search under weddings (3)












Date: Sat, 13 Feb 1999 04:49:32 -0600 (CST)

From: "J. Patrick Hughes" <jphughes at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

To: sca-arts at listproc.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Help needed with Scottish Marriage Customs


I am sorry It took me so long to answer this request. Much is possible but

questions need to be addressed first.


The first thing to determine is where, when, and at what social level she

is interested in a Scottish wedding. If it is in the Highlands (post

Viking period) then is should be according to Brehon Law and not religious

at all. If it is in the lowlands then should it be Catholic or Protestant?

Is it to be modeled on a royal wedding (state pageantry evolved) or on a

more folksy family affair on the borders? If Highlands, there is a deal of

information on the Irish-Scottish institutions of marriage and they are

not at all like other church based ceremonies.  We have actual marriage

rites in the prescribed liturgies of both the Catholic Church and the

Protestant Reformed Church. While I do not have such in my personnel

library I would expect to find them at either a good academic library or

at the library of the respective religions seminaries. If it is a Royal

model then the book on City Marriage and Tournament already mentioned is a

start point. Finally for simple lowland family gatherings there is

information on marriage practices in the books on the history of Scottish

dance. I hope this helps.


Charles O'Connor



Subject: Re :ANST - Norse Weddings

Date: Thu, 01 Jul 1999 18:22:56 MST

From: "C. L. Ward" <gunnora at bga.com>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG


Ld. Seamus MacDuff asked:

>Does anyone have information on Norse Weddings, if so it would be most



Yes, in fact I do.  I did a comprehensive research project on the subject

of Norse weddings which has since been used twice that I know of to perform



The full text of the paper is located on the Medieval and Renaissance

Weddings Webpage, or better yet you can access it from The Viking Answer

Lady Webpage in the Daily Life Section:


[The new link is: http://www.VikingAnswerLady.com  - Stefan]


Wæs Þu Hæl (Waes Thu Hael)



Gunnora Hallakarva, OL

Baroness to the Court of Ansteorra



From: jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu (Jennifer/Yana)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: medieval confetti?

Date: 10 Sep 1999 19:34:59 GMT

Organization: University of Wisconsin - Madison


>A visitor to my site, having a medieval wedding in a few months, has asked

>me if there is a period equivalent to confetti to throw weddings. Would rice

>have been used in period? Was anything at all thrown?


>Marguerite de Bordeaux

>mka Michelle Roberts


In late-period Russia, the couple was showered with hops and money (coins)

twice, before the ceremony by the groom's mother and then after the ceremony

by the bride's mother.


See my Lord's article on the subject of Russian weddings at:



Ilyana Barsova (Yana)  jdmiller2 at students.wisc.edu


Slavic Interest Group http://www.uwplatt.edu/~goldschp/slavic.html



From: Cynthia Virtue <cvirtue at thibault.org>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: medieval wedding dress

Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2000 06:45:53 -0500

Organization: Virtue Ventures http://www.virtue.to


> dress that could be worn again at an event as court garb,,with as

> little changes as necissary.  If anyone has any information I would

> greatly appreciat it.


There are two options that I see, depending on what you want for your dress:


1: Make it in "normal" late-period colors and wear it as a wedding dress

(white dresses being a relatively recent phenomenon)


2: Make it of fabrics that take dye well, but in white, and have it

professionally dyed after the wedding.  You could have removable bits,

such as fur or trim, that wouldn't go in the dyebath, and would be

reapplied later.  I recall hearing of one woman who found an

elizabethan-style white wedding dress at a discount store, and had it

professionally dyed: instant garb!



From: "john hentges" <franzvolks at home.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: medieval wedding dress

Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 00:23:01 GMT


Genevieve <emeraldmaz at my-deja.com> wrote

> I am looking into making a wedding dress for a wedding in a year or

> so.  My SCA persona is late period French, and I was hoping to make a

> dress that could be worn again at an event as court garb,,with as

> little changes as necissary.  If anyone has any information I would

> greatly appreciat eit.  Thank you!


    I lost my argument with mother dear about a PURPLE wedding dress (Good

Heavens! You DO realize what your grandmother would have to say!) and now I

wish I had stood my ground. For my sister's third wedding (same guy,

different guests) she wore an evergreen cothardie and dove grey cyclas. This

was the mundane "family" wedding.


    My advice is to make that most excellent court garb you have dreamed of

for years (which would be most in period in attitude) and allow yourself to

enjoy YOUR wedding. Not your mother's or anyone else who tries to get behind

the reins of the affair.


    One last thing, though. The first time I had a good argument for

sticking to my guns - We had just spent a week at a friend's house in July,

in Middle Tennessee, without air-conditioning, working on the taffeta/satin

ivory princess cut dress with purple gores and tippetts. Then her husband's

first comment was "Why did you make a floor-length Father Ryan High School

cheerleader's uniform?" Luckily, I did not hit him, she was faster.



Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 14:11:14 EDT

From: Seton1355 at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - non-member submission - Medieval Wedding Sites





Mire's Renaissance Wedding Links


Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Page


Medieval & Renaissance Wedding Rites


The Medieval & Renaissance Wedding Site


Town & Country Weddings: Find the Dress of Your Dreams


AOL Search: Results for wedding dresses


A perfect dress - choosing your wedding dress



Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2001 19:47:03 -0800

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: SC - New book available April 2001


Coming soon to a book vendor near you...


Daniel Diehl and Mark Donnelly.

Medieval Celebrations : How to Plan for Holidays, Weddings, and

Reenactments With Recipes, Customs, Costumes, Decorations, Songs,

Dances and Games.

Stackpole Books. April 2001.

ISBN: 0811728668.


Now as you can see, this is not yet available - but you can see a

picture of the cover on amazon.com, bn.com, etc.


The author also wrote these SCA perennials:

1. Constructing Medieval Furniture : Plans and Instructions With

Historical Notes, 1997.

2. Medieval Furniture: Plans and Instructions for Historical

Reproductions, 1999.

3. Siege : Castles at War, 1999.



From: Adrienne R. Ferrell [aferrell at texas.net]

Sent: Friday, April 26, 2002 9:42 PM

To: ansteorra at ansteorra.org

Subject: [Ansteorra] White wedding gowns late 1800s


>I also have a question - what colour did Spanish women wear for weddings?

>White is a modern tradition...



>(Who needs to know these things... kinda in a hurry!)


Dear Elysia,


     I think that this web site might help you "A Brief History of the

Wedding Dress in Britain " http://www.geocities.com/e2davies/brides.html.

Although it is the English customs I believe that the bride would wear the

most expensive dress she (her family) could afford. (some things never



"It is a tradition for Spanish brides to carry orange blossoms in their

bouquet. The significance of this dates back to medieval times. According

to Georgina O'Hara, in her book The Bride's Book: A Celebration of Weddings

(Michael Joseph Ltd., London, 1991), "The inclusion of orange blossom in

the bridal wreath or as part of a bouquet dates back to the Saracens,

according to some sources. It came to Europe with the returning Crusaders

who are believed to have witnessed the custom of a bride wearing a garland

- a symbol of maidenhood - of orange blossom on her hair. Orange blossom

stands for chastity and purity and, because the orange blossom tree is an

evergreen, it also stands for everlasting love.""from:



Some other links that may be of interest:

Ethnic Wedding Customs



Marriage during the Middle Ages





<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org