Party Ideas: How to Organize a Medieval Party
A step by step guide to organizing a medieval themed party. Everything from doing your guest list, preparing and sending invitations, organizing the bar, selecting food and music, to finding medieval costumes and entertainment.
Dressing For A Medieval Party
How To Plan A Medieval Themed Party
Looking for a fun party theme? Look no further, I can tell you here step by step how to organize your own medieval party to impress your friends and have a wonderful time.
Medieval parties are ideal for mid-season when you can take your party to the garden and still feel comfortable wearing heavy medieval clothing. Your guests will love it, medieval parties are full of fun and once you have selected your costume all the rest is very easy to prepare.
If you keep faithful to your medieval theme, you only need a few drinks in the bar and a very basic food menu that can be eaten with your hands!
Organizing A Medieval Party, Step By Step
1) Determine the date for your party.
2) Organize your guest list. Make sure that you are inviting all the fun people that you know would be interested in a medieval party. Do not feel obliged to invite unwanted guests. Be realistic about the number of guests. Your budget and venue are the two main factors to help you decide how many people you invite.
3) According to the number of guests, decide how you are going to be holding your party. Once you have decided on a number of guests you will need to decide on seating arrangements. The space needed will be different if you are planning a medieval banquet than if you are planning on having a medieval buffet and a dance party. Once you are sure about numbers and seating arrangements. For a dance party, an indoors venue would be best while if there is good weather and you have a big garden you could organize long tables and have your medieval banquet there.
Medieval Inspired Party Invitation
4) Send the invitations at least 3 weeks in advance. Make sure to invite your guests with plenty of time and ask them to confirm their attendance so you can start organizing your menu according to how many people will attend your party. You can invite your guests by phone (for a quick response) or sending away written invitations. If you have the time and budget you can create your own invitations from various online resources. Just imagine the surprise in your friend’s faces when they see a pergamino invitation in their post box! Don’t forget to include all the important information in your invitation, like the date, the reason for the party, the starting and finishing time (if there is a finishing time!) Do not forget to emphasize that they need to dress up in mediaeval costumes for the party
5) Make a list of everything you will need and where you can get it. There is nothing worse than realizing at the last minute that you don’t have enough tables or seats for your guests! Avoid plastic cups and dishes, if you want to keep truly to your theme you must avoid plastic utensils. Remember that during the middle ages people used to eat with their hands.
6) Organize the bar. Keep faithful to your theme and serve drinks that were drunk during the medieval period. Forget about fancy cocktails and bring out beer, cider, wine and mead -an alcoholic drink made of honey. These are authentic medieval drinks. There are also some truly medieval drinks that you can still find in local markets, like mulberry gin and blackberry wine.
Non-alcoholic beverages can include natural apple or grape juice served in jugs. Try not to be tempted to offer fizzy drinks like coca cola or any other brand.
Use Especially Made Hard Bread As Dishes
A Medieval Recipe
7) Organize the menu. Whether you are having a medieval banquet or a buffet keep it simple. Remember that the medieval diet was simple in terms of ingredients and cooking.If you are having an outdoor party, it could be a great idea to organize a cooking area and roast some whole chickens and pork in there. If you are not sure about what to serve you might be better hiring a caterer. There is an extensive list of companies who can cater for medieval parties.
For an easy home-made buffet serve lots of cooked meats, fresh and dried fruits, cheese accompanied with big loafs of bread. I like to serve whole fruits for dessert, arranging apples, plums, peaches, pears, grapes and strawberries in trays. It is easy to make and very decorative. Another advantage of offering fresh fruits is that certain citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins and clementines will actually clean your hands -after having eaten without cutlery this is a very good idea.
Cooking Medieval Style
8) Set the scene:
- Buy or make your own medieval decorations. Decorations are very important to bring the medieval theme to your party. You can buy some ready made medieval decorations or if you have the time and ability you can create your own decorations on your own or with a friend’s help. Make sure (as much as possible) to get rid of any high-tech decorations or appliances that you might have on your venue. Some ideas to decorate your venue are:
- Use natural and candlelight for lighting.
- Find wooden cutlery instead of plastic or ordinary cutlery. Remember that cutlery is a “new” invention. People used to eat with their hands during the dark ages.
- Use “natural” dishes instead of porcelain or plastic dishes. A good idea is to make “bread dishes” to serve the food and to use big chunks of bread to serve the hors-d'œuvre.
Music For A Medieval Party
- Decide on the music. Music is very important to set the mood at a party. For a mediaeval party include some renaissance music for the start of the party and during eating time. Once the eating is done, go for something more lively and get your guests moving to the rhythm of waltzes and why not, some ceilidh music.
Medieval Dance At Conwy Castle
- Decide on entertainment. Entertaining your guests can be as simple or complicated as you want. Bear in mind the age of your guests and your type of party. For example if you are having a medieval banquet, most of the time people are going to be sitting at the table eating, so the best entertainment could be playing appropriate music. If you have the budget, you can also invite a band to play renaissance music at your banquet while your guests are eating. You can also invite friends who play musical instruments like the accordion or the harp, they will be more than happy to show off their skills. Decide now if you are going to play games to spice up your party (you can get some inspiration from the Scottish highland games) or if your guests are less active you can always organize a medieval themed quiz. If you can afford it consider hiring mediaeval entertainment like jesters, fire eaters and jugglers. If you have a young crowd invited you can also consider hiring a bouncy castle -YES, adults love this too, especially after a few drinks!
8)Find your Mediaeval costume
9) Enjoy your party!
Medieval Festival At Le Pechereau, France
How To Dress For A Medieval Party?
Now that you have everything ready for your medieval party all you need is to decide on what will you wear that day. I would recommend a proper medieval dress. You can make them yourself or buy them at theatrical shops during sales time or at Halloween costumes shops.
I got my Renaissance Costumes from Renaissance costume clothing and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of their dresses. Just stepping into my medieval dress I felt transported in time ready to party all night long and the best thing is that I’ll be able to use my costume again and again. Unlike other costumes, this one is meant to be worn and to last over the years. I have already used it for a medieval banquet and I am planning to use it again at a medieval festival in a castle next week.
My Aunt And Me wearing Adult Renaissance Costumes From Renaissance Costume ClothingClick thumbnail to view full-size
Fashions of the Late Middle Ages
- Fashion History of the High and Late Middle Ages - Medieval Clothing
Fashions of the Late Middle Ages were influenced by the Gothic style, a look that accentuated slenderness and an elongated form for both men and women
Finding Inspiration For A Medieval Themed Party
If you are still not sure about medieval parties, I recommend that you watch a few medieval films for inspiration before you start preparing your party. Remember that you are looking at medieval films for inspiration only (they do not need to be historically accurate) so all you want is a few ideas about medieval clothing, entertainment, decorations and food. Some good films to watch for inspiration are Franco Zeffirelli’s "Hamlet" with Mel Gibson. For the more daring, Pasolini’s Decameron offers a highly realistic and erotic version of Mediaeval Italy. And, who hasn’t seen "Braveheart", starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace, the perfect place to find inspiration for male costumes and dances. For a fun movie, "A Knight’s Tale" starring Heath Ledger, offers a unique view among medieval movies as the film is set to rock music. And if you want a good laugh "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is the funniest of all of the medieval movies.
Wearing A Medieval Costume
© 2011 Wendy Iturrizaga