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Planning a Medieval Wedding
Your first step
Before you start looking for castles or a wedding dress you should write down everything that is important to you. Imagine what your wedding would be like and start writing it down, kind of like your pre-wedding story book. Ask yourself several questions such as: Do I wish to get married in a castle? Or do I prefer an outdoor wedding on a meadow, inside a beautiful park, or in a forest? What type of ceremony, religious or traditional medieval? How about the food and table settings? What about the entertainment? Medieval dances, court jesters, sword fighting, bow and arrow contest maybe? As you can see, a lot to think about.
There are hundreds of castles all over Europe that allow for a medieval wedding. Some offer a private chapel for the wedding ceremony and the rooms for your royal meal. Others only offer the rooms and catering. That is usually not a problem because where there is a castle there usually is a church near-by.
Did you know that there are even some castles in Northamerica. Of course they did not write the same history as those in Europe but they still make a beautiful setting. If you would much rather celebrate a Robin Hood Wedding in the forest or on a beautiful meadow, you have plenty of options to turn a simple meadow into a medieval-looking place. Medieval tents can be rented or you can hire a wedding planner to take care of the decorative aspect of your medieval wedding.
The medieval dress
Medieval wedding dresses come in different colors and shapes. In the early middle ages brides didn’t really wore white. Nobles usually wore dark colors such as blue or burgundy with gold. Their dresses were made of expensive material. The commoners had similar dresses but those dresses were made of simple material. The typical medieval dress is known as the cotehardie, tight-fitting around arms and upper body, usually laced in the back.
Medieval wedding dresses can be rented, customed ordered through a seamstress or purchased online. The selection is huge. Now, if you don't like orderding your dress online but you did see your dreamdress, you could take a photocopy to your seamstress.
The wedding cake
A typical medieval wedding of the past did not include a wedding cake. Instead a local baker would create sweet desserts in the form of little castles, knights, etc. Unless you want to have a truly authentic medieval wedding including desert you could still opt for a wedding cake but add in a medieval show for your guests by cutting the cake with a sword.
The Wedding Feast
A typical medieval wedding feast is usually presented as part of the table decorations. That included platters with meat, baskets with bread, plates with grapes and cheeses. It was common to eat the food with your bare hands as forks weren’t yet invented. The food was served in wooden bowls or plates made out of clay.
Depending on the type of medieval wedding you are planning, you could choose between wooden bowls or heavy-duty ceramic plates or even silver plates. Don’t use white porcelain and wine glasses. Instead opt for goblets.
Planning a medieval wedding can be a challenging task when it comes to selecting the entertainment. Medieval dances are old traditional dances that not everyone knows how to do. Nevertheless, there is a certain fun aspect about the fact that you will all slowly learn those dance steps before and during the wedding. Here is a page with medieval dance instructions on video.
To break off the monotony hiring some medieval comedians such as the court jesters would allow for everyone to take a break from dancing, sit back and enjoy a glass of mead or wine and laugh to the jokes of the court jesters, listen to their funny songs or watch them do tricks.
If your wedding is during the day and there is plenty of daylight left bow and arrow contests, for instance, would allow the guys to compete against each other. You can always hire a couple of actors who will perform professional sword fighting. And for those without a tight budget who do enjoy the full action, why not hire a company to perform a medieval jousting tournament. If you have the space and the money, why not relive the middle ages to the fullest. Jousting tournaments weren’t necessarily part of a wedding. It was a sport to show off their talent. Nevertheless, if you are planning a medieval wedding out on an open meadow why not let yourself and your guests go back to the middle ages and become a spectator of an original jousting tournament.