Traditions of the Renaissance bring Romance to Today’s Weddings

Aimee Massaro, WISHES Concierge Services Corp.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The honour of thy presence is hereby requested at the marriage ceremony of…

Renaissance wedding ring bearer's pillow
Every detail in a theme wedding is special, and accessories can play an important part. Take advantage of this and have your ring bearer carry a pillow that fits right in. Pillow pictured at English Elegance in northern Westchester.

Renaissance Wedding Theme

With today’s brides and grooms looking to put a twist on traditional weddings, many search for a way to express their own personality or creativity and reflect it in their special day. Not every couple is looking for the traditions of a white Cinderella dress, the formality of a tuxedo, and bridesmaids in matching dresses. Instead, there is a growing trend to individualize each wedding and set it apart from the half-dozen or so others that guests may have recently attended.

To this end, the idea of living the past…an era of romance, rich in beauty and history appeals to a growing number of brides and grooms. A Renaissance Wedding can be a grand production that transports guests back in time for an evening of romance and merriment.

Looking to plan a Renaissance Wedding? The most important thing is to have fun with it. Make the biggest day of your life one you and your guests will remember for a long time. There are no rules, but here are some hints to help achieve the look and feel:

Renaissance Wedding Locations

Location, Location Location…
The ambiance of a Stone Castle, or a Tudor style residence can be an ideal location. For a late spring, summer, or early fall wedding…outdoor settings are perfect. Imagine a vineyard and/or a tent decorated with garland and banners. A well-timed fog rolling in can create just the perfect touch of authenticity. For church ceremonies, Gothic style stone with stained glass lends itself perfectly.

Renaissance Wedding Invitations

Who to Invite and How to Invite Them…
Invitations are instrumental in setting the tone of a Renaissance Wedding. Some ideas include parchment paper (ivory or beige) with calligraphic font, jeweled tones with gold accents, or perhaps flowered fancy scrolls tied with satin ribbons. Invites can also be folded into thirds and sealed with hot wax.

Renaissance Wedding Attire

What to Wear, What to wear…
The styles can vary from tight bustiers and full skirts or peasant attire for women, to tights and pirate like shirts a la the three musketeers (don’t forget the swords) for men.

Bride’s dresses often lace up the sides or back and are tastefully low-cut. Hair can be worn long and in a wreath of ivy and maybe ribbon. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen can wear a variety of different costumes of the period for variety and authenticity. In lieu of custom made attire; many websites and costume shops offer a wide variety of options to suit personal preferences. Keep in mind that not all Renaissance attire is comfortable – some are quite heavy (beware in summer months) and/or restricting.
Invite guests to participate in the festivities and attend dressed in period costumes. Your pictures will be life-long treasures.

Renaissance wedding dress Renaissance wedding dress
Gowns by Mary's/Mary's P.C.

Renaissance Wedding Food & Drink

Shall we Feast?
While tradition was to eat with your fingers, it would not be suggested to impose this tradition upon your guests. Menus today have become more sophisticated and elaborate; guests have come to expect a certain quality and types of fare. Although a Renaissance Wedding may bring to mind quests walking around with a leg of lamb in their fist, a quality caterer/chef should be able to incorporate elements of typical Renaissance foods into your menu. Game, such as goose, venison, quail or roasted boar, were common meats of the period; along with hearty vegetables, such as carrots, lettuce, onions and asparagus. Cheeses, nuts, strawberries and raspberries, along with tarts and custards, provide nice accompaniments and finishing touches.

Celebratory drinks of the period included ale, beer, wine and fruit juices. These can easily be incorporated into a wedding of today.

Renaissance theme wedding flower girl dress
Flower girl Renaissance dress by Mary's/Mary's PC.

Renaissance Wedding Decorating

Décor and Flowers…
Dried flowers and herbs were often used in this period and can be used in conjunction with the preferred flowers. Flowers should appear as natural as possible – and include a touch of ivy and rich dark shades. Candlelight and grapevines can add a mystical touch. Bouquets should be on the larger side and hand tied.

Renaissance Wedding Music

Sing a Song…
Music is a crucial component to any wedding, and a Renaissance wedding can offer both music styles of the past interspersed with today. (This will depend how in line with the period the wedding will remain.) One idea is incorporate a Renaissance minstrel to play during the ceremony and cocktail hour…enhancing the atmosphere through music, and then switching to a more updated band or DJ for dinner and dancing. This will provide a more inviting dancing atmosphere for many of the guests.

Check out your local Renaissance Faire…you are sure to find musicians and entertainers for hire.

Renaissance Wedding Special Touches

Added touches:

  • Guest book with Quill pen
  • Parchment scrolls with the printed menu tied with velvet ribbons at each place setting
  • Addressing guests as Ladies and Lords
  • Traveling Court Jester/Juggler during cocktail hour

Personal touches modify each and every wedding. A Renaissance Wedding can be carried out following in extensive detail, or simply adding preferred touches here and there. Whatever the case may be, it will be one to remember and will have family and friends talking for years to come.

Renaissance Wedding Resources

Whitby Castle, Rye
The Castle at Tarrytown, Tarrytown
Lyndhurst Castle, Tarrytown
Oheka Castle, Huntington, Long Island
Pellegrini Vineyards, Cutchogue, Long Island

Westchester Costumes, Yonkers

Arcona Reel Band 717.234.0842

WISHES Concierge Services Corp., Scarsdale

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