Much of this page is still under construction.
This page will eventually include a list of sample menus for medieval & Renaissance Wedding Feasts, using recipes from A Boke of Gode Cookery. The menus themselves will be divided into three sections: Authentic; Semi-authentic; & Modern with a medieval theme.
In the meantime, here is a Wedding Feast Menu for a medieval-style wedding which was prepared by the author in June of 1993, in Pittsburgh, PA:
For more menu ideas, visit any of the recipe collections here at A Boke of Gode Cookery:
A Boke of Gode Cookery Recipes | Medieval Recipe Translations | A Renaissance Cookery Book | Gentyll manly Cokere | Recipes from A Newe Boke of Olde Cokery | Historical Cookery Page | 17th Century English Recipes | Modern Recipes for Beginners | All Gode Cookery Recipes
COOKYS are a wonderful
and delightful accompaniment to any medieval or Renaissance wedding. We
have many lovely designs suitable for weddings, including our Wedding
Goblet & Grapes, Love Birds, Amo Te Heart, and floral designs in a
variety of shapes. See our website
for a complete listing of designs, prices, & flavors.
The Medieval Wedding
Jill Kimble has written an informative article on presenting a medieval wedding, the text of which appears here. A Boke of Gode Cookery is honored that she chose to recommend the recipes from this site for use in the wedding feast.
Jill Kimble's article was
originally found on Wedserv.com.
The Medieval Wedding
Have you always been fascinated by Lady Guinevere or the Knights of the Round Table? Would being transported back to Robin Hood's day be an ultimate fantasy of yours? If you spent many a night as a child wondering what life back then would have been like, perhaps you should consider transforming one of the most important days of your life into a mystical, romantic adventure: your wedding day.
Medieval weddings are generally held outdoors or in a traditional church if properly decorated with banners, heavy wooden chairs, grapevine wreaths on the doors, English ivy, Medieval banners, votive candles set in gold holders, and white flowers.
If you want your ceremony in a church, try to find one that looks Gothic--made of stone, with lots of stained glass, and possibly some Tudor (brown and ivory) wooden accents.
For an outdoor wedding, decorate the space with plenty of ivy, which is the traditional wedding plant of the era, black iron candelabras and scrolls, banners of family crests, large baskets of flowers, and flowered garlands on wooden and/or iron poles. Big, chunky wooden candleholders are also appropriate and add the requisite flavor to the scene.
Another location option is to get married at a local or regional Renaissance Fair. In the United States, nearly every state or even counties hold such a fair, and it is becoming more common to see weddings taking place at them. Usually a hospitality coordinator is in charge of arranging such an event, and then most all of the hard work is done for you. Often, the wedding parties just show up, and the fair takes care of the rest. The feasibility of this option, however, depends on both the size of the fair and the size of the wedding; it is much easier to have your wedding at the fair if you are having a smaller ceremony.
The bride must remember that brides in the medieval era wore dark and regal velvet dresses in such colors as hunter green, burgundy wine or deep purple. Often these dresses were laced up the sides and/or back, with long pleated floor-length skirts, and were long-sleeved. They were also relatively, but tastefully, low-cut. A gold or silver metallic ribbon often ran throughout the design. (For an example, check out Fairy Fashion, click on Wedding Gowns, scroll down and click on the "Lady Jolene" dress.)
Brides today who want a medieval or Renaissance-style wedding should stick to such a dress for both themselves and their bridesmaids. Their hair should be worn long and flowing, with loose curls. In lieu of a veil, brides should wear a golden circlet or a wreath of ivy, herbs, and flowers, possibly with ribbons attached and hanging loosely over the back of her head.
The dress is as unique for men. Tights, breeches, tunics, pirate shirts, laced vests, and boots are the order of the day. (Visit check out Fairy Fashion and click Men's Attire.) If the groom or his groomsmen have long hair, they should also wear it loose.
Finding this style of clothing is not as hard as you might think. Two basic options exist for those trying to outfit an entire group of Medieval revelers: you could either rent these costumes from a rental establishment or buy them. Look in your yellow pages to find costume shops in your area. They might even offer a discount for a large group. In addition to Fairy Fashion, you can also check out By the Sword to start looking into your options for purchasing clothing and what you might have to spend to look authentic.
(Gode Cookery also recommends Historic Enterprises for the most beautiful & finest authentic clothing available.)
The element that makes the flowers of this celebration distinct from other weddings is the prominent use of herbs. Rosemary, thyme, basil and even garlic often play a prominent role and are interspersed with the chosen flowers. This custom originated from what was then believed to be the mystical, even religious, significance of various herbs in both health and destiny.
As with the clothing, the flowers displayed should be rich, darker shades such as red, orange, purple, green, brown and bright yellow. Suggested flowers include:
The Gloriosa Lily, which has the appearance of crushed red velvet; Ivy; Red Roses; Amaryllis; Birch Twigs or Holly Branches; and Parrot Tulips.
Bouquets, especially the bride's, should be large, overflowing and hand tied. A must for any bridal bouquet is to include a small amount of wheat as a symbol of fertility. Because you are trying to reproduce a time long before the era of professional flower shops and Styrofoam, all the flowers should appear as rustic and natural as possible.
The music for the ceremony should be that of a pipe organ, flute, harp or lute. Even though centuries separates us from the Middle Ages, the wedding ceremony itself remains much the same, with only one major difference: the ceremony took place outside the church door before entering the church for a nuptial mass.
During the ceremony, as in today, the man stood on the right side and the woman stood on the left, facing the door of the church because she was formed out of a rib in the left side of Adam. The priest begins by asking if anyone knows of any reason the couple should not be married. He also asks this of the man and woman so they may confess any reasons for prohibiting their marriage.
The wording of the ceremony is slightly different as well. The ceremony would proceed with the priest saying, "(Groom's name), wilt thou have this woman to be thy wedded wife, wilt thou love her, and honor her, keep her and guard her, in health and in sickness, as a husband should a wife, and forsaking all others on account of her, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?" Then the priest asks the same of the woman. Both the man and the woman should answer by saying "I will." At this time the woman is given by her father.
The wedding continues with the saying of vows. Both the man and the woman say, "I, (name), take thee, (name) to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, till death do us part, if the holy church will ordain it: And thereto I plight thee my troth."
The tradition of exchanging rings also comes to us from this time period: the rings are given to the priest to bless them. He gives them back, and the bride and groom exchange rings. They bow their heads, and the priest gives them a blessing.
Because the couple was outside the church, now the husband and wife would enter the church, where they knelt before the altar. At the altar the priest would give a prayer and a blessing, thus ending the marriage ceremony.
An added touch would be to have the bride and groom escorted to and from the ceremony by a horse-drawn carriage.
Decorate the reception hall as you did the church or outside location. Remember to keep your decorations as natural and rustic as possible.
If you want to replicate the medieval feast, keep in mind that they were served in courses and each course was like a meal in itself. People ate with their hands, a spoon and a small knife the size of a steak knife. Forks were not used by the majority of people; instead, only royalty and the very wealthy would use them.
These recipes have been modernized for easy preparation. The traditional drink of a medieval wedding was honeymead.
In addition, there was entertainment during and between the courses. You might consider hiring several jugglers or acrobats to perform during the meal; in costume, they will easily transport your guests to a different time. You could also hire a medieval entertainment group to include lively entertainment for your guests.
You might want to include a castle or knight with a horse as your cake topper. When cutting the cake, you could use a sword, and toast each other with pewter goblets.
Whether you want to recreate an entire medieval wedding or incorporate only a few elements of the theme into your ceremony and reception, your special day will be enchanting and one you and your guests will remember for ages to come.
The Medieval Wedding © 2000 Jill Kimble
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