Posted by: simplyelegant1 | November 17, 2009

Medieval and Renaissance Weddings

(Authors note: there is very little difference between the customs of the Middle Ages and Renaissance weddings. We know very little about the common folk and their customs but the wealthier traditions carried through for the most part.)

This was it. As the morning sun streams faintly through the leaded windows of my chambers, my maid awakened me. Rather abruptly I thought. But she has been with is for so long, I couldn’t get angry with her.

“It’s time m’lady,” she said.

She meant, of course, time for me to get ready for my marriage to Sir Richard.

The customary banns had been posted on the church and, had there been any objections to  our union, nobody would have dared voice them.

This had all been arranged when I was only a child and, like a child, I didn’t take it too seriously. The future was a long way away.

My father, on the other hand, was almost giddy with delight. It was, in his opinion, a good match. The monetary and land rights were just what he wanted. That and an alliance between our families.

I have only met my betrothed once. He is, of course much older than I. He’s not pleasing to the eye but seemed to have a good nature. I count myself lucky in that respect.

I spent weeks beforehand bleaching my hair in the sun. And I naturally had my eyebrows plucked to make my hairline higher. Today I would wear my hair down and have blossoms woven into my tresses. (I was excited about that. This would be my only chance to where my hair that way. And it is frightfully romantic looking.)

I bathed in warm waters scented with exotic flower petals and herbs.

Then it was time for the cosmetics. As anybody knows, they should cover the whole face. I can’t imagine and don’t want to imagine the lack of make up in the old days. The brides must have looked a fright!

My gown was an exquisite shade of blue silk, representing purity, and it also happened to match my eyes exactly! All of my attendants wore the same color of blue to confuse any evil spirits that may have been lurking about.

My jewelry consisted of red jasper for love, emeralds for Christian hope and sapphires indicating that we were heaven bound.

After all had been completed I must admit, not out of vanity but out of honesty that I was a vision that would dazzle all eyes.

Some marriages take place on the steps of the church but ours was in the castle and the priest blessed us later.

And what a wedding celebration we had!

We feasted on roast quail, turtle doves, partridge, goose, venison, roasted peacock along with cheese, nuts, fruits and tarts. The mead and the ale flowed freely.

As we feasted we were regaled by minstrels, jugglers and all other kinds of entertainment.

After everybody  had eaten their fill, the excess was given to the beggars who waited outside the gates with anticipation.

All of the guests brought cakes which were piled. If we were able to jump over them without toppling them, good luck and prosperity awaited us. We were and it does.

And then  we danced. How we danced! Until it was time to go to the bedchamber.

The priest blessed the bed and we were left to truly become husband  and wife.

The next morning my husband presented me with many fine gifts to show his appreciation of our connubial relations.

The honeymoon was traditional. We drank mead (a honey based wine) for a month in hopes of producing a male heir. (Thus the term honeymoon.)

I am pleased to tell you that I am happily married. My husband is considerate and thrilled with the fact that I have just birthed our first child.

A healthy boy infant! Life is good and smiles abound.


By Ellen Chatillon

A Simply Elegant Wedding Maui

Please visit my main website here.


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