Friday, 25 February 2011


At weddings the monogram often play a role in the decorations, maybe on the napkins or at the the smal rice bags. It's not a medieval faenomenon but you can easily make it so it stays within the theme.

This webpage has a lot of fonts for different writing programs, and with a little help from paint you can make a lot of beautifal monograms using the fonts under medieval.

These are my attempts with R and C:
 We ended up chosing a much more simple design for ourselves:

Knock yourselves out :)

DIY - My shield of Arms

I made both of our shields of arms in Paint and based on our personalities.

My boyfriend has both the Danish word for electricity and the word for hammer in his names, so I made a lightning bolt and a war hammer. He wanted it to be about force and war. Manchester united is his favourite soccer team, and they have a crest of their own with a red devil. As it looks like a dragon, a common medieval symbol, I included the devil on his shield as well but I switched the trident with a sword. The background I painted blue - his favourite colour and the colour of nobility.
This is the result:
It's simple, but my fiancé loves it :)
My shield of arms was equally simple. Green is my all time favorite colour so obviously it had to be a part of it. I chose red for love and green for life and growth, a black unicorn for secrets and fantasies and the tree of life. My names include the words shoe and spike. I translated it to a horse shoe and a spear. And here it is:
All sorts of decorations can be made for the party using the shields. First I made actual shields, or I bought some children shields for 4 pounds and painted them over:

Then we decided to use them as favors as well. Everyone gets a badge (pin back) with one of the two shields upon arriving at the party. My family gets my crest and Robert's family will get his:

Shield of Arms DIY

The shield of arms was a way during the Middle Ages to show people what family you belonged to. It was primarily the wealthier families who had such a symbol and there was much pride in the blood line.

It will add a nice touch to the party if you make your own - one for the family of the bride and one for the family of the groom. You can paint them on two big wooden shields and hang them over the bride and groom during the reception.
It will also look impressive with tall banners hanging along the wall, maybe with other shield of arms to represent the "connections" to the family.
If you aren't as lucky as to have an actual shield of arms in the family you can:
1. Make your own - takes a little creativity but it's very fun and you can make it very personal.
2. Borrow someone else's shield - most nations have an official shield of arms - or you can google it and choose amongst the many powerful ones that pop up.

Try not to make it too complicated if you choose to make it yourself. You have to decide on:
             a. Colours - should there be more than one? Remember the medieval is known for its use of bright strong colours. They may symbolise different virtues or something specific to you.
Red: Passion, war, love, blood fire. Blue: Purity, devotion, faith, royalty, water. Yellow: Sun, warmth, wealth, air, joy. Green: Hope, earth, fertility, family, children, courage. Black: Strength, power, night, secrets, myth, man, magic. White: Truth, day, woman, justice, clarity, superiority.
             b. Symbols - often there's a lot of symbols on a shield of arms. An often used example is the lion, which is associated with kings and bravery. The French took a fancy to the lily, a symbol of beauty. There are weapons such as swords, bows, hammers, staffs, spears, axes and arrows. All tokens of strength and conquest. Then there are animals like: Hog (strength), swan (beauty), eagle (power), unicorn (supremacy), deer/stag (hunt, grace), dragon (unearthly power), Bear (wildness/greatness), fish (Christianity), owl (knowledge). Flowers also appear frequently, roses, lilies. Nature symbols like sun, moon, tree, ocean, star and mountain are very old. An example of objects could be cup, sceptre, crown, heart, cross, kea, horse shoe, shell.
              (c.) a motto. Like: show no mercy, trust and fear not, Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus (Never tickle a sleeping dragon - Hogwarts, Harry Potter), or Splendor sine Occasu (splendour without diminishment).

Have fun now :)  - next entry I will tell you how I made mine.

Location for the party

The location is always important in a theme party because if you find the right venue then half the work with setting the mood is done. I have disvocered that in Denmark it's far easier to find rooms from around 1700 than medieval times and I have seen some medieval couples settle for these locations. But the fact is that gold mirrors and traces of Roman/Greek architecture have nothing to do with the middle ages and it's a shame to have a lot of beautifully medieval dressed guests when they'll look awkward in the all too modern halls.
There are a variety of choices though fitting for the theme, some more expensive than others but all equally good.
The Castle:This is probably the most expensive solution but very convincing for your guests. Many old fortresses or castles will lend their rooms out for weddings, even those which are presently museums. The downside is that you rarely are allowed to bring with you your own drinks and food, so the owners of the castle will have you pick a menu from some fine restaurant they are working with. Usually this means very fine dining but not medieval meals. The castles also often allow you to sleep there with the entire wedding party for an extra payment. You really can't get closer to the knight like scenery than a fortress but this is mainly possible in a European context, I am not so sure about America. Just remember that not all castles are from medieval times, and some was renovated later.
Here is an example from Denmark. It's a fortress in Kolding, where you can rent the old halls.
Outside, in a big tent:The cheaper but also very wonderful option demands some attention to details that you will have to deal with yourself. You have to rent a tent, additional toilets and a kitchen tent and a generator for power (if you aren't near any of those facilities.) Depending on the time of year you may also need some heaters. The floor will also often be rented by itself and then of course you need table, chairs, personal, plates and so on. There is a lot to juggle but it is also a wonderful way to throw a medieval party. You are close to nature and can set it all up in any location you might choose (if only you remember to ask permission if the land is not yours). So you can dance the night away in beautiful landscapes/forests/fields. This may also fit a knight but peasant will also do nicely.
On a re-enactment medieval fair:All over the world people who are interested in medieval come together each year in markets where all dress according to the fashion of the time and sell items related to medieval. Often a wedding is welcomed, but you will probably have to deal with a lot of attention. It is possible to eat away from the crowd as the other participants usually have an area where the public won't enter. It is the ultimate way of setting the right move and if you aren't too shy you can get married in the middle of it all. Obviously it makes your wedding less private, but all locations have their disadvantages. It will probably not be very expensive and you can prepare a whole roast suckling pig on a grill (very easy and medieval-ish).
In a barn:Often old Manors have these huge barns that are a perfect setting. There can be difficulties finding one with proper kitchen facilities, but it is worth is. They have an air of the ancient halls of knights and with some torches and flower wreaths they can look just right. Sometimes the ones you rent it from will already have chairs and tables and maybe even a chef with at wedding menu. This will also fit both the rich and the less rich theme.
Medieval manors:There are also some old manors from the medieval who will rent out their rooms for weddings. This might not be as fancy as the castle, but definably also a choice to be considered. Sometimes they have their own restaurant and as with the castle they often have accommodations for sleeping guests. These manors often have these feast halls that make a great background for the reception or party.
Restaurants who specialize in medieval food:They are rare but they do exist. In Denmark we have one, which is a part of the Medieval Centre Museum on Lolland-Falster: the Golden Swan. I know of at least one other in Budapest called Sir Lancelot Medieval restaurant. This arrangement is the one that we chose as it had
1: the medieval environment, 2: the exact food they ate in medieval times 3: the experience with this sort of theme 4: The management has a lot of contacts in the re-enactment business and might help you with other details, such as clothing, 5: All is included as opposed to the tent solution where you have to get the facilities, the location, the food and much more by yourself.
We are also getting married on the sight as it is beautifully located by the ocean. The example is the Sir Lancelot medieval restaurant.

Museums:The last recommendation is medieval museums who likes to rebuild some houses like they appeared back then. Sometimes you can rent their biggest replica house, (if it's big enough to fit everyone). It won't always be written on their homepage if they rent out, so try calling or visiting to ask. Sometimes there will be a cafe or a restaurant who can provide the food, and on other occasions you will have to get a catering firm.

How to get started

When you start planning a wedding with at theme it is always a good idea to establish which items, ideology and traditions would help make the theme realistic.
Medieval times was a long period and the fashion of both clothing and food differs depending on where in Europe you were and wheather it was the early og late medieval. Our wedding is based on the scandinavien and partly english customs early on in the period.

Next it would be prudent to chose which layer of society you want to portray in the decorations. There is a great differens in the wedding dress if you are a rich farmer's daughter or a princess. It can be fun to exploit the theme to make a glorious royal medieval party, with a big silken dress with bell-sleeves, and vagon drawn by white horses. The groom can be a knight in shining armour and the table may be set with huge iron chandalirs and beautiful coloured drinking glasses. You can have a huge cake with gold and pearls.

 We have chosen the alternative a wedding amongst the less rich nobility that are more peasents than warriors. For us this means a less pompous decor, with more nature involved. The room will be decorated with whatever can be found in the forrest at that time of year. The plates and cups are made of unpainted clay and the room will be lit up only from many small candles. The tables won't have tableclothes on them so you can see that they are made of massive wood and people will be seated on long benches in stead of chairs.

When you have made following decisions, you are ready to throw yourself at the details:
1. When in the medieval times are you? (The later the greater is the posibility to be pompous)
2. Where in Europe or the world are you?
3. Are you kings and queens / knight and maiden /nobility / peasants?

About this blog

Hello everyone
I am very excited about getting this blog up and running and as this is my first entry I thought I might begin by telling you what this blog is all about.

I am getting married to my wonderful boyfriend next year and as we are unusual characters we are going to have an unusual wedding. My boyfriend first came up with the idea - I can't really remember how - but I thought it was brilliant. So we are getting married medieval style. :)
Currently I study archaeology and history is a big part of my life. Robert - the boyfriend - prefers to learn about ancient war tactics, but in his daily job he chose quite a different line of work.
Anyway I wanted to make this blog because I had so much trouble finding information or inspiration on the subject. In the hope that I may help future historical brides I share my experiences with you.

All the best - Cecilie