Saturday, 23 April 2011

A Shop: Medieval Collectibles

As I have written before I will add small reviews of shops were you can find medieval things for the wedding and MedievalCollectibles is absolutely worth mentioning.
Medieval Collectibles
Click on the Banner to get to their website
I haven't bought anything from there myself, but I have been tempted several times. They have a mix of medieval and renaissance so not everything you can buy will fit a medieval wedding. Furthermore some of the products have a touch of Fantasy/Pirate/Gothic to them, but as the medieval times is a period of myth and mystery too, it's not inappropriate. None the less this is an online store that has a nice variety of medieval products, which is why I want to mention them. Most categories are covered such as clothing, weapons, replica coins, jewelry, very cute costumes for kids, feastware and lots of other stuff.

You can buy a medieval life style if you are willing to pay for it, because of the good quality - especially the weapons and armor impressed me. People praise them for the fine craftsmanship. The prices have a big range too, so you can find something really expensive for the serious medieval collectors, and cheaper pieces (of for example clothing) for the amateur.

Knight in shining armor

The knight in shining armor is both a boyhood fantasy and a romantic woman's dream and therefore an obvious candidate to the groom's character.

 In medieval times you weren't born a knight, it was a title earned in battle. In Danish the word for knight is ridder - suggesting these warriors' means of transportation and their fighting technique. In the middle ages the strongest type of army was the cavalry, small armies on horseback. Infantry had become old fashion. The cavalry was heavily equipped and mostly consisted of nobles as they were the only ones who could afford the horses, armor and weapons. The men that answered when the king called for war did not have to pay taxes, an offer many wealthy men of the time chose to take.

Buying a full body armor is expensive but quite a few special shops offer to make them. The classic knight has a lot of steel plates to protect his body, some wore chain mails, but both of these were very expensive and the poorer soldiers wore a gambeson instead which was made of many many layers of fabric and quite effective too.


There's also the knights known from jousting tournaments and movies like: "A Knight's Tale". There are several groups who have specialized in reenactment of these tournaments that you can rent for the wedding and most medieval festivals have tournaments to entertain the visitors. These knights were dressed in the colors of their family and sometimes carried a token on their helmets like a bird or a crown. It was a dangerous sport, but the contests rallied a huge amount of spectators. Roger of Hoveden (1133 - 1189) described tournaments as "military exercises carried out, not in the spirit of hostility but solely for practice and the display of prowess".

Tournament book. Knight games held by Emperor
 Frederick III. Emperor Maximilian
 I and in the years 1489 to 1511

Some knights were organized in societies. One of the most famous is the Templar Knights who fought in the crusades in the Holy Land. They had a tabard over their armor so they were recognizable on the battlefield, a red cross on a white background. Many wars were fought during the middle ages and a lot of young men from all over Europe participated in the very bloody crusades. A famous character in these wars was the English king: Richard the Lion Heart also known from the numerous movies and stories of Robin Hood.

The knight is an excellent yet expensive option for the groom and it will look fantastic. Robert says that he probably will wear a tabard/surcoat like the tournament knights but with no chainmail or other armor underneath in blue and white like this: (without the helmet ant the chainmail)

So have fun becoming the knight in shinging armor:)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The bride's hair

The wedding day was one of the rare occasions when a woman could let down her hair. Often flowers would be braided into it or she wore a wreath of flowers to symbolise fertility and beauty. The bridal crown was an expensive alternative and after the wedding the bride's hair would be covered with a hat or veil.
Here are some examples of hair accesseories or hairdos
There are a couple of things one can do to look medieval:
1. The larger the forehead the more beautiful you were considered to be. Women plucked their hair and eyebrows to get the perfect look, that's why sometimes the woman look balled in the painting of the time. You can do with just combing your front hair back.

2. braiding your hair will also add to the medieval vibe. There are some very artistic examples of braiding in the medieval times.

1420 Italia

3. A headband of fabric or metal will also make a nice contribution. If you want some inspiration, the character Eowyn from the Lord of the Rings has some beautiful ones. Hats and veils were very diverse in the medieval and you can really make some crazy types.



So that was a lot of pictures with a lot of thoughts on how to do your hair on the big day. Personally I am probably going to go with the very natural loose hair and a golden band over my forehead.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A question to all future and past medieval brides

I would like to hear from anyone getting married like me in medieval times. If you would share pictures and your story with me it could be a great help to anyone who feels stuck in their planning or needs to be inspired. Besides I would love to hear from people with the same interest who might contribute with something new :)

Just write me or leave a comment
All the best - The Medieval Bride

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The rings

The rings are very important to any bride and groom, and if you like the looks of the medieval rings found by archaeologists and amateurs then it's another opportunity to add another very authentic touch to the wedding.
You can never go wrong with the simplest choice of a plain ring of gold or silver. It's a classic no matter the time period and you can always make an inscription on the inside to make it special. This was common in the renaissance like this one:

17th Century, gold poetry ring
Reads: A loving wife prolongeth life
Early in the middle ages gold rings were ONLY for the top of the elite.

A very common ring in the Medieval was the stirrup ring - named so because it looked like the stirrups used when riding. They're simple and elegant and with a single or no stone. Found from 1200 and throughout the rest of the Middle Ages.

There's also rings with floral print (12-1400) like this:
The last type of rings I shall mention are the Gothic Tard Mold rings (12 and 1300)- a precious stone is placed on a plate on the ring as such:

 I had to show you these last two, which are rare, but I think they are very romantic and beautiful:
17th Century

11th Century - presumably
I hope you find fantastic rings yourself, but remember: You will be wearing them all your life, so choose with your heart and not on the basis of your theme!

Medieval contemporary wedding art 1300

I thought you might like to see a couple of pictures from the middle ages featuring a wedding. This can be helpful to get an idea of the clothing, and just how weddings were protrayed at the time. :)

By: Nicolo da Bologna
'The Marriage'
This is a beautiful and festive illustration from a medieval manuscript. There are musicians, and maybe the bride's father/ a priest. The groom is placing a golden ring on her finger and the ladies and men have gathered to celebrate the couple. Notice the very strong colors of the clothes, the bridal crown and the bride's dress. Although it isn't a white dress, she still stands out.

Here a detail from the manuscript, a small picture named "The Kiss".

From Italiy or France in 1320,
From a manuskript comissioned by Kardinal Jacopo Stefaneschi.
The blessing of the couple's union.
I've got more of these but they are from a later century, so you will get those in another entry :)

Crazy wedding bouquet throw

Of course I read a lot of blogs about non-medieval-weddings too :) And one of the really great ones is GreenWeddingShoes. While looking through some of the real weddings I came across Katie and Cameron's Camp Wedding. They were very inventive but the thing that caught my eye was the way the bride through the wedding bouquet. All the singles got a little flag that they were to plant where they thought the bouquet would land on the grass. Then the couple put the bouquet in a big medieval trebuchet and sent it off flying!
I loved the idea so much I had to mention it here, hopefully no one will resent me for showing a picture form their story. (You can read it all on GreenWeddingshoes/Katie+Cameron).

I am hoping that maybe my brother in law will make me a mini version of a trebuchet to use for our wedding, or we could consider paying a little extra to use the huge trebuchets they have made where we are getting married :P

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Our location - the Medieval Centre on Nykoebing Falster

We are so fortunate to have found a truly perfect location for the party and the ceremony. It is a medieval restaurant that is a part of a reconstructed medieval town in Denmark. The place is a museum during the day where kids and adults can see knight's tournaments or fire the catapults and see how the everyday life was in the 13th century. 
The high table at the end of the room in the Golden Swann

The restaurant itself serves only food from the era and they are very attentive to the authentic details. There are no electric lights in the rooms. They are entirely lit up by candlelight. The staff is dressed in historic clothing and all guests will eat with only a spoon and a knife, because forks weren't in use just yet.
The rooms look like a small medieval inn with wooden interior and have some beautiful paintings on the walls. The restaurant is called the Golden Swann and is the home of the local knight sir Henrik Svane.
I hope to find similar places all over the world and recommend them to you. :)
In the end I just wanted to show you some pictures from their website:
The tournament field

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Future entries

This is mostly a brain storm to myself but also to you, so you can see what I will be taking on in the next couple of months. I wanted to make a list of possible themes for the entries and decided to share them with you. Hopefully you are full of ideas as well and you are most welcome to make a comment if there is something you would like me to write about.

1. Clothing: The men, the women, the children, the wedding gown, shoes, Characters (knight, hunter, peasent, king,) the groom, every day clothing, purses, fabric, headdresses, capes,
2. Jewelery: The wedding rings, the bridal jewelery, the belt, crowns,
3. Weapons: Swords, armor, shield,
4. Decorations: Flowers, tables, tableware, chanderliers, banners, other nifty tricks,  Making a totelly modern location into a medieval dream.
5. Food: A menu, wedding cake, beverages, dessert, table manners, Coloured glases,
6. Music: Instruments, what kind of band would fit well, dancing in the middle ages.
7. The Ceremony: The words, handfasting, jumping the broom,
8. Invitation and so on: Guestbook,
9. Reviews of: stores, bands, locations, entertainment.
10. Real Brides: hopefully a lot of stories from people who have tried this themselves.
11. DIY guides to all that is medieval.