Monday, 30 January 2012

Riding a Mythical Creature Invitations

I recently was made aware of Etsy artist deliciousness' amasing custom illustrated portraits, perfect for invitations or Save-the-date cards. You and your groom can choose your favorite mythical creature, send a picture of yourselves and recieve this bright, cartoony and sweet portrait of you riding the beast :-) For a medieval wedding a dragon/unicorn or the likes would do perfectly. Especially if you are having a more modern version of the theme wedding. One where you would like medieval to play a minor role in the details.
A Danish bride and groom ordered this picture from the shop, a sealion/dragon creature:
They are making postcards from it and used them as invitations for their garden wedding party. I must say a I am slightly in love with that picture. :-)

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Wedding Cake - Medieval Fruit Tarts

Jose Villa via Stylemepretty
Cake in medieval times is not what you would expect at a wedding today. Often the cakes are small and cookie-like loaves made from wheat/oat, water and eggs, seasoned with spices like cloves, mace and sweetened with honey. Often little chunks of dried fruit, such as dates and raisins could be mixed in. Almonds were also used, either as crushed nuts or in the form of marzipan.

For a wedding you might want to choose one of the recipes for medieval fruit tartes instead. There are plenty of examples in the medieval cook books of strawberry, plum, cherry, pear, apple. (Sabrina Welserin cook book, 1553: on I have also heard of blueberry, and apricot tarts.
Strawberry pie by inn at the crossroad
For some guiddance you might want to check out, where they test medieval recipes and make some small modern improvements. They have some lovely examples like: strawberry, cherry, apricot and blueberry. The fresh fruit pie is a great alternative to a modern wedding cake and it tasts so good.
Piebaker: Konzil von Konstanz, 1465-1475

Monday, 23 January 2012

Drinking at the weddings

The food is a big part of the medieval experience, but another detail is the drinks. As usually my posts are written with a Danish/ North European perspective.

For our wedding the guests will drink the medieval drink: Luthendrank when they arrive. It's a decoction of cinnamon and herbs, a recipe actually written down in medieval times and preserved - *source (danish). It can be served both hot and cold and made on either red og white wine. There's a recipe on the source website,, and if you want it just write me and I'll translate for you. :-)

Ale was a very common beverage and probably drunk with most meals. Often it was brewed on barley. The difference between ale and beer, is that beer contains hops. If you want to read more the book Ale, Beer, and Brewsters in England by Judith Bennett.
The aristocracy drank ale but also imported wine from the Rhine area in Germany and from the south like Italy. Both read and white wine was known.
Juice/lemonade made from either berries from the forrest or elderflowers: instead of Coca-cola and the likes for the kids. Alcoholic versions like apple cider is also known.
I myself have a soft spot for mead. I even have a little cow horn to drink it from

As water could be contaminated, people would rather drink thin ale instead but you can easily serve your guests some water as well. :-)

In an earlier post I wrote about the amount of wine bought for a royal wedding: 25.000 gallons. But back then the weddings could last for days and have a massive guestlist.

I hope that this will give you some idea of what to buy for your own medieval wedding.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Medieval Seating Chart / Map

I made a seating chart so that the guests wont have to search all the tables to find their name card. As each of the 6 tables will be represented by an animal I drew 6 scrollshaped papers with the animals above. As if the guests have to find their way to a fortress, forest or mountain I sketched a map behind the scrolls with land and sea, mermaids and rivers:

Even though I have borrowed several elements from medieval maps I should probably tell you that the map I made only faintly resembles some of the known medieval maps. In medieval time the maps were far from acurate and some where even only conceptual. Most of the maps I was able to find actually dates to the earliest years of the renaissance (from a South European point of view).

There were a difference between the maps supposed to be used for navigation and maps simply made for the artistic purpurses. Others were plastered with religious symbols, like angels.
The so called wheel or T maps weren't accurate. They portraid the world as divided in 3, Asia, Africa and Europe. Jerusalem was at the center of the world and as you can see Asia and Arabia are drawn like they are the northern part of the world. If you twist your head to the left you get a "normal" idea of the world.
Nordic map from around 1300.
Maps are known all the way back to the roman empire and as the medieval and renaissance explorers traveled the world the maps became more detailed.
Here you can see the Danish peninsula Jutland and how it develops in the maps:
Ptolemaius 200 AD

Nicolaus Donis 1482 AD

Olaus Magnus 1539 AD

The arrival of book printing technic in the 1400's in Europe was of great importance to the the map production. First they used wood to make and duplicate maps and later they were etched in cobber. The details of the late medieval maps are amasing, and it's those maps who inspired my seating chart:

Seamonster detail from map by Jacob Ziegler, 1532
1300's Matthew Paris

1492, same year as Columbus discovered America. It's part of a world map by Martin Behaim. I love this one, with the heraldic flags and little details like the ship to the left.
Most of the maps were very colorful, so it's a little sad that I couldn't find more of those, but you will have to go hunting yourself if you want the inspiration. The last map also gave me some good ideas, I like the mountains and the little cities.
1491, Nicolaus Cusanus - Northern Germany and Denmark
I have a little fettish with medieval maps and you can use these to inspire DIY projects, like invitaitons, road directions and seating charts. Enjoy :-)

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sue and Stanley's Medieval Wedding

This happy couple was wed a sunny day in an English garden with medieval merriment and joyious celebration. I really wanted to feature them because of the warmth their photos radiated. The photographer who captured these moments is Steven Noake Photography.
The bride and groom dancing in the sun, don't they look happy ? :-) The ceremony was held in a circle amongst their loved ones in the midst of nature, and jugglers entertained the guests.

Two tents were pitched at the edge of the forest and the the party and ceremony site decorated with colored pennants, flowers and straw bales.

A bagpiper provided the music, and instead of a guestbook small notes with drawings and well-wishes was hung in a tree. I also really love their glasses.
Then there's the bride's dress in a wonderful royal blue color. She wears simple jewelry of pearls and two small clusters of flowers as a part of the hairdo. I think I want a bouquet like that when I get married. A bit of wilderness fits the theme perfectly.
The feast was also held outside in yet another tent, nicely decorated with purple fabrics and pilars entwined with greenery.
As you can see all the guests also made a gesture by dressing for the theme, and I should really have liked to be at Sue and Stanley's wedding!

Congratulations - from the Medieval Bride

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Dress of the Month - January

To start of the year, I thought I would show you a dress from the beginning of Medieval Times. This bright and sweet dress from ArmStreet is a style used in the Viking Age and the start of the Middles Ages.
Besides the dress I kind of like the hair too :) The bonds that decorate the hem is beautiful and I'll say that a bride would glow in that warm yellow, although it does come in other colors too.

Happy new year - the Medieval Bride

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Warrior Brides

Medieval history have but a few women known for their role in war. Otherwise a good woman should be virtuous, obidient, a good mother and wife. But sometimes women aren't princesses to be rescued and sometimes we'd like to go and kick some ass Jeanne-d'Arc-style.
From the movie Jeanne d'arc, with Milla Jovovich
Let's face it, women in armor are sexy and sometimes a bride would like to really stand out, and as you can see modern fashion has a facination of it's own with warrior women:
Your Majesty - From Flare magazine
Abbey Lee Kershaw appears in Numero 126 editorial, lensed by Sebastian Kim, styling by Charles Varenne. Fashions from Prada, Alexis Bittar,  Alexander McQueen and others.

It might take more than just an untraditional bride to choose such a look for her wedding day, but you have to admit, it looks cool. :-)