Tuesday, 26 June 2012

June's Groom Gear: The Knight

I promised to make a serie about the groom's outfit, and now that a year has passed with bridal gowns, I thought it was about time to get started. (Don't worry girls, I'll still post those gourges dresses when I come across them).
The knight is the obvious place to start, because I think the reason many men choose the medieval theme or agree to it, is that they are drawn by the strength and valor the the medieval man represent. The knight is the ultimate medieval warrior and real ladies man (plus you get to carry a sword!).
The title of knight could be bestowed anyone by the ruling king or queen, but by late medieval times the title was considered preserved for the nobility and those born into wealth. The thriving litterature ascribed the Knight a symbolism that idealised the title bearers. They became the perfect gentlemen, christians and guardians of justice. Today women sometimes say that they love when a man acts chivalrious, which is an ideal cultivated in the Middle Ages.
Now for an eksample of an outfit: I love this combination put together by Etsy and Ebay-seller Morgana's Collection. It's not as over the top as it could be but the elements: chainmail, helmet, tabard, sword, leather belt and shoes and gauntlets make an accurate and cool impression.

The tabard is like an overcoat that you wear over the chain mail to show off your colors. The colors could depend on the country you fought for, (like England was red during the crusades and the french was blue), they can represent a particular order of knights like the Templar Knights (white tabard with a red cross) or the order of knights of st john (black with white cross). Yet another background for the choice of colors could be the family crest, which often had a particular set of colors or animals that was embroided on the tabards and capes.

A tabard is fairly easy to make - a big rectangular piece of fabric with a hole for the head - or fairly cheap to buy. What I like about Morgana's Collection, is that they can make you a tabard with any color or pattern you can think of.
The chain mail can be a lot harder to aquire and more expensive. Try contacting the local reenactment club or a medieval fair, to hear if you can lend their chain mail for a payment. You can also buy one yourself if you want to. You must remember that it's heavy and can weigh around 15 kilos. It might not be something you want to run around with all day and night on your weddingday. My fiancee will be wearing a chainmail during the ceremony and when we go to have our photos taken. At dinner he will wear only a shirt and the tabard.

Gauntlets, shield and helmet are not necessary, but like with women and their jewelry - the more details - the better. A belt and leather shoes are however essential to achive the look and sword will definatly be the frosting on the cake. :)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Ana & Brian's period wedding

When I saw these photos, my eyes almost popped out of my head. The attention to detail in this wedding is unbelievable and their love for history shines through in every photo. The day was skillfully documented by John C. Haverstick Photography.
The bride wore a red medieval gown with cape, reminding me of the picture of the Bride from the wedding at Cana, by Gerard David (1500 AD). The fresh floral wreth is fitting for any periode bride and her long hair is like an extra jewel on her head.

The groom half resembles a viking from the halls of Valhalla and half a knight with his Gambeson war tunic and medieval sword. Some of the most succesfull themes require both men and women to spend time considering small things like belts and jewelry. The fur coat and headband really adds a final touch to the warrior tuxedo.

They celebrated with an outdoor ceremony, where a DARTH WADER(!) :-D spread rose petals before the bride and a hornblower announced the arrival of the groom. I love that they were so unafraid to incorporate thing that are meaningful to them and fun. You get the feeling that they wanted a relaxed extraordinary wedding
The dinner was served under the open sky and acompanied by blasts of fire, cake and swordsmen.
If the ceremony was scheduled earlier on my wedding day I think we would have enjoyed a couple of hours of medieval fun, games and dueling. Ana and Brian sure seem to have had some fun with their friends and dear ones.
Here's a video slide show with all the amasing pictures
At the end of the day the couple could begin their journy into married life and I want to wish them a magical mythic life together.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A Medieval Poet

A week or 2 ago my attention was drawn to this wonderful lady, Anna, and her humorous medieval wedding poetry. She began writing her poems as a gift for friends at their wedding and it evolved from there. For now she only asks for a donation in return for a personal poem for your wedding and I wanted to share with you an eksample of her personal poetry:
Recently written for a medieval wedding held in France
The Mysterious Minstrel of Nice
Our tale begins with a sweet crème brulee,
served at the Duke of Nice’s birthday.
For the Duke did adore feasts and great celebrations,
he oft hosted gatherings of friends and relations.
Betrothed to the Duke, Lady Bridle of Nice,
tapped her spoon on the table for talking to cease.
She announced, “Let the troubadours take to the floor!”
The party of guests gave a thunderous roar.
Lady Bridle of Nice rolled her eyes in despair,
for she’d spent many hours seated on this same chair.
First to the floor came a sprightly young chap,
dressed in bright purple with feather in cap.
Lady Bridle tried not to appear very bored,
‘twas a welcome surprise when he swallowed a sword.
Then on came a fellow who played on a lute,
and impressed with some tumbles, then juggled with fruit.
Next, came a minstrel, fair-haired, dark of eye,
who spoke not a word, he was handsome but shy.
He held a strange drum upon which he beat,
Soon, the Great Hall resounded with tapping of feet.
The rhythm did alter, the beat gathered pace,
Lady Bridle appeared very pink in the face,
For the young dark-eyed minstrel beside her did stand,
she offered her freshly French-manicured hand.
“Would you do me the honour, my good Lady Bridle?”
Our heroine blushed, but towards him did sidle.
As they walked to the floor, he moved closer to hold her,
it seemed his dark eyes with desire did smoulder.
Our heroine whispered, “From whence do you come?”
I have never seen such an unusual drum!”
“My lady, though French, I’m of strong Scottish stock,
this drum I play comes from the land of the loch.
One day I will wed in my family kilt,
return to the croft which my grandfather built.
My children will run free and breathe country air,
but first I must find me a wife, rich and fair.
The world of the Great Hall seemed suddenly hollow,
Lady Bridle knew then ‘twas her heart she must follow.
Of castle and court she had had quite enough,
No more of the smooth, it was time for the rough!
“Sir take me to Scotland, and I’ll be your wife,
For I crave mountain air and a simpler life,
I will dress as a servant, escape in the night,
we’ll elope on my horse then by boat we’ll take flight.”
Our young handsome minstrel could hardly refuse,
he had plenty to gain and nothing to lose!
Together they rode, braving seas in wild weather,
‘til they came to the land of mountain and heather.
They lived by a loch, eating freshly caught fish,
and despite thinking haggis an unusual dish;
Lady Bridle missed little of France, but the wine,
though as a replacement, the whisky was fine.
And so ends our tale of a Scottish romance,
but though it may seem we’ve departed from France,
On days when the mountains seem misty and grey,
our lovers enjoy eating sweet crème brulee.

Visit her website if you are interested in a fun gift for the couple, a fun toast for your special one or maybe some alternative invitations: www.medievalpoet.co.uk

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


I regret that I have been absent from the blog for most of this last month. My finals at the university is taking up most of my time, and I am looking forward to the holiday when I can go wedding-nuts. :) My own wedding is now in less than 4 months and I still haven't got my dress...
Anyway I wanted to at least write one entry in May and the olde symbol of this month of growth, is the maypole. Of course I failed to get it done in time, but I'll post it anyway (even though we are in June now, hush hush ;-) )
The maypole is an ancient way of celebrating the spring, often associated with festivals of fertility. Young unmarried boys and girls would dance in a circle around the pole.

Midsummer is another time where poles where included in celebrations, probably it represents fertility with it's phallic shape which goes well with a wedding that is sometimes followed by a baby or two ;-). It has also been argued that it can represent the tree of life, Ygdrasil from the Norse mythology. Dancing around the tree of life doesn't make it any less fit for a wedding I think.

It probably derives from ancient times, when the germans and scandinavians weren't yet christians. I really like this idea because it's festive, fun and slightly heathen.

The poles with bright ribbons can be used both for a reception activity and decorations like in the first picture. The strings can either be attached to a wheel that can turn so the dance can go on and on, or just be bound to the top, so the dancing will result in the pole quickly being wraped in a colorful braid.
This picture I found on Flikr, from a medieval wedding, where the guests participated in the dance around the pole, intwining the colorful bands.
Have fun dancin at you wedding whether around a pole or not :)