Thursday, 19 July 2012

The Sword

1290 AD, a woman with a sword
from the Royal Armouries Manuscript 
For a long time I have been focusing on the medieval bride, but with every bride comes a groom, and certainly he must have had some influence on such a theme. So an entry on a primarily male accessory, the sword is in order. And although it was the exception rather than the rule, women did at times carry arms as well.

The middle ages weres a time of war, and so there was numerous weapons in the average arsenal. War is among the great motivaters for new technology. Professional armies ermerged i the Middle Ages, much like the effecient romans a 1000 years earlier.

The sword came in many variations in medieval times.
Such as the broad sword, that had 2 edges meant for cutting as oposed to stabing. It was the tool of the knights and very expensive. They can be made both for one and two hands.
The falchion sword wich was short and with a single edge. It was a cheap and low quality sword, meant for cutting and slicing.
The great sword is huge and also with two edges. It was meant to be wielded with two hands and could weigh around 4,5 kg / 10 pounds. It required a great amount of training to wield properly.
Longswords had an incredible reach and thrusting capacity and was also meant for two hands.
Falchion sword

A sword were (and is) not a cheap choice for a groom, but it does gives a man a certain something. In the Bronze Age a warship could be bought with 10 bronze swords so you can understand the value of this weapon. If you are having the wedding at a medieval festival or reenactment museum, you might be able to borrow one. And once again I will remind you that you need a permission to carry that kind of weapon.


Friday, 13 July 2012

The Landshut Wedding Festival

Every fourth year a festival Landshuter Hochzeit takes place in Bravaria, Germany reenacting the wedding in 1475 AD between George of Bavaria to Princess Hedwig (Jadwiga) of Poland. It entails days of celebration and entertainment along with loads of medieval food and beverages. The impressive wedding procession invades the streets decorated with banners and flowers for the ocasion.
I just want to bombard you with the amasing pictures from this festival. Some of them are from the official website, others by estrangelo edessa:
Bride and groom
Medieval festivals can be amasing to attend, and when it is build around a wedding I simply have to post about it :)
The bride Jadwiga was 18 years old when she traveled to her groom's home to be wed. It was a lavish party and the records tells that the guests consumed no less than 320 bullocks, 1.500 sheep, 1.300 lambs, 500 calves, and 40.000 chicken.
The city takes the festival rather seriously, the young men stop cutting their hair, and the girls are hopeing for the honor of being offered the role of princess Jadwiga.

If you want to see more pictures, go to the festival's official website and see the many photos. There's some great inspiration for dressing both men and women. The next festival will be in july 2013. If you get the change, GO THERE :-)

Monday, 9 July 2012

Medieval Favors

I am not sure how common it is to have a little gift, or favors, for your guests today, but Americans does it and some danes as well. I am not quite sure how long it can be traced back through time, but I do know that amongst the vikings your wealth was not measured by your riches but by your generosity.
With what I've read it was normal in the 16th century to offer your guest some sort of gift when they came to a wedding, especially in Italy and France (in France called: bonbonniere). It was a combination of a sign of gratitude and a way to share the couple's fortune with their guests. Mostly the gift of five Jordan almonds are mentioned. Each of the almonds would represent wellwishes: health, welth, fertility, longevivity and happiness.
These gifts of almonds were used by the upper class of the medieval times, along with other exclusive confectionary. Obviously this would make a fine favor for a medieval themed wedding.
Find a great step by step recipe to make them yourself on

Edible favors in general are a good idea for this kind of theme. You can make or buy jam, mead, mustard and honey, or maybe include a genuine medieval recipe that your guests can try out at home. It can also be things like spices, herbs or salt, that had great value in medieval times. Chocolate hadn't arrived in Europe from South America at the time, so sorry guys - no wonderful chokolate favors.
Honey was the sugar of the Middle Ages
Salt was both for seasoning and conservation
Jam made from berries tasted as good on bread then as it does now
Of course there is the nonedible favors as well, such as pouches of lavender or rose petals used in medieval times in drawers with cloth and linnen to keep it smelling wonderful. One can give the guests biwax candles, flowerseeds, replica medieval coins or a medieval poem.
If you have a wax seal - then seal the gift
Coins may make a memorable favor
A seed favor can be done easily and rahter cheap
 I hope this quick list of ideas can inspire you to find the right favors. I must admit I had never heard of the tradition until I started planning my own wedding and I probably wouldn't have spend the money on it, if it wasn't because I got this amasing offer. I've made crests for both Robert and me and so because of a sale, I had them made into pin backs for the family, so wheter they come in costume or not, they are wearing the (new) family shield of arms. - in case any of my guests are reading this - Look the other way ;-)

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

"All Green from the Forest"- Centerpieces

Forest scene
1230 AD - The Carmina Burana manuscript
Summer has come to little Denmark and I have been enjoying the sunny weather by riding my bike now and then.
I decided that I wanted to make a couple of easy examples of flower arrengements, that I would make from simply going through the forest and fields on the outskirts of the city. This means that it's something you can do yourself they day before the wedding (or enslave some family member to do it). It's a cheap and beautiful solution and probably more authentic than going to the florist.
At this time of the year the fields are sprinkled with small flowers in lavish colors and wild grass or grain can also be used. I was lucky to find this little piece of heaven - a field wrapped in flowers. It might be a good idea to check out the area you want to go plucking from a week or so before the wedding, so you know what you have to work with.
The first boquet I made I used the wild flowers from the field. There were poppys and chamomile and some yellow and purple ones I don't know the name of. I put them in a green glass vase. In medieval time glass was valuable, but if there ever was a time to impress your family and friends with how wealthy you were, a wedding is definatly it. So glass vases are alright to use, if you care about getting it historically accurate.
It took me 5-6 minuts to put together using wild grasses, the cornflowers, rushes and grain. It's colorful, natural and really brightens up a room.
The next arrangement was more forest inspired, using ferns, oak leaves, a few of the purple cornflowers and a pinecone. Finally I had gathered thisles last year and dried them and they look great - like litte brown spiky maces.
A lot of the plant that grow in the woods and are considered to be weeds, can actually be rather beautiful when put into a bouquet. This one I saw on a danish blog - - and she called it a tribute to her garden weed. I think it look great with grass, goutweed, buttercups and what I pressume are chive flowers.
 What I am saying with this post is, that it doesn't have to be overly complicated or expensive to make a sweet flower or leave arrangement and that is how we are doing it at our wedding. The forest is filled with beautiful greenery that will fit a medieval wedding just perfect.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Beau Coop's Medieval Shoes

Sometime even the fashion designers get inspired by medieval times. As the devoted medievalista I am I have browsed the great internet for modern medieval clothes and decor, and came across the Spring/Summer 2011/12 collection by Carrie Cooper, inpired by a dark tale of a medieval mass murderess. There are both men and women's shoes and I liked them so much I wanted to share :)Women's shoes
Flats and heels
Men's shoes

I know this is just a lot of shoes but I got carried away :) Aren't they rockin' medieval cool?! Go to this link to see if Carrie Coopers shoes are being sold in a shop near you.