Renaissance Wedding Ceremonies

renaissance wedding

With the popularity of Renaissance festivals and culture, many couples choose to celebrate their union with a Renaissance wedding ceremony. As you begin planning your wedding, there are several traditions and customs from the Renaissance period that can be incorporated into the ceremony.

Renaissance Wedding Ceremony Traditions

Renaissance weddings may be very similar in some aspects to Celtic weddings.

  • Handfasting- One of the most common rituals is handfasting. Handfasting is a joining of hands between the bride and groom. Actually, their hands may be literally tied together with a piece of material or cord. In some ceremonies, handfasting is symbolized by cutting a lock of each other's hair and placing the locks in a box, or by the bride and groom drinking out of the same cup. However this ritual is performed, the meaning is essentially the same. The couple's lives are joined together for eternity.
  • Throwing Rice- You may be surprised to discover that one of the most common wedding traditions, the tradition of throwing rice, dates back to Renaissance times. This is an essential part of the wedding, and symbolizes fertility and luck for the couple.
  • Tiered Cakes- The tiered or layered wedding cake also dates back to Renaissance times. The guests would bring small cakes to stack on top of each other. If the couple could kiss over the top of the stack without knocking them down, they would have good luck.
  • Flowers-Many women choose to wear a woven wreath of flowers on their heads. This wreath may have wildflowers or even herbs, which symbolize luck and fertility.
  • Garter- The throwing of the garter dates back to the Renaissance era. It was said that if a male guest at the wedding gave the bride's garter to his love, he would receive faithfulness.
  • Wedding Dress- One of the most popular colors of the Renaissance was blue. It was considered a symbol of purity, and if a bride didn't wear a blue dress, she still carried something that was blue, thus the saying, "Something old, something blue".

Music and Celebrating

For couples who want their wedding steeped in Renaissance tradition, music and celebrating will play a big role in the success of the wedding. If possible, search out musical minstrels to play at your wedding and capture the very essence of the Renaissance period. Minstrels can lead the processional, play during the ceremony, and lead the recessional, too. Some couples like to incorporate their coat of arms by having members of the wedding party carry a coat of arms banner with either both families' design or a combination of the two.

Choosing a Wedding Site

As you plan your Renaissance wedding ceremony, you'll need to choose the wedding site. Most Renaissance weddings were held outside, so if possible, you might want to do the same. If a Renaissance Faire is held nearby, you might want to consider holding your wedding there. Parks with fountains, garden, etc. also make lovely areas for weddings.

Costume and Attire Choices

If you want a true Renaissance wedding ceremony, you'll need to let your guests know quite a bit in advance, so that they can search for the perfect Renaissance clothing. Check out the following Websites for Renaissance clothing selections and ideas.

Selecting the Menu

The Renaissance era was a time of feasting and celebration. Popular foods include the following:

  • chickens
  • game hens
  • meat pies
  • cheeses
  • fruits
  • herbed vegetables
  • rice

The wedding cake might be designed in the shape of an animal or castle, and coins or silver charms might be baked in the cake for luck.

Remember, as you continue to plan your wedding, keep checking all the articles at LoveToKnowWeddings!

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Renaissance Wedding Ceremonies