From the 14th through the 16th century, an intellectual and social rebirth occurred in Europe. Economic growth and scientific exploration fueled a historic movement from the end of the Middle Ages into the Modern Age. This time is called The Renaissance.
Beginning in Italy in 1450, and fueled by the coffers of royalty, the Renaissance movement expanded towards Northern Europe. During this time in the world's history, music and art took on a heightened cultural significance. Some of the most famous artists from this period include:
Before deciding on a Renaissance themed wedding, research these artists to get a feel for the period. Their works are sure to inspire you. Take notes regarding the colors that were used and the clothing worn by the people in the paintings. Carefully observe details that you may be able to incorporate into your wedding celebration.
To adequately capture the Renaissance, you will want to consider period costumes for outfitting your bridal party. This is a significant challenge, but it is the very thing that will capture everyone's imagination and draw them into the theme.
Give yourself plenty of time to locate appropriate wedding attire. An Internet search will yield several costume shops that provide Renaissance wear for sale, however check your local rental resources, schools and theater companies too. Costumes and props from these sources may be available to you and work perfectly for your wedding.
For brides who do not want to be dressed in a costume, bridal shops provide Renaissance styled wedding gowns. Check online, in bridal magazines and with your local bridal shops to locate a gown that suits you. If you want to have your gown made, era-styled patterns are available at fabric stores.
To announce your Renaissance themed nuptials, consider creating your own invitations using clipart and scrapbooking tools. By using specialty papers and embellishments in combination with appropriate clipart and templates, you can create professional quality invitations that echo the Renaissance theme. Image ideas include: a harp, a faerie, a trumpeter, a knight and damsel.
Ceremony and Reception
Always consider your venues. If you are going to be outdoors in a flower garden, very little decoration may be required. If your event will occur inside, consult the many paintings by the masters for inspiration.
One certain way to set the mood is to hire musicians to play classical or folk music using period musical instruments, such as the lute, the harp, the recorder, and the dulcimer. If musicians are too expensive, consider Baroque CD's for background music. You can play them before your wedding ceremony and during the reception.
Food for your reception should be kept basic, staying away from modern specialty snacks. You can feed everyone with a range of meats, cheeses, hearty breads and seasonal fruits, and spirits flowing freely. For an especially authentic feel, consider serving your food on pewter or wooden plates and forgoing the silverware. If you choose to do this, make sure that there are plenty of heavy napkins and hand washing facilities available for your guests, and mention this in your invitations.
Centerpieces can be kept simple too. Baskets with cloth napkins, fruit and flowers, surrounded by candles and on plain tablecloths would be perfect. Use simple, rough textured papers if making place cards or menus. If you are planning a spring wedding, a May pole with ribbons might be the perfect addition to your theme.
The possibilities are endless, but if you need to keep it simple, your period dress may be all that is necessary to make your Renaissance theme wedding a reality.