The Medieval Wedding: Today’s Traditions With Different Dress

In the vein of weddings during historical periods, the medieval ceremony wins the prize for the one giving rise to some of the modern day customs.  For example, the fancy and layered wedding cake of today’s receptions was brought about, in large part, to the medieval custom of guests bringing small cakes to honor the bride and groom.  Another modern day practice emerged as a result of the Church being a central component of society during the Middle Ages.  Thus, a wedding ceremony was deemed sacred and held in the confines of the Church.  In 1076, the Council of Westminster declared that a bride must be given away with the approval of the clergy.  Otherwise the marriage was not valid.  From this came the concept of the bride being given away and a pastor performing the ceremony, both of which hold true in today’s marital tradition.

Similar to the reception that follows modern day ceremonies, medieval weddings were indeed a time to raise the roof and bring party “A game”!  Many ceremonies, especially those of nobility, ended with a procession of musicians, jugglers, and other entertainers, as well as a tournament featuring the most daring knights.  And of course, what would a celebration be without a feast?  Rest assured that medieval weddings did not disappoint here!  Boasting of such delicacies as turtle dove, roast peacock, and quail, good eats were sure to be had!  Many of these medieval era customs have also morphed into modern day wedding nuptials such as a processional and aspects of the reception.

Midnight Fantasy Cloak (Blue):

Midnight Fantasy Cloak (Blue)

In addition to traditions directly pertaining to the wedding day, the Middle Ages also inspired present day rituals surrounding marriage preparation as well.  Take, for instance, the modern proposal where a man gets down on one knee to ask that nerve-wracking question.  This idea arose from tournaments where knights would kneel before their ladies, in hopes that the women would give their colors to the men.  And then there’s the engagement ring, which was born by Italians of the time, who believed the diamond to be filled with the flames of love.

As for differences between medieval and modern weddings, one of the most noticeable was the attire.  Back then, blue was the color of purity and that was the dominant hue for wedding garb, including the bride’s dress.  Blue ribbons were also tied around the couple’s wrists.  The white wedding dress did not make an appearance until the Victorian era.  The wedding veil also did not come into play until the Crusades, so brides before that time would wear flowers in their hair or period headgear.

When it came to wedding attire for men, it was grand!  Consisting of breeches, tunics, stockings, and cloaks, men also flaunted fur, belts, and etchings of gold and silver thread.  They were truly dressed up to the nines.  And in a departure from current custom of groomsmen matching the groom’s clothing, this was not the case in medieval times.

Medieval weddings were truly an event to behold, but fortunately, the grandeur and finesse of these ceremonies is still reflected to a certain degree in today’s culture.  To get your hands on the finest of medieval clothing, fit for weddings or other refined events, go to

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