How to Plan a Renaissance-Themed Wedding

A bride wearing a Renaissance-inspired gown and flower crown.

So many movies portray the pomp and ceremony of weddings surrounding the Middle Ages among the nobility in Europe. It’s no wonder that girls occasionally dream of being a princess after seeing how beautiful those brides look! If you love all things Renaissance, why not design your wedding after that moment in time? Here are some tips for creating a fun and memorable Renaissance-themed wedding.

Visit a Renaissance Faire for Inspiration

Consider attending a Renaisance Faire (if you aren’t already an avid participant). Most states have at least a small event. These are festivals where people dress up in period costumes, eat period food and drink, and celebrate history with performances and hobbies in line with “olden times.” Not only are these faires fun to attend, but you’ll also get a million ideas for use at your wedding. You can probably find a costumer there who would happily counsel you on excellent wedding outfits to look like they are from the 1500s, and the food vendors can either inspire your DIY plans or give you their business cards. Some faire grounds can even be rented out for weddings!

Determine Your Level of Commitment to the Renaissance Theme

Give some serious thought to how many Renaissance touches you really want at your wedding. Some Renaissance-themed weddings remain fairly traditional and simply have a bride and groom in period costume, with some decoration or old-fashioned music. Others ask their guests to also participate in the costuming and take a much more thorough approach, including no cell phones or other things present to remind you of the modern era. (Make sure that your friends and family would be enthusiastically on board with the latter before moving forward.)

Source Thematic Decor from Thrift and Antique Stores

Start spending an hour or so per week in thrift stores as soon as you can since much of the decor for your Renaissance wedding can be cheaply acquired by keeping an eye out for thrifted goblets, antique books, and other inexpensive treasures that can help make your guests feel like they’ve traveled back in time. Also consider borrowing from friends and family who have collections of beautiful antiques, like globes or tapestries. If you borrow anything priceless or extremely expensive, just make sure that someone is specially tasked with an item’s care and returning it safely to its owner after the festivities.

Ideas for Your Renaissance Wedding

While your own wedding gown might be only slightly different from a typical wedding dress, with Renaissance touches such as bell sleeves or an empire waist, you can really go all-out and get your husband-to-be in a doublet and tights!

Research the rituals and speeches used in Renaissance weddings; they are quite different from our current ones. Craft a wedding ceremony that combines what you care about as a couple with those past ceremonies.

Mead, turkey legs, and old-fashioned cakes are all wonderful ways to commemorate the Renaissance era in your catering choices. Again, Renaissance faires can be a great guide to the menu for you and your guests.

A banquet at a Renaissance wedding.

Learn some old-fashioned dancing that would have been done at a Renaissance wedding. To get others involved, arrange for someone to give a short lesson on two or three simple steps between your meal and the real dancing. It will help anyone who feels odd dancing to something other than Top 40 hits, and everyone will leave feeling like they learned something!

Take advantage of the options for hanging brightly colored cloth banners, as seen in the jousting and festival scenes of Renaissance movies. Cloth is beautiful, bright, and easy to transport, making it a nice substitute for tons of flowers if you’re trying to stay within a tight budget.

Red and yellow flags or banners at a Renaissance-inspired wedding.

Flowers were just as popular, if not more so, during the Renaissance. Wearing a flower crown, carrying a bouquet, and decorating with as many blooms as you can will create a wonderful spirit and add a natural theme to your wedding, as well.

Etsy is a wonderful source if you want personally designed items for a Renaissance wedding, from old-fashioned calligraphy to beautifully vintage rings.

While an outdoor wedding would be lovely, Renaissance weddings can also be held very beautifully as indoor winter weddings. Think long, velvet cloaks and warm mugs of hot beverages with a roaring fire in an enormous barn or hall. It’ll be cozy and memorable!

A couple at a winter wedding wearing Renaissance-themed clothing.

Materials to work with, like burlap for table runners, can be borrowed from rustic weddings if you are having a hint of medieval without the need for constant reference to royalty.

For a fancy touch, wedding favors can be gold chocolate coins in small velvet pouches.

While you can clearly choose your wedding colors, remember that dark reds, blues, and purples were hard to come by in the past and might make for an opulent, royal feeling at your wedding.

Whatever you choose throughout the wedding planning process, make sure you get plenty of beautiful pictures of your memorable Renaissance-themed wedding—even though cameras didn’t exist yet!

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