Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Renaissance Weddings

In the Renaissance era, weddings were a huge affair. Much preparation were put into these weddings and they were very detailed and took much planning. There were laws related to marriage, marriage customs, music, clothing attire, food; and many more aspects to a Renaissance wedding.

During the Renaissance marriage laws began to emerge. In 1076, the Council of Westminster decreed that no man should give his daughter or any female relative to anyone with the blessing of a priest. in the future councils would also decree that marriage shouldn't be secret but rather held in the open. Also in the sixteenth century, the Council of Trent decreed that a priest was mandatory to preform the betrothal ceremony. Another law was that separation of marriage was tolerated, however there was no such thing as a legal divorce.

One of the marriage customs during the Renaissance era was that on an average the grooms were about 14 years older than their brides. It was very rare that a noble women wasn't married before they were in their mid-twenties. More than seventy five percent were married before they reached the age of 19.

Another one of the marriage customs during the Renaissance is that the weddings were often held at the bride's home or if the couples belonged to the nobility they would have their weddings in medieval castles. However during the later Middle Ages, the weddings most likely took place in a chapel.

A few of the other Renaissance marriage traditions that are still followed to this day are: throwing rice, tiered cakes, flowers, garters, and gave the reasoning behind the saying, "Something old, something blue". The tradition of throwing rice dates back to the Renaissance era; it symbolizes the luck for the couple and fertility. The idea of having a tiered cake also dates back to the Renaissance era. The guests would brings mini cakes and stack them on top of each other, and if the bride and groom could kiss over the top of them without knocking them down then they would be blessed with good luck. many women of this era wore a wreath of flowers on their heads; this also symbolized good luck and fertility. The throwing of the garter also dates back to the Renaissance era. The famous saying something old, something blue", also dated back to the Renaissance era. At that time the most popular color for a wedding dress was blue because it symbolized purity, and if a bride didn't have a blue dress then she would carry something blue. Even in today's weddings, people still follow this Renaissance era tradition.

Overall the Renaissance marriage ceremonies were dependent upon the social class of the bride and groom. Marriages were often arranged, mainly based on inheritance and property rights and not for love. Contracts were drawn up describing the rights of the bride and groom.

In the Renaissance weddings music were another aspect. Music was played throughout many different part of the wedding. The instruments of this era were broken into five major categories: winds, plucked strings, bowed strings, keyboard, and percussion. A few of the instruments in the winds category are: flutes, brass, cornet, uncapped double reeds, and capped double reeds. and few of the plucked strings were the gut-strung and metal or wire strung. A few of the keyboards of this era were the organ, clavichord, and harpsichord. The percussion of this era consisted of drums and metallophoes.

The clothing attire for weddings during the Renaissance era were usually elegant dresses that were form fitting with some bead work. They often had a very graceful and beautiful tone to them. They were sometimes long and often gold added to them. They also often had long sleeves with some type of ruffles on them.

A major past of a Renaissance wedding was the food. During the Renaissance era food was a major deal to peoples lives, so of course it was a even bigger deal for weddings during this time period. Huge feasts would be held to celebrate a wedding. This took place whether the bride and groom were peasants of came from a family of nobility. A few of the popular food of the time were: chickens, game hens, meat pies, cheeses, herbed vegetables, quail, goose, roasted boar, fish, roasted peacock, mutton, cheeses, nuts, fresh fruit, oysters, cabbage, tarts, custards, rice, and wine.

During the wedding, the guests would drink water, ale, beer, mead, milk, and wine. Fruit juices were created at this time, but the majority of it was fermented to create wine. In this era, wine was thought to nourish the body, restore health, help digestion, help clarify ideas, open the arteries and help procreation.

During weddings at this time, the table etiquette was that the squired learned and did every aspect from the carving of whatever type of meat they had to the correct placement and order of dished on the table.

During the Renaissance era, weddings were a huge affair. They often had much preparation related tohem and had many different parts to them. Overall they were magnificent events and some of the traditions still are used today. The Renaissance was an amazing era, and one way this is shown is through their weddings.

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