Friday, 20 January 2012

How much?!

A question that comes up a lot, often in hushed tones, is “How much is all that costing you?” I can never get over people actually asking it, if I was having a more modern wedding no one would ask so surely it’s pretty rude? It’s tempting to shoot back an equally rude response but I thought I’d answer it here, mostly for anyone who is reading this and interested in having a Medieval wedding then hopefully I’ll put your mind at rest that this doesn’t have to be an expensive wedding.
Firstly, I’m not going to tell you what my budget is, it is private and none of anyone else’s business.
However, it’s surprising how cheap it actually is to get married like this. When I first started looking and set out to plan it all on my own it was getting to silly figures and I had no idea how we could manage to do it. One day I was looking up different medieval venues and seeing how they do their meals and I went to the Warwick Castle website, knowing that they do medieval banquets. I spotted that they do weddings and “for a laugh” decided to see what they charge. I was pleasantly surprised so booked us in for a visit. Once we’d booked the castle everything else started to fall into place. Booking the hospital was a similar experience, pleasantly surprised at what it was costing.
When we were in planning meetings with our coordinator at the castle she asked if we wanted linen, we declined because the furniture they’ve got is gorgeous and linen would take away from the affect we wanted. We’re not having lots of flowers because it would take away from the effect. We’re just having their candles on the tables because anything else is adding to it which we don’t need. The venues are perfect for what we need so we don’t need to add to it and risk going over the top.
With some lovely packages, in amazing venues and a minimalist scheme, it’s costing a lot less than if we were to have an equivalent modern wedding in a hotel. We are aware of our budget, what we can save and not ending up in debt after the wedding, so please don’t worry about us, if you’re a guest just appreciate the amazing day we have planned for you, if you’re not, look out for our photos coming sometime July.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

What is a Medieval Wedding?

I've said on this blog and often said elsewhere that the words "theme" and "fancy dress" are banned and I know often people don't get me, so I thought I'd try and explain.

As far as I can see there are three types of "medieval weddings".
A fancy dress wedding

Clothes have come from the costume hire shop, so they're polyester, not fitted because it's only hire. It will have the same sorts of things as the theme wedding too.

A medieval theme wedding

This would be where the bride is wearing a dress inspired by medieval style, it's probably white, it may be in a castle or old building but not essential, the main thing is the themeing of the wedding - the stationery has pictures of castles/princesses/fairy tale, table decorations, table names etc - is medieval. It would be a wedding where you'd say that they loved history/ the period.

What we call a medieval experience wedding (happy to accept suggestions for a better name)

The clothes are authentically made in nice fabrics, you feel like you've just walked out of a historical movie or TV show to be wearing these. The men are wearing leather and metal. The venues are carefully chosen for the feel, the stationery doesn't have pretty pictures of castles it looks like it's from the period, every part of the wedding is chosen for maximum authenticity, you could have stepped back in time (apart from being cleaned up of course!)

There have been a few places where we've had a debate about something, how do we incorporate it. The rule we have is as authentic as reality will allow. To be authentic we wouldn't have a bath anytime until the wedding, in reality it wouldn't go down very well if we didn't! To be authentic Mark and the other men should have a certain coloured background to their crest, in reality it won't work with the wedding colours and as we don't have to worry about their armies knowing who to follow, reality wins!

What is most important to us is that we keep our guests immersed in the wedding as much as possible, we don't want to leave people walking down the road thinking "I'm walking down Warwick high street dressed in 15th century clothing!" and start to worry about how they look, keeping the experience going the whole day will hopefully help everyone to enjoy it more and relax into it.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Food and drink!

An important part of a medieval wedding or any celebration is the food! Whilst food is one of the areas we have compromised on we've tried to keep the idea of free flowing food.

A medieval custom is that when a man from another village marries a woman he should buy all the men from her village a round of drinks to "compensate" them from losing a potential wife. Mark and I aren't quite from different villages, although we're marrying in one but we thought this was an easy one to fit in.

At the hotel there will be a light lunch with tea and coffee.

Following the service at The Lord Leycester Hospital we are having a drinks reception whilst photos are taken there.

We then move on to Warwick Castle where there will be another drinks reception and canapes.

After the drinks reception we move into the Undercroft for our four course banquet - starter, main, desert, cake - and drinks (beer, wine and soft drinks - sodas and squash for the children) will be free and unlimited. To add to the feasting there will be fruit, sweets, fudge and hot drinks following the meal.

When we return to the hotel there will be more refreshments, this is the first time that guests will need to use money as the bar will be open until 1am.

If you wish to take advantage of all the free drink, we've booked the hotel B&B for exclusive use. Warwick Castle will welcome back our guests so if you wish to stay over, you could always make a weekend of it and have a proper visit to the castle on the Sunday.


I didn't want favours to be an area where we did something that was too modern but I didn't want to do something that wouldn't be recognised for it's meaning and age - like sugar cubes or almonds.

Not long after we started planning the wedding someone told me to watch Heston's Feasts as he was doing an episode on Medieval food. One of the themes that came out was "gastronomic trickery" and he used chocolate to replace other things - cutlery, plates, cups etc. As I'm not a molecular gastronomist I couldn't really replace everything on the table with chocolate versions, but an easy version of this is chocolate coins. I'll take them out of the nets they come in and split them between the favour bags.

My grandad used to work for Cadbury's as a draftsman (which is pretty much what Mark is the modern version of) so using Cadbury chocolate for favours would be a lovely little nod to his memory as he died shortly after we started our planning. I asked my other grandad to speak to his brother as he owns a shop and he got me all the coins I need and some spare.

Doing some reading into wedding customs I found that it's supposed to be good luck to get a piece of the wedding dress and that in medieval times a bride could be almost naked by the time she reached her bedroom from guests tearing up her dress for a piece! As time went on this was dealt with by hanging ribbons to her dress for them to pull off and by the groom throwing the garter, in the ensuing chaos of the guests trying to be the one to get hold of the garter, the couple would escape.

So I thought it would be nice to make the favour bags myself and I started looking at some trying to decide how to make them and sizes. Eventually I decided that better than using just a square favour bag, would be to make a pocket - a little dolly bag to keep money in (as a child I could never understand how Lucy Locket lost her pocket but of course it was talking about this, not a modern pocket that is part of a garment) - and I thought this would be a good way to combine the tradition of taking home a piece of the dress with favours. I am going to ask the dress designer very nicely if I can have a couple of meters of my dress fabric which I'll make into pockets (if anyone would be kind enough to help me out with sewing a few, I'd be very grateful to you).

These are my two ideas for patterns so far:

This one is two piece, with a round base. The top would have a channel for a drawstring. I'm starting to think that it needs to be wider than the circle to allow it to sag otherwise it will be a tube...
This one is three piece. The semi circles are there to give a channel for the drawstring.

I think I'm leaning towards the first one but really I need to have a practice make up to see what works. Sewing with circles is always a pain, so I think either is going to be fun! If you can sew and have any suggestions, I'm happy to hear them!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Come and talk to me!

As I'm starting out I thought I'd make a post to give me some inspiration as well as a bit of fun.

Come and ask me questions. Anything (within reason!) posted in the comments I'll repost up here and answer.


We've met some lovely people over the three years we've been planning this wedding, one thing that we've used to decide who to book has been the enthusiasm they've shown for our wedding, the way it's inspired people.

Our photographer is Aliye Mullen. Aliye has done a lot of work for us before and we wouldn't want to book anyone else, she's brilliant! There are some of our photos on her website.

Our videographers are Midway Media. We found them from a recommendation on the Confetti Forums, when I emailed them with the details of the wedding Tracey emailed me back and I knew they were the right people, she was so enthusiastic about it, she told me she loved the era and had wanted to have a Kingmaker hen party herself. Mark wasn't totally convinced about having a video so I booked Midway to come and see us. As they left the house Mark said "If I had the cash, I'd have booked them now" he was as sold on their work as he was their enthusiasm for our wedding, especially that they'd asked to see The Costume Company website as they want to dress up so they don't get in Aliye's way!

Another supplier who have impressed us with how much they got into our wedding was our florist, From Me to You Flowers, we met them at a wedding show and when we told them the sort of wedding we were having they immediately started getting into the ideas, they completely got my idea of "gathered on the way to the wedding" and talked about the flowers that you could collect in a hedgerow and traditional English flowers. I haven't had a florist before click so easily with the idea so I knew I had found the right one.

Our other suppliers have posts of their own, I might do posts for some of the others too.


We're staying over in Warwick so we're not going to need transport, besides even the most vintage of cars is too modern for our wedding. On the other hand, though, it's all a bit far for me to walk without crutches and my vanity is getting in the way of not using them.

It's a short walk from the hotel to the hospital and I'll be walking it with Dad so I'll be leaning on his arm, that bit is easy. The walk from the hospital to the castle is a little longer so we decided to get a horse to take me between the venues!

We found Listening Horsemanship from The Costume Company's website and we love their website, they do some brilliant work with horses that they rescue and give them a quality of life. Seeing the work they've done I'm happy having them there knowing that they wouldn't be using a horse that wasn't able to do the job and that we're contributing to their work.

The horses will be dressed in medieval dress which is also made by The Costume Company, so we know they will be able to coordinate with what we're wearing, and they'll add flowers to coordinate with my flowers.

I'm sure you can imagine, our daughters are loving the unicorns! We're taking them to see the horses in a few weeks and they're very excited!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Our venues

We've chosen some amazing venues.

Our legal wedding is being held at our home church - Kings Christian Centre - on the Friday. This is because at the moment English law doesn't allow us to have a legal Christian wedding outside the church and it was important to us that God was the centre of our day. By having the legal service the day before we can have a Christian wedding on the day without having to worry about the legalities.

Anyone a Whovian?

The wedding venue is The Lord Leycester Hospital which will be a none legal wedding. Following the service we have a drinks reception whilst we have photos taken at the hospital.
We will leave The Lord Leycester Hospital with me on horseback (again I'll post about this later) and hopefully minstrels leading us. There are dancing ribbons and flags for people to use as we walk up together.

The reception is held at the rather impressive Warwick Castle, home of Richard Neville, Kingmaker. We have another drinks reception here and then we make our way through the Kingmaker Exhibition to the Undercroft where we shall be entertained by minstrels and a jester through our 4 course banquet.

Anyone willing to help me with some bits?

Anyone local want to help out with the wedding? I have three requests that need some kind help, the first two I can't do on my own, the third one would be nice to get some help.

Easy one first - if you had a tin of chocolates for Christmas (Roses, Quality Street) and still have the tin, would you be willing to donate it?

Second, for our legal wedding I want to make a brooch bouquet, do you have a pretty brooch or a fancy button you're willing to part with (nothing too sentemental) that I can make into my bouquet?

Third, I'm making my own favour bags. If you're local and handy with a sewing machine, would you mind helping me run some up?


One of the subjects that has got everyone talking with our wedding is clothes!

We're using The Costume Company to make our clothes and they're also going to dress our guests and horse (more about that one in another post).

It's very important to stress that we're not having fancy dress costumes, this is not the £20 cheap polyester that you'll wear once before it rips. These are clothes made as authentically as possible by a costumier, they're more what you would expect to see in films or on the TV.

Everyone asks whether Mark will be a knight in shining armour but Mark has opted not to have plate as even the half plate in aluminium is very hot and very heavy. This is the photo that has inspired Mark BUT that's as far as I'm going to let you in on the men's outfits.

All I will say about mine is that white makes me look like the ghost of a Medieval bride ghost walking around a castle is not a look I'm planning for my wedding day!

The other question we get a lot is men in tights. You'll be glad to know there are no man-tights, men are given black trousers but any outfits that do show off the legs will have matching football socks with them.


Until I have some ideas of things to write I'm going to go through all my suppliers or the things I'm making myself and tell you about them, what we're having etc. Stationery seemed the logical place to start.

In case you haven't noticed, the background on this blog is the same one we've used on the stationery.
Save the Date card

Supplies from PDA Cards and Craft.
I used an A5 sheet of leather paper for the outside, A5 sheet of manuscript card with 5mm cut off all the way around. I printed the details onto parchment paper which I stapled to the manuscript (from the inside so that the sharp bits were hidden) and the glued into the leather paper. I finished off with a matching plaque.
These haven't been made properly yet, this is just a sample and I'm planning to do it a little different to here.
This is an A4 sheet of leather paper, we have two pieces of manuscript card that have been cut in half and trimmed by 5mm and a 10mm piece in the centre.

On the right hand page is a 10mm deep pocket to hold the information sheets which are now going to be done as a booklet. I've also made a 10mm cube to go in the corner to keep it from getting squashed when closed.

On the left hand page will be a scroll which will be sealed with our wax seal which we're waiting to be made at the moment, it'll be attached with some double sided tape and we're going to put a Sticky Dot at the bottom to hold it open once the seal has been broken.
Order of Service/ Thank You cards/ Booklet Insert
Same as the Save the Date but the OOS will be A4.

My only regret is that the manuscript is portrait so on the items that are A4 the writing goes the wrong way.

Setting the scene

This was written for me by someone from the Confetti forum:

Travel back in time with us to the year 1471 and the castle of Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick and known as ‘the Kingmaker’.
For the last 16 years or so our beloved country of England has been torn apart by civil war, a most destructive fight for the throne by two mighty houses, the Red Rose of Lancaster and the White Rose of York.
The throne was held, some say unjustly, by the House of Lancaster after Henry IV claimed it as his own in 1399. However, when the infant Henry VI came to rule in 1422 his right was challenged by Richard, Duke of York, who held royal blood within his own house.
Our own Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, had played a mighty role in supporting the York house in their claim, eventually leading them to victory and placing the eldest of the three sons of York, Edward, on the throne. Neville had planned to marry the King to a European princess. However King Edward spurned his loyal advice, marrying in secret Elizabeth Woodville, a widow of a Lancastrian supporter and rumoured to be a witch.
Fearing he was losing his own influence over the King to witchcraft, Neville married his daughter Isabel to Edward’s brother George, in defiance of the Kings wishes. He then tried to overthrow Edward and place the more easily influenced York son, George, on the throne. When this failed, Neville ‘turned his coat’ and became a supporter of the Lancastrian King, Henry VI, who had been held throughout Edward’s reign as a prisoner in the Tower of London.
At this time, in the year of our Lord 1471, our Earl of Warwick has restored the rightful King of England, Henry VI, to the throne and is seated at his side as his most trusted and influential advisor.
Come now to join in the feasting and merriment of our wedding in the home of Neville, Earl of Warwick and one of the most powerful men in England.