Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Historical Wedding Customs - Fantasy Writing - Part 2

To find interesting plot alternatives when creating a wedding scene based on medieval times. What better place to hold a fantasy wedding than a castle or a rustic country setting? Even though marriage fell under the church's purview, historically it allowed weddings to be held within the castle's great hall or in one of the courtyards.

Who To Invite To a Castle Wedding

Remember a caste system existed in medieval times. Arranged marriages strengthened manors and kingdoms through political ties. When developing characters realize that the wedding day included an incredible celebration. Side or window characters to place within the scene include minstrels, jugglers and other entertainers.

Inhabitants of the manor also attended the celebration. Nobles from other manors and distant relatives were also invited. Bringing all these characters together in one place offers a myriad of possibilities to develop conflict within the plot.

Interesting ideas for plot threads includes historical practices like the lord of the castle freeing prisoners to mark the occasion. As unrealistic as this seems, historically it happened. These types of practices open the door to include the freeing of the man the bride truly loves as she is forced to marry a man because of arrangements made the day she was born. Or perhaps she marries only to free the man she loves.

Other interesting characters to include are the poor. Beggars gathered at the gates can feast on leftover food. It's a great place to disguise a protagonist with other plans.

Who to Invite to a Country Wedding

Do your characters love each other, or is their marriage prearranged? Marriage among peasants had more chance to involve love, but pregnancy often prompted weddings among lower classes. However, even among the peasants caste, marriage arrangements were often matters of business. An arranged marriage between peasant characters offers as many plot possibilities as marriages among the nobles.

Betrothal ceremonies were held at the bride's home where the village congregated to celebrate and give the couple practical wooden utensils or other tools as gifts.

When planning a fantasy wedding that involves characters from poor families again look to historical fact to create an interesting setting. Things like a wedding ring often could not be afforded in poorer families. One wedding tradition included giving a half of a broken coin to the bride and the other half to the groom. The unique break matches the two halves marking a one of a kind love united in marriage.

Much like the more modern custom of showering the bride and groom with rice or bird seed, villagers showered newlyweds with seeds or grains of wheat to wish them a large family.

Another historical aspect to prearranged marriages to incorporate in a plot or story line is that either the bride or the groom is an outsider. Grooms from another locale traditionally bought a round of drinks at the local pub for the village's young men. The reasoning behind this was that he "robbed" them of a possible wife.

Now that you have the guest list in place, part 3 of this article provides details to feed the guests.

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