Doing It Like Shakespeare: Tips for an Elizabethan Theme Wedding

If you and your future husband are fans of William Shakespeare, you might want to consider having an Elizabethan theme wedding. Shakespeare had it!

Here are a few tips to lend your own Elizabeth theme wedding some authenticity:

  1. The wedding dress: In Elizabethan times, a bride didn’t wear white on her wedding day. Instead, she’d wear her best gown or new gown, regardless of color. An Elizabethan bride’s gown would cover her entire body and would have a cloak as outer garment. To look like an Elizabethan bride, wear a gown made of velvet or satin in shades of red, blue, greens, white, gray, black, orange or tan with a deep neckline. Wear flowers in your hair and on your gown. If you really want to be authentic even underneath, wear a corset.

  2. The groom’s clothes: The Elizabethan groom wore his best clothes on his wedding day doublet, breeches, hose, box pleated neck ruff, a cod piece, a cloak and boots. To be an Elizabethan groom, wear clothes made from velvet and satin in shades of red, blue, greens, white, gray, black, orange or tan.

  3. The wedding invitations: In Elizabethan times, couples who were about to get married did not issue wedding invitations. Weddings were an open affair, people in the communities would just come. For your Elizabethan theme wedding, in lieu of formal wedding invitations, why not just make small cards and give it out to people you want to come (I wouldn’t suggest you scrap out the wedding invitations entirely because a head count is important if you’re working around a budget.)

  4. The ceremony: In Elizabethan times, the wedding ceremony was very solemn and all those who attended would stand during the entire ceremony. For your Elizabethan wedding, have your guests stand up while your vows are being spoken. If you plan on the ceremony being a short one, then have your guests stand throughout ceremony. If the ceremony is more than 15-20 minutes, then have your guests stand up during the exchange of vows.

  5. The reception and food: The wedding feast in Elizabethan times was carefully planned and discussed. It was elaborate and usually consisted of exotic dishes. For an Elizabethan wedding feast, serve peacock, exotic bread and other meats, ale and wine.

Copyright 2005, Andrea R Britt. All rights reserved.