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In deciding a memorable theme for their weddings, brides often look to the past for inspiration—particularly when it comes to their wedding dresses. Medieval wedding dresses are quite popular nowadays for their romantic and timeless look, perfect for a bride looking to stand out from the crowd.
Popular TV shows inspired by medieval times such as Game of Thrones, Vikings, and The Last Kingdom have surely contributed to this interesting trend. From detailed lacing to beautiful brocade, medieval wedding dresses offer a unique and beautiful way for a bride to make a statement on her wedding day.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the history and styles of medieval wedding dresses, offering a glimpse into the glamorous world of nuptials during the Middle Ages. We’ve also included some popular medieval wedding dress styles for you to try out.
Medieval Wedding Dresses Then and Now
Medieval wedding dresses have come a long way since the days of castles and knights. While the designs of these dresses were once limited to the fashion trends and cultural norms of the time, today’s brides have a much wider range of styles to choose from. In the Middle Ages, the most common material for a wedding dress was heavy silk or velvet, and the gowns were often adorned with elaborate embroidery, gold and silver thread, and precious gems. The dresses were also heavily structured with corsets and petticoats, giving them a distinctive silhouette.
Fabrics used in medieval dresses were often expensive and could be embellished with embroidery or gemstones. Brocade fabric was a popular choice during the Middle Ages, with its intricate patterns and luxurious feel. Satin and velvet were also popular fabrics that could be used to create their glamorous and elegant appearance.
Fast forward to today, and brides have a world of options when it comes to choosing their perfect wedding dress. From traditional white ball gowns to bohemian styles and everything in between, the possibilities are endless. Some modern brides choose to pay homage to the fashion of the past by incorporating elements of medieval style into their contemporary gowns. This can range from the use of rich, luxurious fabrics to incorporating vintage-inspired details like lacing, beading, or even a corset bodice.
The iconic silhouettes of medieval dresses were designed to be flattering to the bride’s figure, with high waists, long skirts, and voluminous sleeves. Modern brides can find many ways to update these traditional styles to make them their own, from adding a contemporary train to incorporating a modern neckline. Although medieval wedding dresses originated centuries ago, there are still many ways for modern brides to embrace the style.
Despite the changes in fashion and technology, the essence of medieval wedding dresses remains the same. These gowns continue to symbolize the beauty, romance, and joy of the wedding day and serve as a lasting reminder of the love between two people. Whether you’re a bride-to-be looking for inspiration or simply a history buff, exploring the world of medieval wedding dresses is a fascinating journey.
Pros and Cons of Wearing a Medieval Wedding Dress
There are many pros and some cons when incorporating medieval elements, particularly a wedding dress, in a modern wedding. Medieval wedding dresses often feature intricate embroidery and beading, making them a beautiful and unique choice. They also evoke a sense of romance and nostalgia, which is always a lovely addition to your nuptials.
- Unique: Medieval wedding dresses often have a unique and historic look, adding a touch of elegance and charm to the wedding. Wearing one is a great way to stand out from the crowd and make your special day even more unforgettable.
- Timelessness: The design of these dresses is timeless, meaning they won’t look outdated even in the future, which is an important consideration for some couples.
- Comfortable: When natural and lightweight materials and an easily flowing design are used, medieval-inspired wedding dresses can be quite comfortable to wear all day.
- Historical: Medieval wedding dresses serve as a homage to a time that has been long forgotten.
- Affordable: Although the designs can be intricate, they typically feature simple and natural materials which can be affordable.
- Storytelling: Wearing a medieval wedding dress can be a way to tell a story about your love and heritage, as well as pay homage to the traditions and cultures of the past.
- Unavailability: Medieval wedding dresses can be difficult to find, as they are not commonly sold in more modern stores.
- Limited Options: Medieval wedding dresses typically come in limited colors and styles, so you may not be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.
- Cost: These dresses can be expensive due to the attention to detail and craftsmanship required in their creation.
- Tradition: Some people may see wearing a medieval wedding dress as going against traditional wedding attire and may find it inappropriate.
- Warmth: Medieval wedding dresses often come with long sleeves and heavy fabric, which can be uncomfortably warm in warm climates or during summer months.
Stunning Medieval Dresses for Your Big Day
When it comes to medieval-inspired weddings, romance, and tradition merge to create a timeless style. From luxurious fabrics and rich colors to intricate details and intricate embroidery, medieval wedding dresses embody romance and elegance.
Whether you choose a flowing brocade and velvet gown with lace trim or a sleek and modern look with lightweight materials, these timeless pieces will make you look and feel as if you stepped back in time. Here’s a selection of wedding dresses inspired by medieval times that can make your special day magical as you walk down the aisle.
1. Celtic Medieval Wedding Dress
This gorgeous dress is perfect for any bride who wants an authentically traditional and unique medieval look on her wedding day. The intricate details and rich fabrics will make you look and feel ethereal. It’s a perfect combination of form and function, making it a great choice for a truly Medieval-themed wedding.
The fabric is soft and luxurious, and the details make it one of a kind. The bodice is long and fitted, with an intricate lace-up back and the skirt is floor-length, with embroidered hems and an open front. This dress is perfect for a dramatic entrance and can make you look like the belle of the ball.
2. Boho Medieval Wedding Dress
This beautiful medieval-inspired wedding dress is a perfect choice to add some medieval magic to your special day. It’s a lovely, modern interpretation of the soft and natural lines of medieval dresses, with its unique neckline and sleeves giving a beautiful contemporary touch.
The soft and delicate fabric provides a light and airy feel that’s incredibly comfortable to wear. The belt across the front is detailed with hand-stitched pearls, adding a touch of glamour and some extra feminine charm to the dress. This dress also has a beachy boho look that’s perfect for an outdoorsy or ethereal wedding. It’s a great choice for your special day, especially for outdoor summer weddings.
3. Beaded Medieval Sheath Wedding Dress
This long sleeve sheath gown is an ideal choice for when you need to include some medieval charm in your wedding. Intricate beading adorns and decorates the sleeves, framed by a sheer lace overlay, for a romantic and vintage appeal. The intricate beading and lace are perfect for a medieval-inspired wedding, while the airy sheer mesh and open back are guaranteed to make you feel like an absolute modern-day princess.
The deeply dipped neckline is perfectly balanced by the long sleeves, giving the gown a timeless and classic feel. The long sleeve design will also keep you comfortable and warm throughout the ceremony and reception, so you can focus on enjoying the special day. With this exquisite and unique gown, your wedding day will surely be one to remember.
4. Victorian Style Medieval Wedding Dress
The details of this gorgeous dress will make you feel like you have stepped back in time on your special day. The lightweight deep green fabric of this gown features delicate lace trim and long sleeves to add a mystical and elegant touch. The dress also has a full skirt with a pleated hem for a classic medieval look.
The airy fabric will keep you comfortable and cool throughout your wedding day while still allowing you to make a statement. The perfect blend of timeless style and modern comfort, this medieval renaissance wedding dress is an ideal choice for your big day.
5. Mermaid Lace Medieval Wedding Gown
The beautiful heart-shaped neckline on this mermaid lace gown draws attention to the figure without being overly revealing, making it perfect for a more traditional ceremony. The fabric is a high-quality lace, and the armbands are securely attached with velcro for an adjustable fit, and the dress features a built-in bra to make things easier.
Whether you’re having a medieval-themed wedding or just want to add a touch of history and elegance to your big day, this medieval mermaid-style gown is a beautiful and timeless choice. The dress is both romantic and sophisticated, making it an excellent choice for any bride looking to make a statement on her wedding day.
6. White Medieval Dress with Silver Applique
This medieval dress with silver appliqué and a train at the back and long sleeves is a stunning and regal bridal gown. The dress is made from delicate white fabric and is adorned with intricate silver appliqué that adds a touch of elegance and shine to the overall look. The long sleeves and train at the back give the dress a classic and timeless appearance, making it perfect for a traditional or medieval-themed wedding.
The dress is designed to hug the body and flow gracefully, creating a flattering and feminine silhouette. The silver appliqué and the train at the back also make the dress a great choice for a bride who wants to make a statement and stand out on her special day.
7. A-Line Floral Lace Wedding Dress
This floral lace long-sleeve A-line medieval wedding gown is a stunning and elegant bridal gown, perfect for a bride who wants to embrace a timeless and traditional look on her wedding day. The dress is made from delicate floral lace and features long sleeves, a classic A-line silhouette, and a breathtaking bodice and sleeves adorned with 3D elements and shimmering rhinestones.
The 3D elements and rhinestones add depth and texture to the dress, making it a unique and eye-catching piece. The floral lace gives the dress a romantic and feminine touch, while the long sleeves and A-line silhouette create a classic and elegant look. The bodice and sleeves adorned with rhinestones provide just the right amount of sparkle, making the dress a great choice for a bride who wants to stand out on her big day.
This medieval wedding gown is perfect for a traditional or historical-themed wedding and is sure to make a lasting impression on all those who see it. Whether you’re getting married in a castle or a traditional church, this stunning gown is sure to bring a touch of romance and elegance to your special day.
8. Gothic Medieval Wedding Dress
This blue wedding dress made of stretch velvet and chiffon is a unique and stylish choice for a bride who wants to stand out on her special day. The stretch velvet fabric makes the dress adjustable and comfortable to wear, ensuring that the bride feels confident and beautiful throughout the entire wedding day and the corset lace in the front allows for the dress to be tailored to the bride’s preferred level of coverage, making it a versatile and practical choice.
The combination of the rich, blue stretch velvet and delicate chiffon of this dress creates a stunning and eye-catching look. The soft and flowy chiffon adds a touch of romance and femininity to the dress, while the stretch velvet provides structure and support. The open front design with corset lace makes the dress both daring and elegant, a perfect choice for a bride who wants to embrace a unique and modern look.
Whether you’re looking for a comfortable, adjustable dress for a relaxed outdoor wedding or a stylish and modern gown for a formal indoor ceremony, this blue medieval wedding dress is a beautiful and versatile choice. With its stunning design and adjustable features, it’s sure to make the bride feel confident and beautiful on her special day.
9. The Ethereal Empress
This gorgeous A-line wedding dress made of opulently beaded and appliqued tulle is a stunning and glamorous choice for a bride who wants to make a statement on her special day. The dress is covered in 5000 beads and sequins, creating a shimmering and sparkling look that’s sure to catch the eye. The softly folded pleats in the skirt add dimension and movement to the dress, while the scalloped lace trim around the hemline adds a touch of delicate elegance.
The beaded and appliqued tulle fabric gives the dress a luxurious and opulent feel, making it perfect for a grand and formal wedding. The A-line silhouette flatters the figure, creating a classic and timeless look that’s both elegant and sophisticated. The dress is designed to move gracefully with every step, creating a stunning and unforgettable appearance.
Whether you’re getting married in a grand ballroom or a beautiful outdoor venue, this A-line wedding dress made of opulently beaded and appliqued tulle is sure to make a statement and leave a lasting impression. With its shimmering beads and sequins, soft pleats, and scalloped lace trim, this dress is the epitome of glamour and sophistication, making it a perfect choice for any bride looking to make her mark on her special day.
10. Renaissance Bridal Gown
This beautiful medieval wedding dress is a great choice to make your fairy-tale wedding dreams come true. The skirt is a full A-line with an ivory velvet panel in the front, embroidered accents, and a long chapel train. The luxurious velvet and embroidered silk fabric provide a timeless look that can make you look and feel beautiful on your big day. The lacing on the corset-style bodice flatters the figure and accentuate the curves of the body and the A-line skirt, ivory velvet panel, and embroidered accents will enhance the elegance of the dress and the long chapel train will add an extra touch of drama.
11. Sequinned Trumpet Gown
This floral sequin long-sleeve trumpet gown is another favorite of ours for a modern bride looking for a touch of vintage. The floral pattern is made up of silver, gold, and white sequins and the sheer mesh overlay adds a touch of romance. It will let your natural beauty shine and make you feel like a fairy-tale princess.
With the combination of long sleeves and a trumpet skirt, it gives a unique and beautiful look while also flattering the figure. It’s a great choice for brides who are looking for a timeless yet contemporary look.
12. A Medieval White Rose | David’s Bridal
This off-the-shoulder lace A-line wedding dress from David’s Bridal is another medieval-inspired modern gown that we found to be quite stunning. The intricate lace detailing was inspired by the ornate motifs found in royal palaces and the dress features three types of lace, 2,000 beads, and sequins, which shimmer and sparkle in the light.
The A-line design of this dress is figure-flattering, and the off-the-shoulder cut gives it a romantic and feminine feel. The delicate lace and beadwork are eye-catching and are sure to make you stand out on your special day.
13. Timeless Medieval Romance | David’s Bridal
The intricate lace-appliqued bodice on this dress features a semi-sheer detail that gives off a subtle and romantic allure. The long sleeves cascade gracefully down, providing the perfect amount of coverage for a modest yet fashionable look. The airy tulle of the gown gently flows to the floor, creating a beautiful and elegant look.
This dress is a perfect combination of classic and modern elements for a truly standout look. Its delicate and romantic design is timeless, and its sheer detailing and long sleeves make it a great choice for a more conservative ceremony. This romantic lace and tulle long-sleeve ball gown wedding dress is the ideal choice for a beautiful, medieval-inspired look.
Tips for Selecting the Perfect Medieval Dress
When choosing a medieval wedding dress, here are some tips that you may find useful:
- Research the time period: Medieval fashion varied greatly between the 10th and 15th centuries. It’s important to determine the specific time period you’re interested in and research the fashion of that era.
- Consider the silhouette: Medieval dresses typically had a fitted bodice, full skirt, and long sleeves. The style of the bodice could range from simple and plain to highly decorative and embellished.
- Choose natural fabrics: Medieval garments were often made from natural materials such as linen, wool, or silk. These materials are more comfortable and breathable than synthetic fibers and are also more historically accurate.
- Look for authentic details: Pay attention to details like cording, lacing, and embellishments. Authentic medieval dresses often had intricate embroideries or other decorative elements, such as brass or silver clasps, fur trim, and more.
- Accessorize appropriately: Medieval accessories such as veils, headdresses, and jewelry can complete your bridal look. Consider incorporating items such as a circlet, a simple headband, or a jeweled hairpin.
- Work with a tailor or seamstress: A custom-made dress will ensure the perfect fit and can be tailored to your personal style preferences. Consider working with a tailor or seamstress who specializes in medieval costume making.
Remember, the most important thing is to choose a dress that makes you feel confident and beautiful on your special day.
Fun Medieval Bridal Traditions for a Modern Wedding
1. Hand-fasting Ceremony
Hand-fasting involves the tying of the couple’s hands together, symbolizing their union and commitment to each other. In the hand-fasting ceremony, the couple’s hands are tied together with a cord or ribbon, which is often decorated with special symbols or colors to represent various aspects of their relationship, such as love, friendship, or fertility. The act of tying the hands together symbolizes the couple’s commitment to each other and their intention to remain bound together for life.
The ceremony was usually performed outdoors, in a place of natural beauty, and often involved the exchange of vows and the sharing of a symbolic meal or drink. The hand-fasting ceremony was also sometimes followed by a traditional wedding ceremony in a church or other religious setting.
Today, hand-fasting is sometimes incorporated into contemporary wedding ceremonies as a way of incorporating a touch of medieval tradition into the celebration. It’s often performed by a priest, minister, or other officiants, and can be a beautiful and meaningful part of any wedding.
2. Bedeck the Bride
The “bedeck the bride” tradition was a medieval custom in which friends and family of the bride would decorate her bed with flowers, ribbons, and other symbols of good luck and fertility. This was usually done on the night before the wedding and was seen as a way of wishing the bride well on the eve of her wedding day.
The bride would then spend the night in the bed, surrounded by decorative elements, symbolizing her purity and readiness for marriage. The bedeck the bride tradition was also thought to ward off evil spirits and ensure a happy and fruitful marriage.
Although this tradition is not widely practiced today, it remains a fascinating part of medieval wedding customs and provides a glimpse into the rich history and cultural heritage of European wedding traditions.
3. The Garter Toss
This medieval tradition is still a popular part of many weddings today. It involves the groom removing the bride’s garter, which is a piece of lingerie worn around the thigh, and tossing it to a group of unmarried men. The man who catches the garter was said to be the next in line to marry. This tradition was believed to bring good luck to the couple and was a playful way to celebrate the end of the wedding festivities.
Today, the garter toss is still a popular wedding tradition and is often done as part of the reception or after-party. Some couples choose to modernize the tradition by having the groom remove the garter and toss it to both single men and women, symbolizing that the couple’s love and commitment to each other is the foundation for all future relationships.
4. The Wedding March
The wedding march is a medieval wedding tradition that involves the bride and groom processing down the aisle to the sound of music. The tradition is thought to have originated in the middle ages as a way for the bride and groom to make a grand entrance into the church or other wedding venue. The wedding march was usually performed by a choir or a group of musicians and was often accompanied by other symbols of celebration, such as the ringing of bells or the blowing of horns.
Today, the wedding march is still a popular tradition and is often performed by a solo musician, such as an organist or a harpist, as the bride and groom make their way down the aisle. The wedding march is a beautiful and meaningful way to celebrate the start of a new life together and is an important part of many modern wedding ceremonies.
5. Exchange of Vows
The exchange of vows is a central part of the medieval wedding tradition, in which the bride and groom publicly declare their love and commitment to each other. This custom involves the couple reciting vows that they have written or chosen, which often include promises to love, honor, and cherish each other for the rest of their lives.
The exchange of vows is a significant moment in the wedding ceremony and is a symbol of the couple’s deep commitment to each other. During the medieval period, the exchange of vows was considered to be a binding agreement between the couple, and the couple’s words were seen as a powerful declaration of their intentions and feelings.
Today, the exchange of vows remains an important part of many wedding ceremonies and is a beautiful and meaningful way for the couple to express their love and commitment to each other in front of their family and friends.
The feast was a common tradition in medieval weddings, in which a large meal was held to celebrate the union of the couple and to provide food for the guests. The feast was usually held after the wedding ceremony and was seen as a time to come together and enjoy good food and company.
The menu for the feast often included a variety of dishes, such as roasted meats, bread, and vegetables, as well as sweet treats and alcoholic drinks. The feast was an important part of the wedding celebration and was seen as a way to bring the couple’s families and friends together to enjoy each other’s company and to offer their congratulations and good wishes to the newlyweds.
Today, the tradition of the feast is still an important part of many weddings and is often held in the form of a reception or after-party, with a meal, dancing, and other festivities.
7. Ring Exchange
The ring exchange is a medieval wedding tradition that involves the bride and groom exchanging rings during the wedding ceremony as a symbol of their commitment to each other. The exchange of rings was a common practice in the medieval period and was seen as a way for the couple to publicly declare their love and devotion to each other.
The rings were typically made of precious metals, such as gold or silver, and were often decorated with gemstones or other meaningful symbols. During the ring exchange, the couple would place the rings on each other’s fingers, typically with the words “With this ring, I thee wed” or a similar declaration of love.
This tradition of the ring exchange remains an important part of many wedding ceremonies and is seen as a beautiful and meaningful way for the couple to symbolize their love and commitment to each other.
8. Bridal Procession
The bridal procession was a tradition in medieval weddings, in which the bride was escorted to the wedding venue by family and friends. The bridal procession was a significant part of the wedding ceremony and was seen as a way for the bride to be introduced to her new community as a married woman.
The procession was often led by the father of the bride, who would walk in front of the bride and offer her his arm as they made their way to the wedding venue. The procession was accompanied by music and was often accompanied by friends and family members carrying flowers or other decorations. The bridal procession was a time for the bride to show off her wedding dress and for the guests to get a glimpse of the couple before the ceremony began.
Today, the tradition of the bridal procession remains an important part of many wedding ceremonies, and is often led by the father of the bride, but can also be led by other close family members or friends.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What did medieval brides wear?
Medieval brides typically wore long, flowing gowns made of luxurious fabrics such as silk or velvet, often adorned with lace and embroidery. They also wore headdresses, such as veils or wreaths, and jewelry, such as necklaces or earrings.
2. What color were medieval wedding dresses?
Medieval wedding dresses were typically white, symbolizing purity and innocence, or red, symbolizing love and passion.
3. What age did girls get married in the Middle Ages?
In the Middle Ages, girls typically got married at a young age, around the age of 14 to 16, and sometimes as young as 12. The age of marriage was influenced by social and economic factors, such as the need for arranged marriages for political or financial gain. However, noblewomen often married later, in their early to mid-20s.
4. Did they kiss at Medieval weddings?
Yes, kissing was a common tradition in medieval weddings as a symbol of love and affection. The kiss was often performed during the wedding ceremony after the exchange of vows and rings.
5. Did people marry their siblings in medieval times?
In medieval times, people generally did not marry their siblings, as incestuous marriages were considered taboo and were prohibited by the Catholic Church.
Medieval wedding dresses offer brides the chance to bring a touch of history and romance to their special day. From an embroidered ivory gown inspired by Medieval royal weddings to a romantic gown featuring an empire waist and long sleeves, there are a variety of choices available to modern brides seeking to capture the charm and elegance of a magical past.
Whether you opt for a bold hue like midnight blue or more traditional colors like white or beige, a medieval wedding dress can effortlessly add a touch of timeless beauty to your special day.