- Renaissance fairs and enthusiasts often overlap Renaissance and Medieval styles. Pinpointing the exact moment a historical era begins can be tricky, so this sort of blending of styles makes sense. Generally, scholars agree that the Renaissance started between 1330 CE and 1400 CE, and that it ended in the early 1600s. This movement encompassed all areas of Western European culture, including advancements in the arts, sciences, literacy and standards of living. This rebirth germinated in Florence, Italy and spread north to Holland, west to the British Isles.
- Wedding gown styles depended on the location, date and economic status of the bride. Late Medieval/Early Renaissance ladies wore loose, flowing skirts that became slightly more fitted in the bodice. These were made of simple fabrics like linen. As wealth and trade increased, women adorned themselves in silks and brocades, often with heavy embroidery or bead work. Continental European women wore empire waist lines while brides in England had full-bodice dresses, often flattened in the front by a stomacher. Sleeves either puffed at the joints or flared like kimono sleeves, and surcoats became common.
- A myriad of Renaissance costume companies provide all varieties of clothing from the period, including wedding gowns. Prices range dramatically. Some outfitters start bridal dresses under $200. Costs can soar as high as $2,500 or more. Choose your vendor carefully to avoid disappointment and extra stress on your special day. Consider the types and quality of cloth available. Find out the shipping time and returns policy. Make sure to order well enough in advance so that you can return the dress and replace it if you are dissatisfied. Read customer reviews where they are available. Be aware that there is a difference between a costumer and a seamstress. Most costume companies offer low to middle quality clothing intended for recreational events. A tailor or seamstress will provide middle to high-end products.
- Custom-made gowns give you optimum control over the look and quality of your wedding dress. You can choose from a variety of fabrics, combine styles and be assured of a perfect fit. This is also the most expensive option. Custom Renaissance gowns have a starting price around $2,500 and can increase as high as your budget will allow, depending on your specifications. If possible, choose a local vendor with experience in Renaissance fashion to make fittings and alterations convenient. If no local vendor is available, carefully check the portfolios and customer reviews of your provider. Get a timetable of completion, fittings and alterations up front, including shipping time.
Do-It-Yourself Renaissance Wedding Gowns
- Some brides prefer the personal and economic choice of creating their own wedding dress. If you have the time and energy to do this while planning your wedding, home-made gowns add a unique touch and make wonderful heirlooms. You can find a range of patterns at arts and crafts stores and online. Costs will depend greatly on your choice of fabric and embellishments, but generally range from $80 to $300. If you are a beginning seamstress, enlist the help of a knowledgeable friend and consider making a practice gown first. You can do this inexpensively with muslin. While a do-it-yourself wedding gown can be time-consuming, it can also be extremely rewarding to walk down the aisle in the perfect dress that you made yourself.