Wendy is a journalist who has been writing online since 2007 on topics such as plus size fashion, learning languages and traveling.
A step by step guide to organizing a medieval themed party. Everything from doing your guest list, preparing and sending invitations, organizing the bar, selecting food and music, to finding medieval costumes and entertainment.
Dressing For A Medieval Party
How To Plan A Medieval Themed Party
Looking for a fun party theme? Look no further, I can tell you here step by step how to organize your own medieval party to impress your friends and have a wonderful time.
Medieval parties are ideal for mid-season when you can take your party to the garden and still feel comfortable wearing heavy medieval clothing. Your guests will love it, medieval parties are full of fun and once you have selected your costume all the rest is very easy to prepare.
If you keep faithful to your medieval theme, you only need a few drinks in the bar and a very basic food menu that can be eaten with your hands!
Organizing A Medieval Party, Step By Step
1) Determine the date for your party.
2) Organize your guest list. Make sure that you are inviting all the fun people that you know would be interested in a medieval party. Do not feel obliged to invite unwanted guests. Be realistic about the number of guests. Your budget and venue are the two main factors to help you decide how many people you invite.
3) According to the number of guests, decide how you are going to be holding your party. Once you have decided on a number of guests you will need to decide on seating arrangements. The space needed will be different if you are planning a medieval banquet than if you are planning on having a medieval buffet and a dance party. Once you are sure about numbers and seating arrangements. For a dance party, an indoors venue would be best while if there is good weather and you have a big garden you could organize long tables and have your medieval banquet there.
Medieval Inspired Party Invitation
4) Send the invitations at least 3 weeks in advance. Make sure to invite your guests with plenty of time and ask them to confirm their attendance so you can start organizing your menu according to how many people will attend your party. You can invite your guests by phone (for a quick response) or sending away written invitations. If you have the time and budget you can create your own invitations from various online resources. Just imagine the surprise in your friend’s faces when they see a pergamino invitation in their post box! Don’t forget to include all the important information in your invitation, like the date, the reason for the party, the starting and finishing time (if there is a finishing time!) Do not forget to emphasize that they need to dress up in mediaeval costumes for the party
5) Make a list of everything you will need and where you can get it. There is nothing worse than realizing at the last minute that you don’t have enough tables or seats for your guests! Avoid plastic cups and dishes, if you want to keep truly to your theme you must avoid plastic utensils. Remember that during the middle ages people used to eat with their hands.
6) Organize the bar. Keep faithful to your theme and serve drinks that were drunk during the medieval period. Forget about fancy cocktails and bring out beer, cider, wine and mead -an alcoholic drink made of honey. These are authentic medieval drinks. There are also some truly medieval drinks that you can still find in local markets, like mulberry gin and blackberry wine.
Non-alcoholic beverages can include natural apple or grape juice served in jugs. Try not to be tempted to offer fizzy drinks like coca cola or any other brand.
Use Especially Made Hard Bread As Dishes
A Medieval Recipe
7) Organize the menu. Whether you are having a medieval banquet or a buffet keep it simple. Remember that the medieval diet was simple in terms of ingredients and cooking.If you are having an outdoor party, it could be a great idea to organize a cooking area and roast some whole chickens and pork in there. If you are not sure about what to serve you might be better hiring a caterer. There is an extensive list of companies who can cater for medieval parties.
For an easy home-made buffet serve lots of cooked meats, fresh and dried fruits, cheese accompanied with big loafs of bread. I like to serve whole fruits for dessert, arranging apples, plums, peaches, pears, grapes and strawberries in trays. It is easy to make and very decorative. Another advantage of offering fresh fruits is that certain citrus fruits such as oranges, mandarins and clementines will actually clean your hands -after having eaten without cutlery this is a very good idea.
Cooking Medieval Style
8) Set the scene:
- Buy or make your own medieval decorations. Decorations are very important to bring the medieval theme to your party. You can buy some ready made medieval decorations or if you have the time and ability you can create your own decorations on your own or with a friend’s help. Make sure (as much as possible) to get rid of any high-tech decorations or appliances that you might have on your venue. Some ideas to decorate your venue are:
- Use natural and candlelight for lighting.
- Find wooden cutlery instead of plastic or ordinary cutlery. Remember that cutlery is a “new” invention. People used to eat with their hands during the dark ages.
- Use “natural” dishes instead of porcelain or plastic dishes. A good idea is to make “bread dishes” to serve the food and to use big chunks of bread to serve the hors-d'œuvre.
Music For A Medieval Party
- Decide on the music. Music is very important to set the mood at a party. For a mediaeval party include some renaissance music for the start of the party and during eating time. Once the eating is done, go for something more lively and get your guests moving to the rhythm of waltzes and why not, some ceilidh music.
Medieval Dance At Conwy Castle
- Decide on entertainment. Entertaining your guests can be as simple or complicated as you want. Bear in mind the age of your guests and your type of party. For example if you are having a medieval banquet, most of the time people are going to be sitting at the table eating, so the best entertainment could be playing appropriate music. If you have the budget, you can also invite a band to play renaissance music at your banquet while your guests are eating. You can also invite friends who play musical instruments like the accordion or the harp, they will be more than happy to show off their skills. Decide now if you are going to play games to spice up your party (you can get some inspiration from the Scottish highland games) or if your guests are less active you can always organize a medieval themed quiz. If you can afford it consider hiring mediaeval entertainment like jesters, fire eaters and jugglers. If you have a young crowd invited you can also consider hiring a bouncy castle -YES, adults love this too, especially after a few drinks!
8)Find your Mediaeval costume
9) Enjoy your party!
Medieval Festival At Le Pechereau, France
How To Dress For A Medieval Party?
Now that you have everything ready for your medieval party all you need is to decide on what will you wear that day. I would recommend a proper medieval dress. You can make them yourself or buy them at theatrical shops during sales time or at Halloween costumes shops.
I got my Renaissance Costumes from Renaissance costume clothing and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of their dresses. Just stepping into my medieval dress I felt transported in time ready to party all night long and the best thing is that I’ll be able to use my costume again and again. Unlike other costumes, this one is meant to be worn and to last over the years. I have already used it for a medieval banquet and I am planning to use it again at a medieval festival in a castle next week.
My Aunt And Me wearing Adult Renaissance Costumes From Renaissance Costume Clothing
Fashions of the Late Middle Ages
- Fashion History of the High and Late Middle Ages - Medieval Clothing
Fashions of the Late Middle Ages were influenced by the Gothic style, a look that accentuated slenderness and an elongated form for both men and women
Finding Inspiration For A Medieval Themed Party
If you are still not sure about medieval parties, I recommend that you watch a few medieval films for inspiration before you start preparing your party. Remember that you are looking at medieval films for inspiration only (they do not need to be historically accurate) so all you want is a few ideas about medieval clothing, entertainment, decorations and food. Some good films to watch for inspiration are Franco Zeffirelli’s "Hamlet" with Mel Gibson. For the more daring, Pasolini’s Decameron offers a highly realistic and erotic version of Mediaeval Italy. And, who hasn’t seen "Braveheart", starring Mel Gibson as William Wallace, the perfect place to find inspiration for male costumes and dances. For a fun movie, "A Knight’s Tale" starring Heath Ledger, offers a unique view among medieval movies as the film is set to rock music. And if you want a good laugh "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is the funniest of all of the medieval movies.
Wearing A Medieval Costume
© 2011 Wendy Iturrizaga
Deborah Minter from U.S, California on March 30, 2018:
Great ideas! Thank you for the tips...
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on May 17, 2016:
You are welcome Debbie, have fun :)
Debbie on May 16, 2016:
Thank you! What a wonderful and informative site. We are preparing for a medieval themed Halloween Party. I very much appreciate the ideas.
Ashutosh Tiwari from Lucknow, India on April 04, 2014:
Medieval days were just wonderful and they still enthrall us with the mystical legends and stories.
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on September 14, 2011:
AutumnJo: A medieval themed Halloween party sounds fantastic. There are some absolutely wonderful gothic and vampire costumes to be worn for the theme.
AutumnJo from WI(Formerly IL, formerly PA) on September 13, 2011:
This was simply wonderful!
I've been wanting to have a theme party for Halloween for years and given your great advice and tips on how, I will absolutely do a Medieval theme!
Thank you for sharing!
angemac23 from Canada on August 06, 2011:
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on August 04, 2011:
MarieAlice: Like Dr. Seuss would say "I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities."
Maria Alicia Cardenas from Spain on August 04, 2011:
PRINCESSA.... I ENVY YOU.. YOU HAVE SO MUCH IMAGINATION!!!!
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on August 03, 2011:
Om Paramapoonya: Preparing a medieval party is great fun, especially if you can get friends and family involved. I always say that if it is not fun preparing a party, then it is not worth doing it at all. Parties are for enjoying from its very conception until the last guest leaves the premises :-)
Om Paramapoonya on July 27, 2011:
I love this! Making medieval scroll invitations is a really neat idea. Oh and pig looks so yummy in the picture.:)
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on July 27, 2011:
cameciob: Yes, there are lots of medieval festivals in Europe. Just a few weeks ago we had a medieval festival in a nearby town, it was beautiful, especially the grand final with fireworks around the medieval castle.
cameciob on July 27, 2011:
Very inspired hub, Princessa. I've never been to a medeval party but I can imagine the fun. Some cities in Europe have medieval festivals that can give us some ideas also.
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on July 27, 2011:
Island Tropical: you are welcome :-)
James: Dates are always flexible ;-) and of course there must be wenches and mead, otherwise it wouldn't be fun, lol
Charles James from Between New York and London on July 25, 2011:
Umm, Princessa, I am married. Do I still have to determine a Date for the party? (wink-chuckle) Two, will there be wenches and mead? If not, would still love to attend! Seriously, I attended one many years ago, in Pennsylvania Dutch country, that was just outstanding. I also worked at a 14th century English Country Inn, just north of SF that had one in Muir Woods. These events are very fun.
Island Tropical on July 25, 2011:
thanks for sharing those information.
Wendy Iturrizaga (author) from France on July 25, 2011:
KoffeeKlatch Gals: Medieval dances can be a lot of fun. I like the fact that most of them can be danced in groups rather than just couples, because you can involve everyone in the dance.
MarieAlice: Hi, you know I am always looking for an excuse for a party ;-)
Woody Marx: The music is a very important mood settler for a party.
robie2: I suppose you can leave the suckling pig off the menu, lol
Simone: Need to make sure that you are around the corner next time we have a medieval do :-)
leann2800: it is a lot of fun, personally I love dressing up I think people acts different when they dress up because they feel that they can be different which at the end results in more freedom to enjoy yourself.
leann2800 on July 20, 2011:
This sounds like a lot of fun. I have to try this. Thanks for sharing.
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on July 12, 2011:
Oh my goodness. THIS IS SO COOL!! Princessa, you are THE. COOLEST.
I want to have a Medieval party!! Oh, and your tips are so fabulous! I especially love the invitation and bread-as-plate ideas. Fabulous guide!
Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on July 12, 2011:
what a fabulous idea -- I love it and the step by step is really helpful-- not sure I can manage the suckling pig-- but I love all your ideas.
Woody Marx from Ontario, Canada on July 11, 2011:
I used to do something similar as a kid,and this Hub makes me want to try again. It really sounds like fun. Especially if you have lots of music, or people who play wonderful medieval instruments, (recorders,drums,tambourine etc.) and food and scrolls to read from. All your ideas are great!
Maria Alicia Cardenas from Spain on July 10, 2011:
i love the idea of having a medieval party!!! great ideas...
Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on July 07, 2011:
A midevil party sounds like it would be fun. Loved the midevil dance.