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Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300$
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Elisabeth van Houts

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198798897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198798897.001.0001

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Wedding Celebrations

Wedding Celebrations

(p.63) 2 Wedding Celebrations
Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300

Elisabeth van Houts

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the ceremonial aspect of wedding celebrations of elite weddings, lower-status weddings, so-called ‘mantle’ ceremonies, and wedding rings. Actual wedding celebrations often stretched out over a number of days of feasting, dancing, and jousting. Most accounts centre on the couple and their kin and friends, sometimes lords, with exceptionally little detail of any active involvement of the clergy. Although clergymen are often described as being present, and images reveal them as present, what they actually did at the ceremonies is either deemed so self-explanatory that none of the reporters (whether in fictional or historical narratives) felt it necessary to describe their role, or else it is a sign that their role was still ill defined. Despite the existence of medieval liturgical literature with its detail on what should happen, most of the accounts concentrate on the secular and domestic aspect of the celebrations.

Keywords:   wedding feast, wedding rings, ‘mantle’ wedding, liturgy, wedding celebration

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