In recent years, there has been a renewed flurry of interest in the Tudor era. Artists and writers are once again producing pieces set in the time, from big budget series like the BBC’s ‘Tudors’ to successful novels like Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. We thought it would be a wonderful idea to offer some of our favourite table styling ideas inspired by Tudor grandeur.
The wealthy lords and ladies of the era enjoyed opulent parties and decadent weddings. Everyone knows about the feasts of kings like Henry VIII, but fewer know about the lives of the aristocrats who lived large alongside him. It also presented a stark contrast with the way most ordinary people lived.
Writing in History Extra, Professor Ralph Houlbrooke explains a little about the Tudor wedding:
“A magnificent feast, a week of jousting and banqueting, and then further varied entertainments, followed the marriage of Arthur and Katherine in 1501. Most people who could afford it – the couple, or their parents, if still alive – probably held a wedding dinner and dancing. Finally, guests might see the couple to bed. Neighbours or fellow parishioners could contribute to a ‘bride ale’ for less well off couples.”
For centuries, flowers have long been a mainstay for weddings, with each single flower representing something special. The red rose was the perfect representation of love in the Tudor era, as it still is to this day. For a truly regal affair, fill large brass or gilded vases with striking red roses.
To be or not to be
A Tudor theme would not be complete without talking about the world’s greatest playwright, a man who represents the creativity of this era. With inspiration from Shakespeare, you might decorate your tables with old ink wells and quill pens. You could also include a few pages of parchment by the side, so your guests can write down their thoughts about the day.
Drink and be merry
By the Tudor era, mead had grown less popular with the upper echelons of society. The wealthy were increasingly choosing to drink wine. A love/hate relationship with France meant English nobles got a taste of French wines and a new market grew exponentially. For your wedding, treat guests to jugs of French red wine, with a few silver goblets to complete the look.
Keep it rustic
The best Tudor inspirations are those that mix the ornate with the rustic. Don’t be afraid to keep your table stripped back. A stunning oak table doesn’t need any table cloths or other frippery. Also, if you’re serving things like finger food, don’t bother with china. Find some Old World pewter plates, as these are much more in keeping with the theme.
We hope you will be incorporating some of these aspects into your own wedding celebrations. For your Tudor themed wedding, Leez Priory offers a distinct slice of charm and will fit so well with your theme. For more information about this venue, please get in touch.