P r i d e W e d d i n g s 2010
The 16th century is strangely progressive on same-sex unions
When deciding on your wedding day outfit, chain mail probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But for some, traveling back in time to the days of the Renaissance couldn’t be more romantic.
Even though Texas hasn’t jumped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon, Lone Star Renaissance festivals welcome all those wishing to celebrate their unions.
"They aren’t legal in Texas but we definitely would perform one," Ginger Brown says of the Scarborough Renaissance Festival out of Waxahachie.
Look to Plantersville, near Houston, the Texas Renaissance Festival has worked its wedding magic on one same-sex couple that came not from Merrie Olde England but North Carolina.
"We were really honored when Dori and Suzanne called us," wedding coordinator Shelly Lee says.
Dressed in Celtic garb, the ladies were married at the festival in the Rose Garden. Lee was proud that she could be a part of an event and the fact that her festival is open to such ceremonies.
"It is cool to do this," she says. "We love that we can participate in people’s lives this way."
Renaissance fests have been in the wedding business for a while. Depending on the budget, packages range from $2,000 to $6,500 in Plantersville, inclusive of guest tickets, carriage processions, a sword arch, musicians and a minister. Higher end packages will even include a cake and bottle of champagne.
Scarborough Faire’s packages run from the $800 "gentry" ceremony to the fancier "Royalty Package" at $4,350. The more expensive fetes include refreshments, bridal cake and a Renaissance feast.
What the brides or grooms wear, though, is up to them.
"You don’t have to be dressed in outfits for the event but it is best experienced when in costume," Lee says. "Some people have worn chain mail. Dori and Suzanne wore long Renaissance-type coats."
Straight couples need a marriage license but same-sex couples just fill out the forms. A non-denominational minister presides over the commitment ceremony.
Minister John assists couples with their vows. From there, the celebration goes from either a traditional wedding to the non-traditional.
"We provide both but in the non-traditional, we have our Celtic hand fastening ceremony. A ribbon binds the couple’s hands together throughout the ceremony. It’s actually pretty nice," Lee says.
Lee looks forward to more commitment ceremonies at her fair and Brown is open to Scarborough partaking in the same. Apparently, same-sex couples are great customers.
"We’ve had more calls about them," Lee says. "It’s a special time when couples decide to exchange vows. I imagine it means a lot to a couple that can’t get legally married. Dori and Suzanne were awesome and they were even more awesome about sending a thank you."
For information about their packages, visit SRFestival.com or TexRenFest.com.
This article appeared in the Pride Weddings 2010 special section in the Dallas Voice print edition May 7, 2010.