You may be more mature now that you are turning 18, but you can’t deny you are still that fun-loving girl! You’re now a debutante and more ready for adventures than ever! So for your eighteenth birthday celebration, why not explore a lavish festivity and have serious fun through a Renaissance inspired 18th birthday celebration?
The first thing you should do is to RESEARCH and explore the possibility of having a Medieval and Renaissance Debut Party. A Renaissance themed birthday celebration is the opposite of simplicity. In fact, a Renaissance party is a luxurious and majestic celebration that has everything in excess except dullness. So make sure to give it your all once you settle for this party theme.
Background: What is the Renaissance Period?
The Renaissance is known to be the historical period in Europe from 1400’s to 1600’s. This era has been a cultural interest in different places for decades, which is how Renaissance fairs became popular. Renaissance fairs showcase entertainment by costumed actors to inform the people about the everyday lives of Renaissance men as well as their art and battles. All things during the Renaissance period can be described by the word “lavish”, which is simply synonymous to the fun you will be having during your themed 18th birthday celebration.
A Renaissance themed birthday party is a time to let loose in such a way that you can offer so much diversity. The costumes that your guests can wear vary from the simplest to the most extravagant and exaggerated ones. If your budget allows it, you can offer unlimited punch drinks in barrels and use some old utensils and goblets for dining. If you have limited resources, you can still make the illusion of excessive food and drinks by using props. Medieval and Renaissance is a good theme you can move around in especially if you want to have all sorts of things in your debut celebration. So let’s get started.
Come Hither to our Fair Maiden’s Carouse!
The most obvious idea for your party invites is to make them into a scroll. Look for some brown burnt-looking scroll paper to print your invitation on. Then, burn the sides for some finishing touches.
For your Renaissance Faire debut celebration invitations, remember to include some Renaissance phrases such as “Hear Ye!” or “Hark Now!”
For some Renaissance Fair wordings or “Renspeak” ideas you can apply in your party invitations, visit these links:
Example of a Renaissance invitation would be:
“Lord Juan and Lady Celine dela Cruz request the honour of thy presence for the 18th birthday of their daughter, young maiden Katrina dela Cruz..”
Do not forget to state in your 18th party invitation that your debut party is a costume party. You can include some outrageous ideas like levying taxes for those who won’t come in a costume. To guide your guests, you can include ideas and suggestions for costumes – court jester, peasant farmer, a merchant, a lord, a dashing knight, a bar maid from the local pub, a lady in waiting, a gypsy, virgin maiden, a washer woman, nobility, etc. The more diverse your guests are, the more fun your party will be!
If you are going to include some obscure Olde English term, be sure to include a glossary of terms so that your guests can understand what you’re saying.
What to Wear
The best part of a Medieval / Renaissance inspired debut party are the outfits! Just as you want to look your part in your Renaissance themed debut celebration, you should also urge your guests to dress accordingly. If you don’t have their cooperation, you’ll lose a huge percentage of the essence of “Renaissance” in your debut.
There is a wide variety of Renaissance party costumes for men and women. Here are some looks that your friends and family can explore:
(Click image to see details and sources)
To see more Medieval and Renaissance looks and costume ideas, visit this site:
At the entrance to your venue, put a sign welcoming your guests to “The Pub” (your venue) and include your name and the celebration you’re having in Calligraphic font (Example: “Barrels and Goblets Pub –Welcome to Diana’s 18th Birthday Bash!). You may not be able recreate a Renaissance pub completely but this welcome sign may say it all at the first impression.
Visit http://www.nacarrousel.com/pub.html for signage styles.
Create your own streamers too! Cut as many 1” X 12” strips of colored scrap fabric as you want, then tie every piece in a knot onto a long piece of cord or rope. Space each strip several inches apart and let the edge dangle. These streamers can be hung around windows, doorways or they can also be used to enclose an activity area. The more personalized or home-made your decorations are, the more authentic your Renaissance fair themed venue will look.
If you have the budget, set up a Medieval / Renaissance fair atmosphere by setting up service booths, food stands and even an arts and crafts area. Booths that offer face painting, photo op booths, and henna are a great way for your guests to enjoy their time while waiting. Food stalls are also wonderful additions as they prevent your guests from getting cranky because of hunger. Then put up old stylized banners that label these services. This Renaissance fair atmosphere will excite your guests as they move around to see what’s in store for them. These booths however should only open at a certain time – you wouldn’t want your guests wandering around while your debut program starts, would you?
Hang tapestries on the walls and rent out armor suits to stand at your entryway. Put a signage at the comfort rooms that say “Ye Royal Chamber Pots”.
If possible, replace drinking glasses with big wooden or pewter goblets, steins, drinking mugs or beer mugs. Replace plates with oversized plain white paper plates, and napkins with paper towels.
Cover your tables with muslin, then hem the edges with ribbon to add color. You can also use linen tablecloths in earth tones like gold and forest green to provide an authentic finish.
If you are planning to throw a party like the “royalty”, use royal colors like royal red, black and purple. For your materials, use satins, velvets and other heavy fabrics that are known for their elegance and sophistication.
Party souvenir ideas
- Feathered pens
- Elegant-looking fans / feathered fans
- Wooden fans with tassels
- Feathered hair pieces
- Scented candles
- Miniature Goblets
- Loot bag with gold coins
- Medieval looking charm accessories like bracelets and cellphone trinkets
- Celtic molded soaps or chocolates
- Honey jar
Renaissance Faire Activities and Entertainment
Make your entrance a grand one! As you enter the venue, have your trumpeters play a grand tune. Then have your emcee read an announcement from a rolled up parchment in a bold voice – Example “Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome are dear debutante. A very fair maiden who will dazzle any gent with her beauty….”
A true renaissance party usually has magicians, mimes, jugglers, court jesters, and minstrels playing the lute. See if you can get your friends to volunteer as these characters! You can integrate brief entertainment from them throughout your debut program such as a live performance of classical music, brief sword fighting exhibit, juggling, magic and belly dancing.
Or you can also have these entertainers scattered around the venue while your guests are waiting for you to arrive. The key here is to keep your guests entertained all the time. You may also want to scatter a few gypsies, mystics and astrologers to read palms and do tarot cards.
Tell your emcee to study a bit of Renspeak, which she can include in her introductions and spiels. Visit http://www.renfaire.com/ for more valuable information about the Renaissance culture.
Front page image courtesy of Scrap Book Parade