Dance styles for historical weddings

17 Dec 2014

Dance styles for historical weddings

Do you want to bring the glamour and romance of days gone by to your wedding day? Dances and music immediately evoke a sense of the time they were performed in and, with a few simple touches, you could create a historically themed wedding giving your guests something to talk about and making it a day to remember.


Knights and their ladies, candle-lit halls and sumptuous velvets spring to mind in this era. Suitable lighting, banquet-style food and rich colours could easily transform your venue into a medieval castle, with entertainment including period music and dances from the time – simple ‘branles’, or circle dances, are easy enough for everyone from your youngest to oldest guests to take part in.


Queen Elizabeth I’s court could bring elegance, refinement and a touch of showing off to your day. Purples and golds to show your regal connections, a few Shakespearian sonnets to set the tone and some Elizabethan dancing for the men to show off their fine legs(!) would create a day full of etiquette and elegance.


While the Stuart period was a time of turmoil in British history, it was also a time of ringlets, embroidery and lace (for the men and women) giving plenty of opportunity to add some romantic flourishes to your day. The music and dances tended to be upbeat and fun too, perfect for your evening entertainment. (This style also works well for a pirate themed wedding – think Keira Knightly and Orlando Bloom in Pirates of the Caribbean).


Fancy yourself as Elizabeth Bennett or Mr Darcy, or want to recreate the scenes of Sense and Sensibility? Regency could be the period for you. With your men in tailcoats and bridesmaids in full length empire line dresses, you’re already halfway to recreating a scene straight from Pride and Prejudice. With lots of dances involving long lines of people with simple repeating steps, there’s a chance for all of your guests to have a go.

There are historical dance groups across the country which specialise in different eras, so the chances are there will be someone who can help you make your historical dreams come true



This post was written by Louise Manico from Renaissance Historical Dance Society (@RHDSociety), based in the South West. They cover all the historical periods mentioned above, performing display dances and leading dance sessions while in full, historically accurate costume.

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