My twentieth high school reunion had a medieval theme. When I initially received the invitation from the event coordinator. I didn't plan on attending, but one of my old friends, Jeannie, called me up and talked me in to it. The unique invitations also made the event rather appealing. They were scrolls bearing a wax seal and tied with a red ribbon. Inside was written 'Thou art summoned to attend Broughton Comprehensive Schools 20th reunion' in calligraphic writing. Jeannie was somewhat of an expert on costumes since it turned out that she is a member of an historical preservation society with particular interest in medieval history. She helped me find something historically accurate as well as affordable.
I bought a plane ticket and made arrangements to stay with Jeannie and her husband for the weekend because my husband was on a business trip. I hadn't seen either of them since their wedding nearly fifteen years ago. Athough we had talked on the phone and sent Christmas cards over the years, I was really excited about seeing them.
We took our time getting dressed on the afternoon of the reunion. Jeannie and her husband, Michael, looked perfect in Medieval Scottish noble costumes--wearing their finest linens and wool tartan. I wore a simple blue, cotton, peasant dress with a white linen blouse underneath. I had my hair braided and put into a bun.
The event coordinator and rented an authentic medieval manor house for the occasion. The house was decorated with a few authentic medieval antiques, but mostly reproductions of furnishings, artwork and tapestries from the 16th century. In the great hall heraldric banners hung from the open beamed ceiling and a group of Musicians played period wind and string instruments near the huge stone fireplace. White candles were placed in metal sconces on the walls and in the wood and metal chandelier. A huge banqueting table stood in the centre of the room. I felt as if I had gone back in time.
Although I was dressed as a peasant woman, I received the same royal treatment as all my old classmates. I was amazed by the number of people who showed up. Apparently, putting a medieval twist had a wide appeal. I guess people really love playing dress-up. Many of my classmates brought their cameras and a few also brought video cameras to record the action and antics. I don't know how many times I was asked to say, "Cheese". I also and took lots of photos with the disposable camera I bought.
A separate table was set up at one side of the hall with trays of sliced vegetable, cheeses, crusty bread and a tasty spinich dip for everyone to snack on whilst we mingled, chattered and admired each others costumes. At the centre of the table stood a two tiered ice carved fruit bowl filled with seasonal fruits.
About an hour after we arrived, waiters dressed as servants began setting the banquet table for dinner. Tapestry runners were laid down the centre of the table and beautiful silver candle sticks placed on top at regular intervals. Baskets of freshly baked bread were placed between each pair of candle sticks. Each place was set with pewter dishes, a metal goblet and a set of utensils on linen napkins.
Dinner was an authentic and delicious medieval feast. The first course was a hearty vegetable soup served in a round loaf of bread. The main course was a choice of Cornish game hen or lamb, honey glazed carrots or asparagus (potatoes hadn't been brought from the New World in the 15th century) and pecan pie and fruit tarts for dessert. Each course was served by waiters dressed as servants who also carried jugs of wine and ale to refill our goblets.
A special cake in the shape of a medieval castle had been ordered by the coordinators. It was delicious and we enjoyed slices of it with our after dinner coffee and brandy.
After dinner, Jeannie, with the help of some of our classmates, demonstrated line dancing and once we saw how easy they were to learn everyone joined in. Line dancing is a great way to get the guests to mingle since you are always trading partners and moving around the room. Everyone had a fantastic time. Jeannie and Michael were dubbed Lord and Lady of the manor.
Everyone got to take home their metal goblet as a memento. Each one was engraved with the name of our school and date of our 20th reunion. Everyone was also given a printed booklet of contact information for all the attending alumni to make keeping in touch easier.
Weeks later we were still trading pictures of the event. A friend of mine even created a special web page and put a bunch up for everyone to see.