A Renaissance Birthday: Hark as we tell Tales of a Beauteous Faire!

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:

http://home.wwdb.org/atkinsonk/public_html/Basic_Faire_Speech.html

http://www.cloudnet.com/~renfest/renspeak.htm

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:

IMAGE GALLERY
(Click image to see details and sources)

To see more Medieval and Renaissance looks and costume ideas, visit this site:

http://www.renaissancecostumesclothing.com/

Party Decorations
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.

Party Decorations

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
  • Masks
  • 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.

Sources:

Front page image courtesy of Scrap Book Parade

20 comments

  1. Hello!…

    I will be celebrating my 18th birthday this July and I’m planning to have a fairy theme. I would just like to ask for your suggestions regarding the invitation wording, songs to be used and the souvenirs to be given…thank you!

    1. Hi Julie,

      For wordings on your invites, how about “Our Julie the fairest maiden there is. Is inviting you to her birthday, would you come pretty please?” With regards to the songs, I would suggest that you go for classical music because this adds to your ambiance of fairies taking flight. Souvenirs can be many things. It can be miniature wings, bottle containers with pixie dust (glitter), bottled potpourri, fairy figurines, scented candles, potted plants or flowers, etc. Hope this helps Julie and happy birthday.

    1. Hi Iana!

      A simple format can be:

      [Your parents name] request
      the pleasure of your company at a dinner dance celebration of the 18th Birthday of their Daughter

      [Your name in a big font]

      To be held on Friday the 25th of December 2010 [just an example]
      at Manila Hotel Philippines, Diamond Ballroom
      at Roxas Boulevard corner Dr. J. Quintos Street, Manila

      18 Roses
      ….
      18 Candles

      18 Treasures

      18 Wines

      Attire:
      Male: Formal
      Female: Cocktail Dress

  2. hi debutideas,

    i want a modage [ modern vintage ] theme party. could you help me? please. not too much of a vintage. what can i replace for the traditional 18’s? what gowns, invitation, and the design for the venue. ty

  3. hello debut ideas! i just want to ask somethng.. first, i actually want hollywood glam as my theme.. its motiff is somewhat red,black,white,etc right? but i’m not that fond of red, so i was thnking i could change it to a warm, barbie pink instead. so it’ll be pink,black,etc. and then i saw the beautiful concept of magkaribal everytime the show starts. so now i’m thinking, i want to put those two together, coz i think both could blend in. lastly, because of my love for PINK, i’m now thinking i want it to be somehow Barbie-inspired. A very much girly pink theme, but not the usual. Can you maybe help me please?ü Thanks a lot!ü

    1. Hi Monique,

      You made the right choice because we really don’t suggest a motif that’s too mature like red and black. Pink, black and white is cool. Have you visited these pages too?

      Warm Colors for your Debut Party Motif — http://debutideas.com/?p=1115
      More on Color: Think Turquoise! — http://debutideas.com/?p=1239

      We have suggestions there for color combinations. Anyway, maybe you can go for a Barbie Glam party in which Barbie goes to Hollywood. You can still have a carpet, but instead of a red carpet, make it a pink one! Hire people who will serve as paparazzis who will take your picture every now and then. While entering the venue, paparazzis will flock you and take your pictures as you pose for them just like a hollywood celebrity! A cool accessory you can use is an Award. You can hold that award during the entire program like you just won the best actress award from Oscars.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  4. i forgot to mention this.. if i’m going for barbie theme i want to also use black with pink so that it won’t look so pambata. thanks again!ü

  5. Hi. I want my debut theme to be Romeo and Juliet-ish.
    Can you suggest some gown ideas for me as well as for my guests?
    If it’s okay, can you also provide pictures of it?
    Thanks!

  6. These are great ideas, but where do you have such a party? Do you have to decorate everything yourself or can you hire people to do this?

    1. Hi Lainie,

      Yes definitely you can do it yourself, but that will take skill, time and effort. If time is not a problem, you may DIY. There are, however, coordinators and party planners who are willing to do your every whim. If you have a certain theme in mind, they will do it for you. Just be aware that this will probably cost you more. You will be lucky to find some party planners who already have your props in their storage (they may have used it with other events) so you just have to add some to make it a little unique. Not all party planners though have every prop you need and some theme props may be harder to create than others, but if you talk openly to your planner on what you want for your party and taking into consideration your budget, you might be able to make some kind of compromise and plan the theme that you want and create the props that will make it happen. For a list of party planners around the metro, click here. Hope this helps.

  7. Hello. I have read some of your articles. I am glad your website are helping us to plan for our 18th birthday. I will turn 18 this April. I have decided a theme of pink color and a princess. Actually, the venue, decorations, foods are all settled. My problem is, I can’t think any alternative for the 18 candles, roses that suits to my theme. Any invitation deigns you can suggests? Can you please help me? Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Em-Ey,

      For your 18s, you can have 18 princesses, 18 fair maidens, 18 damsels in distress for your 18 candles. 18 princes, 18 knights, 18 dukes, 18 kings for 18 roses. 18 treasures, 18 gems, 18 jewels, 18 crowns, 18 kingdoms for 18 gifts. For your invites, you can have scrolled invites. You can print out your invites in a white bond paper and then burn the edges to make it look old and then roll it into a stick. Hope this helps.

  8. hi there debut ideas! i will be celebrating my 18th birthday this coming april 18, and i really dont know what theme should i use because of a low budget.. i want a simple but elegant and unique party. my motif is purple and black, do you have any suggestions for the theme and motif? should i change my motif? by the way, my party will be held at a garden. thank you! hope you could help me with this. 🙂

  9. Hi, My sister is going to throw a masquerade party and she needs a program for her party. I really like the picture above with mask and damask can u tell me who made this so I can inquire? Thank you.

    1. Hi Maritess,

      There are actually different places where you can find masquerade masks. Divisoria and Quiapo are great places to go. They have plain masks as well as various materials that you can use to create a grandiose mask like glitters, feathers, ribbon or lace. If you want something already made you can check out the masks by Katrina Pallon. Hope this helps!

  10. Hi!
    My Sister is celebrating her 18th bday on May 05, the theme will be Victorian Era. Her stage will be like a victorian living room. Right now we are thinking of putting a Victorian chair/throne , and Victorian lamps on her stage, but the difficult part is we cannot find any supplier where we can rent this things. Can you give me some advice where we can find this things?

    Thanks and God Bless!

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