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Marriage Feast

When noble families get married, the celebration lasts for a week. Noble Marriages are the perfect excuse to spend unnecessary amounts of money in putting up the party to end all parties (at least until the next marriage celebration), and so it is no surprise that the food eaten during the celebration is of particular importance.   Although the individual components of each meal vary according to availability in each kingdom, the overall idea and symbolism of the menu is followed by almost all the nobility of the known world. Some common folk have also adopted a simplified (and much cheaper) version of the tradition for their own ceremonies.


Marriage feasts had always been a staple of marriage celebrations for nobles (one can hardly see the point of a party without food, after all). However, it was only since the time of King Metric, the Astanian ruler famous for wanting to measure and standardise everything his tiny hands could touch, that the procedures for a proper Marriage Feast were written down and spread beyond Astania's borders.   Astania was, at the time, the most developed kingdom in the known world, so other noble families and other royal families were keen to emulate what they considered the most "advanced" trends in society. The basics of the tradition have existed for such a long time, however, that each kingdom has made their own "flavour" changes to the basic "recipe" of the feat, making it truly their own.


The basic rules for the proper Marriage Feast, as originally established by King Metric, are as follows:   1. First impressions are key to the success of any grand event. To this end, on the first day of festivities, guests must be received with the most expensive local delicacy in abundant quantities. Provide more than they can eat, and let the waste of your precious resource serve as demonstration of your wealth (though you may gift the left-over food to your servants and demonstrate your generosity instead).   2. On the second day of festivities, guests should be given time to rest from their long journey and excessive banquet on the previous night. Serve soups and bread. Fresh vegetables and fruits are also desirable.   3. The third day of festivities is the day before the ceremony. Entice the guests with previews of your main attraction by serving smaller "tasters" of tomorrow's menu. Leave out the main dish of the celebration, however, so as to keep some element of surprise for the next day.   4. On the evening of the marriage ceremony, the main dish should consist of the most expensive meat available stuffed with a paste made of lentils (symbolising money), banana (for fertility), broccoli (for a flourishing, healthy relationship), and beetroot (to give the paste a nice purple colour). The new couple must cut open the stuffed carcass together and serve the guests in order of rank. The first to be served must be the parents of the visiting family as a show of utmost courtesy and respect. The last to be served (other than the couple) must be the parents of the hosting family as a sign of goodwill and humility.   5. On the fifth day of festivities, guests will once again be resting after the main part of the ceremony is over. Make soups and bread abundantly available for all guests. The newlyweds should be given their own special menu, consisting of two oven-baked whole rabbits glazed with honey and served with pomegranate seeds and steamed sprouts. The purpose of this meal is to improve the couple's fertility and hasten the production of their first child.   6. On the penultimate day of festivities, the newlyweds will once again be allowed to dine with the guests. The reunion is to be marked by foods symbolising good fortune, such as lentils, oranges, corn, and game meats. This is the occasion to bring out the best drinks available, as their quality can only be appreciated after the frenzy of the party is over and normal standards of behaviour are once again expected. Wine is preferred to ale or spirits, however this rule is not strict and depends on regional specialities.   7. The last day of festivities is a day for closure. Guests are expected to leave early in the morning of the next day, so the closing dinner is expected to be plentiful without excesses. Avoid foods containing too much fat and meat, which are heavy and slow the travellers down. Favour fibrous breads, green vegetables, and lean, steamed meat. This dinner should start earlier than other meals so that there is enough time for guests to say their formal goodbyes and close off any remaining business.   8. The morning of departure is no longer officially part of the celebration, but it is considered good manners if the hosts provide their guests with a breakfast similar to the closing dinner and prepare meals for those travelling far away to be taken on board. Gracious hosts should also provide small gifts to guests.


The Marriage Feast involves the host family, the guests for the wedding, and the wedding couple. The host family is the noble family with whom the new couple will spend most of their married life (usually one of their parents). Guests include other noble families, the local royalty, and any other person of significance to the couple (including lovers). The host family will be responsible for the feast, allowing the wedding couple to spend as much time together as possible.


A Marriage Feast is expected at every wedding ceremony involving someone of noble birth.

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