Dear Ashlyn Alarian,
I told you the family would go crazy. Have fun dealing with this.
The Aletheian Empire
has existed for thousands of years, incorporating a wide mixture of cultural norms into its many facets. With the elves came the blessings of nature; with the dwarves came rings forged of the finest metals, and with the humans came feasts, gowns and celebrations that differ from place-to-place. A couple marrying in Undria
, for instance, would embrace the city's shades of silver and black into their otherwise-white gown to indicate the many cycles they and their partner would endure, whilst a couple marrying in Sicyon
would instead wear the most fashionable and extravagant gowns they could possibly obtain.
Instead of focusing on the broad traditions that have evolved across the Empire, this article will instead detail the wedding traditions of Aletheia
- the capital city - and how they differ between nobility and peasantry.
Royal & Noble Weddings
The choice to hold their reception at a simple restaurant was... interesting, I would say. Perhaps an indicator of their current, ah, status.
The laws of Aletheian succession are simple: only those with outsider bloodlines may inherit the Empire. Whilst this only affects the royal family, elements of 'outsider culture' have become extremely popular in noble weddings, and many families will attempt to obtain aasimar, sylph, or other outsider bloodlines for their families in hope of raising their stature. Typically, royal weddings will be hosted in the Palace itself. Royal brides usually wear white dresses matched with gold and shades of either blue, red, or the colours of their homeland, and the entire palace is decorated to match. The groom wears a smart matching uniform, either in white, black, or a dark navy. If both are of the same gender, they may choose to wear suits, dresses, or mix the two - there are no restrictions, nor is there prejudice against this sort of marriage.
Wedding orchestras are dominated by string instruments, particularly harps, and will often feature azatas and angels who wish to welcome the newlyweds to the royal family. The actual ceremony takes hours. Speeches are given from both families, followed by the Emperor himself. Unless the couple has a specific priest in mind (usually due to their devotion to a specific religion) the High Priestess of Celesthem Temple
will officiate, and the two will declare their love and bond in the eyes of all the heavens. After they kiss, the ball begins, with exciting shows hosted by the nation's premier entertainers throughout the night. As the dancers tire, dinner is brought out as the ballroom transforms into a banquet hall, and the dinner entertainment begins. Further speeches and presentations are given from close friends and other family members of the couple, and lesser royalty/nobility will swear allegiance to the pair in honour of their new union.
Noble weddings are slightly less fanciful. Whilst some do manage to obtain the Palace, it is not exclusively set aside for them - they receive use of the Chapel, and perhaps the Ballroom, but no more, and are subject to restrictions on what they may do. Many instead choose to host their weddings in the nearby churches, usually choosing those of their own gods. Dresses are generally a mixture of the noble house's colours overlaid with gold, as are tuxedos, though some do choose the more traditional white. The structure of the night remains the same - speeches, marriage, ball, dinner, speeches - but goes on for far less time: those taking longer than a royal wedding are shunned afterwards for their disrespect.
Did you see their wedding?! It was so adorable! They danced together all night, and her dress was so pretty! I heard her mother made it for her. Such beautiful stitching!
Civilian weddings in Aletheia do not resemble those of the nobility. The lower classes can rarely afford such fanciful dresses and entertainment, nor would they care for exotic feasts or the political double-talk that goes on at such occasions. Instead, their weddings are born of happiness and love. Civilian weddings tend to be hosted at smaller chapels or outdoor gardens in the city's Bronze District, though some choose to be married at home. They are officiated by local priests who are only too happy to be involved, and each couple's family is heavily involved in the process. Food tends to be completely homemade but still feast-like in proportion, and the decor tends to be full of bright colours and flowers instead of the fanciful gold motifs of the royals. All wear their finest outfits, as if they were attending a day at church, including the groom. The bride, however, usually wears a dress handmade for her by either herself, her family, or her friends. This dress usually works in parts of her mother's gown, if it's available, and is tied up with ribbons. In lieu of a sparkling tiara, the bride wears a flower garland over a veil of gauze-like fabric (usually forms of organza, if they're available).
The Emperor honours these civilian weddings by sending each couple a small wedding gift - a hot meal from the royal kitchens, and a set of tools for each based on their professions. A seamstress marrying a wizard might receive a new sewing kit and a set of arcane inks, for example. The gesture is very much appreciated by the people of Aletheia, and helps to cement the Emperor as a beloved figure within the capital and lands beyond.