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Renaissance rites could be right way to say `I do'

The bride wears a white gown, the groom a tux.

Yawn.But now, some in the wedding industry are out to shake up the traditional - or at least promote an alternative. And that just might be a wedding with some historical perspective.

Think Renaissance.

"It gives you the chance to get outside the norm," said Eve Powell-Orio, who married her husband, Guido Orio, in an Elizabethan-styled ceremony three years ago.

And it wasn't just a kooky thing that only the bride and groom enjoyed, the couple vowed.

"I couldn't believe how people got into it," Powell-Orio said.

The Long Beach, Calif., couple participated in a wedding extravaganza recently to spread the word - along with the help of those in the bridal industry - of the advantages of a Renaissance wedding.

And for Raye and Anthony Teluch of Scenery Hill, Pa., that meant a "handfasting ceremony," the Renaissance version of a wedding, held appropriately enough at the Brigadoon Castle, a bed-and-breakfast in the hills of Igo.

The Teluchs have a business that specializes in re-creating medieval and Renaissance events, so it made sense that they renewed their vows in a ceremony that reflects those times.

"It's a fantasy. It's a fairy tale," added Raye Teluch.

And for the couple that has been married for 13 years through the good and bad times, the chance to hold a Renaissance wedding made even more sense.

"Renaissance is rebirth . . . it's symbolic," she said.

Because the Teluchs do a lot of weddings, they decided to make their ceremony something of a demonstration for the bridal industry - involving all aspects of the celebration to show how a specialty wedding could be done.

That meant finding Connie Pedley of Yuba City, Calif., a wedding coordinator who specializes in unique weddings, and Diane Barr of Long Beach, who does authentic period costumes.

The bridal industry was also represented by the media - from production companies to wedding industry photographers and bridal magazine writers - there to do stories on the event.

After all, this is an industry where publicity is worth its weight in gold.

The event is "to get referrals and let people know we do theme weddings," said Carol Straughan of Redding, Calif., who operates Cake Creations and Tie the Knot, a wedding cake and marriage business.

So no one went without an authentic costume - not even the guests. The meal featured suckling pig. The cake had gold in it.

Costume designer Barr took great pains to make sure her creations were accurate, and no one went without a "costume check."

Still, not everyone wants complete authenticity, so some details are modified for the times.

Straughan made the wedding cake with a Renaissance theme, but it was not necessarily what would be served in a Renaissance wedding, she said.

In the Renaissance, "they would have a tower of sticky buns and have drizzled sticky stuff over it," she said. Taking a piece of cake meant pulling off a hunk of pastry.

Coordinators made sure that all the details of a traditional wedding were covered as well. That meant music (from a modern tape recorder) playing the hits of the 1500s, and dogs that roamed freely around the grounds.

The ceremony itself featured the groom presenting a sword to the bride and her gift of a jewel.

A Renaissance theme is just one of the specialty weddings becoming more popular, industry representatives said.