The Times West Virginian

January 14, 2014

Medieval-themed ceremony strong on romance

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The meeting of Tracie Rosumny and David Minor was from a romantic love story.

One fine spring day in 1998, as they passed each other crossing a bridge at a Dallas Renaissance fair, their eyes met.

But, this is modern-day life, so they didn’t stop and collapse into each other’s arms.

“We nodded and kept walking,” says Tracie Rosumny Minor with a laugh.

But she kept seeing him all throughout the day. Finally, when she saw him relaxing at a picnic table, she decided to take action.

“I’m gonna meet him,” she vowed. So she walked up to him and introduced herself.

The thing to do at Renaissance fairs is to dress in period garb. David was dressed to the hilt, complete with large sword slung over his back.

She complimented him and they started talking.

“And the rest is history,” she said.

Their wedding on Sept. 23, 2000, was a Medieval fairy tale.

Both had always been interested in the Renaissance era.

“It’s romantic,” she said. “The gowns were elaborate. The manners could be a bit overdone, you know, but it was the whole romance ... the knights and damsels, kings and queens and that sort of stuff.”

So of course they decided on a Renaissance-themed wedding.

And why not have it at the very fair where they met?

Romantic? Yes.

Fun? Of course.

Practical? No.

“They had wedding packages that were really beyond our means,” she said.

Plan B: They had a friend who knew of a “teeny, tiny fair” where they could get married ... for free.

“Now, that was in our budget!” She laughed.

Problem was no matter what site they chose, it wasn’t available.

That fairy tale wedding was slowly turning into a nightmare.

Their knight in shining armor was a friend who had a shop there with a stage in front of it “where nobody ever performed,” he told the couple.

“And that’s where we had it,” Tracie said.

Her wedding dress was a romantic vision of flowing white fabric and high corset.

“It was really a wedding dress,” she said. “It fit the costuming of the time but wasn’t really accurate.”

David’s costume, however, was as historically accurate and authentic as it could be, from the tam on the top of his head to the ghillies on his feet ... and, of course, the kilt.

“The whole get-up,” she said.

The tartan was the blue and green of the Campbell clan, to which Burns (a branch of his maternal line) could be traced.

Her daughter, Holly, was maid of honor and her cousin was bridesmaid.

They wore “Renaissance-flavored” gowns made from modern dress patterns. Holly wore the green of the groom’s kilt; the cousin wore the blue.

“It all tied in,” Tracie said.

It takes a long time to make this kind of magical wedding happen, about nine months, she said.

“The most important was to find the place,” she said.

Then there were the regular details that any wedding needs to be the experience of the lifetime it should be: renting tables and chairs, finding wine glasses, picking just the right cake topper.

“All those itty-bitty details,” she said.

And there were some not-so-usual problems.

They had to find a minister who would conduct the ceremony in costume. They did.

They chose to make their own wedding invitations.

And David even made his own costume.

None of this could have taken place without the help of their friends, she said. One friend even went to garage sales to find baskets for the reception “to keep costs down,” Tracie said.

Little touches like that made their wedding a much more personal affair.

While she said that many people who go to Renaissance fairs “sometimes carry it too far,” she added that her wedding included the tradition of “first night,” in which the bride-to-be could be kidnapped the night before her wedding by the lord of the land for his own pleasure.

While David and his groomsmen stayed at the wedding site for the bachelor party, Tracie and her party, plus an assigned body guard (a friend from Germany), stayed at a hotel.

“He took his job very seriously,” she said. “I could not leave my room or do anything without informing him.”

There were glitches in their getting hitched.

The bridal party was late because it took longer to get ready than she’d anticipated. Traffic from the hotel to the fair “was horrendous.” But that’s OK, because the minister was late, too.

Tracie had planned to ride in on a horse, but she was told because they were so late, the owner had put the horst away. No worries.

“I found her, hopped on the horse and she led us to the wedding,” Tracie said. Someone ran to her, and said, “Come on. Somebody’s waiting on you.”

Still, with all the preparation, anxiety and things gone wrong, she’d do it all over again, she said.

“Just not on the hottest day of the year,” she said, laughing. “It was supposed to only be 86 but it was closer to 100.”

And her in the long gown and the groom in his all-wool highland dress.

“They say women don’t sweat, but if you look at the pictures, you can see I sure was glistening a lot,” she said.

No matter what kind of wedding you plan, heed her advice.

“We did this on a broken shoestring budget. We did this as cheaply as possible. If you have the money, you can splurge.

“Don’t be rigid in your decisions. Allow for variations on the theme. Don’t be a bridezilla.

“And have fun. If you’re not having fun, then don’t bother.

“Stuff will happen, but if you meet the things that go wrong with a calm demeanor, it will usually work out.”

Email Debra Minor Wilson at