I really wanted to get some of my mental jumping around about weddings down on paper, but this ended up being such a long and convoluted post that I’m not quite sure how to approach it. The intent was to give advice on how to actually run an event like a wedding (hence the title; I intend to follow up with other events you could run), but I ended up getting so caught up in the different wedding customs that I might have to get that out of the way first, before I get into how you actually run it.
The problem arose when I started on the all-important part – how to dress. When we think about weddings on Azeroth, our mind immediately leaps to the White Wedding Dress and the Tuxedo set. These are great, I agree, but they’re not exactly culturally suited to all the races – I can see a human, or a gnome, or even a dwarf in these, but can you imagine a typical night elf or draenei in them? With the possible exception of the undead or the blood elves, what Horde race would possibly wear something like that?
So first of all, before I even get into the details of how to run a wedding, I think we need to lay down what kind of cultural traditions, from clothes to wedding customs, we might see in World of Warcraft and how to fully take advantage of the differences between the races.
What To Wear
This isn’t exactly the most important of subjects, but I personally think it’s one of the most interesting to talk about – what do you wear to an Azeroth wedding? Well, I think we can break the customs about wedding gear into three broad categories, which for the purposes of this article, I’ll call Classic Western, Asianic Inspired and Tribal/Other.
To just quickly sum up what each of these means; the Classic Western is very much what we in Western society think of as being a ‘typical’ wedding, with the white gowns and the tablecloths and the champagne flutes. It’s a very formal affair, with simple colours (predominately white) and an elegant design.
The Asianic Inspired is derived from an amalgam of the customs of a number of Asian societies, ranging from China to India, and predominately features a lot more bright colours, typically reds and golds – to us, in our culture, it seems exotic. Please note that in saying this I’m not suggesting that Chinese and Indian ceremonies are particularly alike; just noting that our impression of them, and features that carry over into Azeroth, are derived from multiple Asian sources.
Lastly, the Tribal/Other, in-game encompassing the orcs, troll and tauren, is perhaps the hardest to define; taking inspiration from African tribal tradition and design (mostly for the orcs and partly for the trolls), Islander culture and voodooism (for the trolls, to some degree) and Native American culture (for the tauren), it is about concepts that we find it difficult to categorise and define particularly here at Blogatelle, but I think across our society as well. There’s a tendency for people, particularly in pop culture, to take these things and lump them all together as ‘tribalistic’, and while we don’t want to fall into this trap, we must note that within game, despite there being a wide range of source materials, there is a fair amount of overlap between the races, particularly in style of dress.
So, these definitions and explanations done, how do we show them in game?
Classic Western – This design is one definitely taken up by humans, and probably gnomes and dwarves as well. It would be very rare to see a night elf wed like this, and unheard of for the draenei. While blood elves may have weddings partly inspired by this style, they would probably go a different way for the most part, and whether the undead would take this route (assuming they’d even get married) largely depends on whether they were human or elf, and how they feel about wedding traditions now, beyond the grave.
The classic example is, as I mentioned above, the White Wedding Dress and the Tuxedo set. A tailor can make these items at 240 – 250 if they’ve got the pattern, and the white wedding dress requires level 30 to wear.
If you’re not level 30, or if you don’t know a helpful tailor, there are a few other options you could go for instead. The Neophyte’s Robe is appropriately low-level, if a bit hard to track down, and looks particularly good on a blood elf model. The Shimmering Silk Robes only require level 18, but they are a bit more grey in colour. I’m a bit of a fan of the Dustfall Robes, even though only the Alliance can get them, and then only if they’re high enough to venture into Hillsbrad.
For men, other clothing choices are a bit harder to come by, but do consider the Haliscan Jacket; it also requires tailoring 250, but it’s a particularly nice variant on the tuxedo jacket, in my opinion. Alternatively, a dwarf just can’t go past some variant on the kilt and a Common White Shirt.
Guests should wear just about any moderately nice robe they happen to have in their wardrobe – go easy on the weapons and headgear, sure, but it’s not all that hard to come up with something that looks pretty formal on the spot.
Asianic Inspired – The night elves and probably the draenei would be inclined to go something along these lines, and the blood elves would probably have ideas fairly heavily influenced by this style. It would be unusual but not completely unheard of for the odd human to have a wedding with this kind of influence, especially in more recent times as the Alliance comes closer together, but absurd for an orc or a troll and positively laughable for a tauren.
For the ladies, I think a good place to start would be one of the Festive Lunar Dresses or the Festival Dress; any of these would be easy to come by if you’ve played through a Lunar Festival event, though the latter requires 250 tailoring. As usual, these look great on the blood elves, but you can use it for any of the above. A plain Blue Linen Robe looks particularly good on a Night Elf, in my opinion, or could even be used in the Classic Western wedding.
For the blood elf men, we have the option of the Apothecary’s Robe; although it’s also a bit dark in colour, and can only be used by the Horde, it’s quite a sexy robe in practice. Alternatively, we have the Knitted Tunic, which is fairly easy to come by at a variety of levels; I particularly admire the buttons on the front, for the record. For a bit of a different style, I’m quite a fan of the Durable Robe, though you may have some trouble coming across one – if you particularly like this as an option, you may need to farm for it. For something with a bit more colour, either the men or the women could reasonably wear a Crimson Silk Robe or another brightly coloured robe of this design.
When it comes down to it, it’s hard to pinpoint the ‘rules’ of a night elf, blood elf or draenei wedding – the best advice I can offer is that don’t be afraid to go with more bright colours or different designs, and there’s quite a variety of options that could be plumbed. However, I think it’s highly unlikely that either brides or grooms of this variety would wear trousers to the wedding; it will mostly be skirts. Similar rules apply to the guests.
Tribal/Other – Possibly the hardest to define, given the variety of options, and I still don’t have a solid answer. I will happily take advice from you all on the subject of what an orc, a troll or a tauren would possibly wear to their wedding, as I’m finding it astonishingly difficult to reach a solid answer. However, I’ve got a few ideas I’d like to present.
As Sean observed recently, the orcs seem to have both African and Spartan origins. In light of this, I’d suggest a simple Brown Linen Vest for the men; it’s plain and Spartan, but neat, and could be well-matched with some nice pants and shirt.
The Spartan feel didn’t correspond well to the women in my mind, due to the differing views on women in combat, but extrapolating the orc culture to the Spartan mindset, I fell a little bit in love with the Tree Bark Jacket for a female orc; it’s stylish, elegant and tough, thus marrying both the feminity and warrior mindsets. I think it goes fairly well with the Colorful Kilt, too. This is, however, a very difficult item to track down, and you will almost certainly have to spend a lot of time farming if you want the Tree Bark Jacket.
As for the trolls and tauren; the trolls have a culture, currently, heavily inspired by the orcs, so would probably wear similar things. The tauren have been one of the hardest races to define, but given the inspiration in other ways of Native American culture, I think they could also match well with the Tree Bark Jacket or the Brown Linen Vest, though substituting something like the Pridelord Pants for the kilt.
This post has gone on for absurdly long without even getting past the clothing, so this is where I will stop for now; stay tuned for such details as wedding customs and how to actually run a wedding as a roleplay event.
Sorry for my rambling, but this ended up being surprisingly fun!