«A Fool Goes to a Wedding»: The
Social, Visual, and Performative
Functions of the Wedding Banquet in
Early Modern Antwerp
This essay explores interactions among objects, texts, and audiences brought together by the temporal moment of the wedding banquet and the space of the early modern dining room in Antwerp. I pay special attention to contemporary accounts of wedding banquets from the correspondence of some of Antwerp’s leading citizens, to objects such as knives that were given as wedding gifts and often display themes of love and commitment, and to tafelspelen, or table-plays, which ofer an ephemeral and satirical take on the weddings of the urban elite. In the temporary moment of the wedding banquet theatrical texts, merchant class audiences, and luxury objects came together and interacted with one another, creating a liminal and unique space for the breaking down of social barriers and the forging of new alliances, which include – but were not limited to – the newly married couple for whom the banquet was held.