wedding celebrations have historically provided an opportunity for lavish displays of wealth, and ever since the late medieval period, sugar confectionery has been an important feature of European weddings. Like so many other cultural phenomena, sugar’s close relations to nuptial celebrations appears to have originated in Italy at the humanist courts. Important patrician wedding feasts in the early Renaissance were more like complicated theatrical performances than dinners. Costly confections, sweetmeats, and sugar sculpture often played their role in expressing power and status at more straightforward civic banquets, but when two powerful dynastic houses were joined in marriage, no expense was spared. See sugar sculpture.