Must one be invited to an event by another member or can one just show up?
Regarding membership, do they have a class to introduce newcomers to the group or does one just have to research all that?
I liked the part about the names. That was interesting.
I didn't realize how much work you guys put into doing that!
About costumes, can you order them somewhere or do they all have to be homemade?
Do people try to do Lord of the Rings names like Eomer or Aragorn?
You can just show up at an event - but I would suggest first looking around for a chapter in your area. Go to a couple of meetings (ours are once a month) so you can meet people on a more casual basis. Most of our business meetings are no costume required. Also you can find a friendly face to tell you about what is going on before you get to your first event.
That also gets you info on newcomer stuff. You are mostly on your own as to how much research you WANT to do. You can find any amount of help if you ask.
You can buy or make your costume - your choice - however, I have found buying can be very expensive, if your taste in garb goes up. Start simple. Of course I have known ladies to show up to theire first event in Elizabethan, too.
Names can get tricky - you should try to pick out a name that *could* have existed prior to 1600 AD but not someone famous or a fantasy name.
You could by a Catherine of Penny Whistle but not a Catherine the Great or you could be Hagar the Smelly but not Hagar the Horrible. So no Lord of the Ring names.
You might meet someone with those kind of names but they are either not "official" or they have been in since year one when no one cared about it.
There is a website call the Academy of St Gabriel that has a LOT of articles about names. Just don't pick a name right away because it "sounds medieval" Believe it or not Gwendoline is NOT medieval.
We had one of our guys go by "Tim - just Tim" for a couple of years before he "became" Timothy the Just (sometimes a name just "finds you")
I have found that if you start to look at "costume books" (otherwise known as art books, the ones with ALL the great Master's paintings in them) and find a style that you like, one that you think that you would be comfy in. Find out when and where it was painted and go from there. (French, 1400's) you can then forget about looking at names from Sweden in the 800's.
ACK - this got long - sorry, the Herald in me comes out at times, We do like to hear our own "voices"
ETA- At least this is how it works in the Middle Kingdom - I am from Ohio - The name thing though is Society wide.
Where about do you hail from Ginlyn32? just the state would help us figure out where you would belong.