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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Regency Society of Virginia do?

We’re primarily a group of folks who love the period between 1790-1820 and want to recapture the spirit of that elegant age through a variety of events (dances, lectures, picnics….you name it!).   While providing Regency-themed groups and interested individuals opportunities to socialize with like-minded people is a big part of what we do, we’re also eager to expand our knowledge of this most fascinating period and, with any luck, pass on that same interest and knowledge to others.  We’re always looking for ideas for gatherings.  If you have one, feel free to let us know by e-mailing us at events@varegency.org.

What exactly is the “Regency”?

The Regency era was a period in British history between 1811 and 1820 when King George III was declared unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, was appointed Regent (hence the term “Regency”) to rule in his stead.  Often, however, the term is applied to a broader period of time that extends back to the late 18th century and shares similar political and cultural trends with the years of the technical “Regency” era. 

Other nations refer to the same general time by names that are more reflective of their own history.  In the United States, for example, the last decade of the 18th century is known as the Federal (or Federalist) period and roughly the first two decades of the 19th century are designated as the Jeffersonian period.  These monikers are derived from the names of the political movements directing the US government at that time.  In France, the same era is known as the Directoire and Empire periods after the governments (the Directory from 1795-1804 and Napoleon’s consulate from 1804-1815) which presided over late- and post-Revolutionary France.

Do I have to dress up?

Only if you want to!  While there are certain events for which we encourage participants to wear their Regency finery, we rarely require it.

Do I have to be a member to participate?

While we do have a few “Members Only” events and require one to be a member to join our forum or vote on RSV business, the majority of our events are open to everyone.

What sort of authenticity standards do you have?

The only time that we have "authenticity standards" of any sort is when we are invited to participate at a function hosted by another group whose purpose in asking us is to present a picture of early 19th century life for the public.  Otherwise, we don't generally require period attire at our own events.  The RSV is not a re-enacting/living history group, per se.  We're an umbrella organization welcoming of those with interests which touch on a variety of topics.  As such, we recognize that not all of our members will be deeply invested in historic costuming.  Usually, though, the folks who do come out in costume make a good faith effort to be as authentic as their knowledge and budget allows and we expect that those efforts will be respected by fellow participants.  After all, everyone starts somewhere!   Part of the fun of our group, however, is expanding our knowledge of the period and, as we are very fortunate to have members who are extremely knowledgeable about fashion history and construction techniques, we delight in being able to not only learn from them but admire their meticulously detailed creations as well!

How much does it cost to participate?

We make every effort to charge nothing or very little at all for our events.  Where we do charge, it is only to cover our costs (for facility rental, speaker fees, etc.).  If you wish to become a member, there are annual membership fees which vary according to the type of membership you choose.   (By the way, members are often given discounts at events which, depending upon how often you participate with us, can cover much of the cost of your membership!)

Where do I sign up to become a member?

You can sign up online (and pay for your membership via PayPal) by going to our membership page.

Where do I get the clothes?

If you sew, there are a number of patterns available that will give you the Regency look with varying degrees of accuracy.  If you don’t sew, there are also several merchants available who will custom-make clothing for you.  (While it certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, check out our Links and Resources page to get pointed in the direction of patterns and custom-made clothing.)  If there's an event coming up and you don't have time to acquire or construct clothing, many of our members are willing to loan their own garments to allow new folks to participate in the fun.  Members are welcome to post requests for clothing in our Member Forum.

Can my children come out with me?

In general, yes!  We consider ourselves to be a family-friendly organization and ask our membership and guests to be respectful of that.  Some programs are less appropriate for children than others, however.  We ask parents to use discretion when making a decision as to when to bring their children along. 

Can I connect with you via social media?

We may be into the 19th century but we are all about 21st century communication!  You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.  And don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list!

Do I have to register for events in order to participate? 

In most cases, we're not going to turn you away "at the door" if you haven't registered for an event.  However, registering not only helps our volunteers who organize events, it allows us to communicate important information about the event to you (such as providing contact information or informing you of cancellations due to weather).   In other words, by registering, you're not only assisting us with planning, you're giving yourself the best chance to stay in the know about an event.

Oh no!  I missed a deadline to register for an event I would really like to attend!  Can I still come to it?

Since our group is completely run by volunteers, we usually set a deadline by which we ask folks to register so that those members who are giving of their time to organize events have a good idea of a head count with a reasonable amount of time left to plan before the event.  That said, we can often accommodate late-comers even after the deadline.  Simply send us an e-mail at info@varegency.org and we can let you know if fitting you into the event is possible or not.

Do you have speakers who could come out and talk about early 19th century history with our group?

The RSV has a number of members who have studied various topics and are willing to speak to groups.  Please contact us at info@varegency.org for more information about having someone come out to talk with your organization about our favorite period in history!

How do I get the latest news on the RSV without having to check the website all the time?

The best way to keep up with us is to sign up for our mailing list.  (Members are automatically added to our mailing list so that they can get the latest information.)  We try to send an e-newsletter out monthly and reminder e-mails before events.  If you're a member, you can log in and change your profile settings to subscribe to our News, Events, and Member Forum topics to get e-mail alerts when new items are posted.

I live outside of Virginia but I would love to come to one of your events.  May I?

Of course!  The more, the merrier!  And, if you’d like to participate with a Regency group more often, may we humbly suggest that you check to see if there is a Regency Society of America affiliate in your state?   We also welcome those from outside of the Commonwealth to join as members if they so choose...in fact, our current membership includes folks from nine other states besides Virginia!

Do you ever have events near ______?

We make an effort to have events in a wide variety of locations throughout Virginia since our membership hails from all across the Old Dominion, however, our event locations naturally favor the areas where our membership is most concentrated.  Our goal, of course, is to become a truly statewide organization.  If you live in a region where the RSV is currently not very active, we are searching for folks willing to be a point of contact, to help organize, or to offer knowledge of possible venue spaces for events.  Having someone ready to do any of these things makes an event in your locality much more feasible and the RSV will happily assist in any way possible.  Want to help out?  E-mail us at info@varegency.org.

I have a Regency-themed business or group.  Could I get a link to my business/group on the RSV site?

We are happy to post a link to period appropriate sites.   (The RSV, of course, reserves the right to refuse to post links it deems irrelevant or inappropriate to the RSV and/or its purposes.)  The following businesses/organizations may also add a small graphic ad in addition to a link:

·         RSV members in good standing who own Regency-appropriate businesses,

·         Businesses or venues which donate or significantly discount space/products/services for the RSV’s benefit,

·         Virginia-based non-profit Regency-period relevant groups (e.g. English country dance groups, re-enactment units, active JASNA chapters, etc.) which post a link to the Regency Society of Virginia on their own website.

And, of course, Regency-appropriate businesses who would love to take advantage of a ready-made market by offering discounts to our paying members are given special recognition by being put first on our list of Links and Resources and are promoted as "RSV Member Friendly Merchants ."  If your business is interested in supporting us while promoting yourself, be sure to contact us at info@varegency.org.

Have a question that hasn’t been answered here?  E-mail us: info@varegency.org


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