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Elizabethan Marriage/Wedding Customs

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Andrew Horton

on 24 April 2014

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Transcript of Elizabethan Marriage/Wedding Customs

Elizabethan Wedding Customs - Arranged Marriages and Contracts
Elizabethan Wedding Customs - The Age of Consent
Elizabethan Church Wedding Information
Elizabethan Wedding Customs - The Bridegrooms Wedding Clothes
Elizabethan Wedding Reception & Food
Marriages were frequently arranged so that both families involved would benefit. Marriages would be arranged to bring prestige or wealth to the family. The children of landowners would be expected to marry to increase the size of the acreage.
With parental permission it was legal for boys to marry at 14 and girls at 12 although it was not usual or traditional for marriages at such young ages. The age of consent was 21 and boys would generally not marry until this age.
Weddings were always a religious ceremony, conducted by a minister. The religions varied but the legal process prior to the wedding was always the same. There were no Registry Office marriages or marriages conducted by a Justice of the Peace. The first stage was Crying the Banns, announcing a couples intention to marry. The same procedure still applies to Church marriages in England today.
The Bridegroom wore his best clothes which consisted of a doublet, breeches, hose, box pleated neck ruff and a cod piece. A cloak might also be worn and a pair of boots. Elizabethan men usually wore a short shift as an undergarment. A bridal procession would move from the family's house to the church. This was a particularly festive event and the procession would be accompanied by musicians.
Wedding invitations were not issued. People lived in small communities and knew what was happening in common life. It was an Elizabethan Wedding custom to celebrate the marriage with a wedding feast. The special feast had to be carefully planned. The menu was discussed and arrangements for acquiring the content of the more exotic dishes, such a peacock, had to be made.
By Roberto Romano
& Andrew Horton
Elizabethan Marriage/Wedding Customs
Elizabethan Wedding History - The importance of marriage to an Elizabethan woman
During the Elizabethan era of history women were very much 'second class citizens'. Regardless of their social standing they were expected to marry. Single women who were thought to be witches by their neighbours... Elizabethan marriages were sometimes arranged immediately following a babies birth via a formal betrothal.
Elizabethan Wedding History - The Dowry
The dowry was an Elizabethan Wedding custom which benefited the husband. A dowry was an amount of money, goods, and property that the bride would bring to the marriage. It was also referred to as her marriage portion. The law gave a husband full rights over his wife. She effectively became his property.
Elizabethan Wedding Contracts
Should a couple need to marry in haste an alternative, faster, route to legalizing a marriage required a Marriage Bond which acted as a contract, security and proof to a Bishop that the issue of a Marriage Licience was lawful. Elizabethan wedding customs and contracts would have required that his father would have had to agree to the marriage.
Elizabethan Wedding Customs - The Wedding Dresses
The bride did not wear a white wedding dress, this was a later tradition. Instead she would wear her best gown and kirtle , or even a new gown if the money was available. The gown would cover most of the body and would be full length. A cloak was used as an outer garment. Unmarried girls were allowed to wear there hair loose but once married it had to be hid beneath a bonnet. Wealthy brides had garments which were adorned with jewels and gold and silver thread. It was also traditional to carry a bouquet. A bride would have bridesmaids and these would be similarly attired.
Elizabethan Wedding Customs - The ceremony
Once at the church the ceremony would be a solemn one. In Elizabethan times everyone would stand as there were no pews in the churches. When the marriage ceremony was over the wedding procession would return to their homes. The families of the couple would sometimes enjoy a wedding feast and were wished a long and happy life.
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