Marriage age rights; after 1823, a male could marry as young as fourteen without parental consent, and a girl at 12. Most girls, however, married between the ages of 18 and 23, especially in the upper classes. An unmarried women of 21 could inherit and administer her own property.
Marriage; it was illegal to marry a deceased wife's sister, but could marry first cousins. Many marriages were considered a business deal and very few started with love. The years under Queen Victoria’s reign (from 1837 to 1901) saw fewer marriages arranged by families, and more romance between couples. Young people from both upper and lower classes had opportunities to mingle in a supposedly safe environment with members of the opposite sex.
Engagement; the man would ask the girl's father for their consent in marriage. The father of the bride would make a dinner and announce the wedding engagement. Each guest bows to the son while lifting a glass. The mother of the groom should invite both the family of the expectant bride and herself to a dinner as soon as possible after the formal announcement of the wedding engagement. They should meet and make friendships at once.
Family Lower Class; usually had more than five children and usually overcrowded. Generally married when they were younger and couldn't afford health care. Had high death and crime rates. Children worked very long hours on dangerous jobs on low wages, which contributed to the family budget.
Family Upper/Middle Class; families were very important, and consisted of five to six children. Lived in big, comfortable homes, and the fathers were head of the household. Servants did the housework instead of the mothers, and mothers planned parties and visited friends instead of working. Children were mainly raised by nannies. Members of the family had to work 13 and a half hours a day for six days of the week.