Marriage Customs. With parental permission, it was legal for boys to marry at the age of fourteen. It wasn't uncommon for girls to marry at the age of twelve, but the age of consent was at twenty-one, so most men married at that time. Before marriage, a woman is required to provide a dowry to her husband. Once a woman was married, however, she was complete property to her husband. They couldn't inherit property or title, which would be passed to brothers. They were expected to show obedience to their husbands and male relatives. Disobedience was met with beatings or whippings. Since a woman was seen as weak of mind and body, she needed a man to guide and rule them.
"Elizabethan Wedding Customs." Elizabethan Wedding Customs. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
Medici, Anthony G. "Society and Culture in Shakespeare’s Day." The Facts On File Companion to Shakespeare. William Baker and Kenneth Womack. Vol. 1. New York: Facts on File, 2012. 24-45. Facts On File Library of World Literature. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
A betrothal was often a formal ceremony that might be performed in front of a priest at the church door. In most cases, betrothal may lead to marriage after a month or two; or they could wait for years.
Grendler, Paul F. Encyclopedia of the Renaissance. Machiavelli-Petrarchism. Vol. 4, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 199
Betrothal Customs. At a betrothal, the couple joins hands and man places the ring on the woman's right hand. They confirm it with a kiss and sign. It can be invalidated if they both agree to it, but if the man breaks it without good cause, he has to return the dowry.
"Betrothal and Wedding." Life in Elizabethan England 9: Weddings and Betrothals. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.
A dowry is the money or goods a woman brought to marriage. Without a dowry, usually provided by a bride's family, she could not get wed. In unregulated areas, dowries could be so expensive that families couldn't afford to pay it. Lower-class girls usually had to work as household servants to get money so they could become wives.
Netzley, Patricia D. Life during the Renaissance. San Diego, CA: Lucent, 1998. Print.
Wedding Rings. Wedding rings in Elizabethan England were a symbol of love. Women put them on their ring finger (like present day) because it was said that there was a vein that lead straight to the heart in it. Diamonds were popular as the crystal that went inside of the ring.
"The Marriage Ring." Life in Elizabethan England 76: The Marriage Ring. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Mar. 2017.
3DCrabtree. "English Presentation Elizabethan Courtship and Marriage." YouTube. YouTube, 08 Dec. 2016. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.