Dating customs elizabethan times
One common belief about the Renaissance is that children, especially girls, married young.In some noble houses marriages were indeed contracted at a young age, for reasons of property and family alliance, but in fact the average age of marriage was quite old--in the middle twenties.Funeral customs in Shakespearian times were quite different than they are today.It is interesting to compare and contrast the similarities.(In 1619, it was about 23 for women, 26 for men.) The age of consent was 12 for a girl, 14 for a boy, but for most children puberty came two or three years later than it does today.Oddly enough, there seems to be a period in the late sixteenth century when the mean marriage age of women in and around the area of Stratford-on- Avon dropped as low as 21 years: the mean marriage age from 1580 to 1589 was about 20.6 years, and it was in this decade that Shakespeare, at the age of eighteen, married Anne Hathaway.Children of noble birth ran a great risk if they tried to marry without the approval of their parents, since they would be left without resources.Marriage customs of the Elizabethan Era are not much different from the traditional marriages of today.
Processions accompanying the body of an aristocrat usually displayed banners with the family coat of arms.Like some religions, after the formal betrothal the banns were published (the announcement of the couple's intent to marry.) The minister publicly announced in church asking the gatherers if they might have any objection, and if so, to state so before the formal ceremony.If the couple wanted to hurry up the process, a special license from the bishop would be required.The reason for late marriage among labourers and the middle class was simple enough: it took a long time for a couple to acquire enough belongings to set up housekeeping, even in a room of their parents' home.Young love, however romantic, had to be kept in check if the two lovers were to survive in a world where subsistence earnings would not purchase a roof over their heads and put food on the table.
The entire party would then set off for the church.