There is much speculation going on as to the preference I shall give & tho I do not intend to practice one Coquettish air as you are pleased to call my little innocent gaieties yet for my own amusement do I intend to leave these speculating geniuss to their own conjectures for some time at least till I have made up my mind as to the time—for you must know I know I mean make one Surprize do for all by being married off hand—believe me it is impossible for me to think too long on the subject lest I should in truth be whimsical.” (Eliza Ambler to Mildred Smith, February 1785.)“It has ever been my wish to keep my Daughters single ‘till they were old enough to form a proper judgment of Mankind; well knowing that a Woman’s happiness depends entirely on the Husband she is united to; it is a step that requires more deliberation than girls generally take, or even Mothers seem to think necessary; the risk tho always great, is doubled when they marry very young; it is impossible for them to know each others disposition; for at sixteen and nineteen we think everybody perfect that we take a fancy to . With the rise of the affectionate family, arranged marriages became a thing of the past.While parents expected to be consulted and offered advice or criticism freely, men and women chose their own marriage partners, and parents usually accepted their children’s choices.
Like the courtship, the wedding preparations followed rules that were designed to involve the community, both for the public record and communal memory.After they became betrothed, the couple met with the minister to discuss the ceremony and their religious obligations to one another.Hannah Powell may have been married at Bruton Parish due to its proximity to her home.Whatever the location or time, however, the ceremony was the same.A marriage license could be obtained from the county clerk instead of posting banns, but this was rarely done.
The time and place of a wedding were largely determined by convenience.
A couple issued verbal invitations to family and friends, who gathered in the morning at the minister’s home or in the bride’s parlor; few weddings occurred in churches.
Although the Bishop of London ordered that weddings be held in churches, traveling to them could be difficult for rural families and parishioners.
Therefore her approbation must Proceed from his own conduct and her good liking.” (Landon Carter, Sunday, September 10, 1775.) The choice of a marriage partner was very important, however, as marriage was a combination of families and should strengthen the family’s social position.
Couples made many preparations for their wedding day. Women’s dowries consisted of linens and household goods they had accumulated and any money or property their fathers could afford to give to the couple.
Three weeks before the wedding, the banns (the declaration of the intention to marry) at were posted at the churches in both home parishes.