Wedding Terms

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What is marriage?

Marriage (also known as matrimony) was first a cultural institution whereby two people are joined together in partnership, usually for life, through a ceremony, either via  a religion, tradition or cultural custom. In most modern countries marriage has become a state institution whereby the state recognizes marriage as a contractual partnership. A wedding or marriage is therefore seen as a contract between two consenting adults. Marriage as a state institution is governed by the laws and regulations of each country. What is an engagement? Engagement is also known as betrothal or espousal and is a formal promise or vow of a person’s intention to be married. This is usually done through a visible symbol such as an engagement ring or gift also known as the bride’s price or dowry. There can also be a celebration know as the engagement party or religious ritual to officially recognize and celebrate the couples intention to marry. The exact duration of an engagement before marriage can last from several minutes to several years and varies according the couples needs and wishes but can be influenced by other factors. The engagement period, also known as the wedding preparation period is a preparatory time for the couple to spend as much time as possible together in order to learn to get to know each while they are preparing for the wedding and married life. This was also traditionally considered a time in which the groom proved his readiness for adulthood by starting a mean of provision for his family by starting a business, farming, trade or employment.

Breach of promise to marry.

When a person proposes marriage to another person and that person accepts the proposal of marriage and they become engaged they are said to have concluded a contract to marry in the future. If one of the parties break the wedding promise before the scheduled date of the wedding then the other party can sue for “breach of promise to marry” if they can prove that the person acted wrongfully and intentionally. What is a Spinster? A spinster is lady who has never been married before. Previously most spinsters where seen as a lady who is beyond marital years and who lived independently. The term spinster in modern times is more commonly used for any lady who has never been married irrespective of her age and who lives either independently or in her family home. A spinster is therefore free to marry provided she adheres to all the lawful requirements.

What is a Bachelor?

A bachelor is the male counterpart of a spinster and is also free to marry if he meets all lawful requirements. In modern terms he also lives independently or in his family home but unlike his female counterpart a bachelor may have had children.

Why do people get married?

People marry for many reasons but most commonly for love, unity and for intimacy. People also marry for political, customary, traditional, religious, spiritual, legal, social, emotional or economical reasons. Most marriages are entered into by two consenting adults as a legal protection and public declaration of their love and commitment to each other. Not all marriages are between two consenting and intimate adults as there are still some countries and cultures where marriages are arranged either by parents, senior family members or even cultural or tribal leaders.
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