Puritan Weddings

WeddingMy first book in the Revive 1775 series will revolve around a wedding. I don’t want to give anything away at the moment but what I’ve found out about Puritans and their wedding rituals surprised me and changed things in the plan for the book.

When we 21st-Century Americans think about weddings, we have so many preconceived notions.  I’m no different.  I think about flowers and rings, the minister, the church, the wedding cake.  Then there’s the wedding party.  The bride and groom of course.  But the father of the bride giving her away.  The maid of honor.  The best man. But what I’m finding is that the Puritan wedding didn’t look like that.

The Puritans, if you remember, broke away from the Church of England.  One of the sticking points was the wedding.  Who knew?  Puritans believed that marriage was a civil contract.  Weddings, as such, were performed by the magistrate, who asked each party if they wanted to enter the contract.  If both answered in the affirmative, the deal was done.  This "ceremony" was carried out at the house and there was a modest meal served.  Nothing elaborate.  These were Puritans, remember.

The engagement actually did involve the church though.  When the engagement was announced, it was done so in church and the Rector would give a special sermon of the bride’s choosing.  Then, in the weeks preceeding the marriage contract, the bans were published.  The bans were basically a "if you know any reason" type document announcing the upcoming contract and was published on the church door.  It had to be done three weeks in a row. As I do more research, I’ll share other interesting tid-bits here with you all.  I know a few bits already that you’ll find surprising.