Home » Elizabethan Era Marriages and Divorces

Elizabethan Era Marriages and Divorces

Elizabethan – Attitude towards love and marriage

Comparable to these days wherein every woman would look forward to that day when they have to walk in the aisle, Elizabethan marriages was also one of the highlight of every woman’s life. The chief difference is, back then; the woman possesses very little right in choosing her husband.

It is foolish to marry someone because of love even if love may occur sometimes in marriage. The matrimony is arranged by families of the bride and the groom in order for the two sides to benefit from one another. Mostly, it was arranged for wealth and reputation. Families of landowners were expected to marry just to augment their land possession.

Elizabethan England Marriage

Elizabethan Wedding Dress


Couples may even only see each other for the first time during the wedding day itself! This was rampant among lofty nobility, however people in the lower class would normally arranged the marriage with the children of friends and neighbors.

Thus, the lower the status a family holds in the society then the larger power a person may have in choosing lifetime mates. Because of this practice, the marriage will too often fail.

Among the famous couple who experienced disastrous marriage were Lord Darnley and Mary Queen of Scots; Robert Dudley and Amy Robsart; and Edward earl of Oxford and Anne Cecil. Still, successful marriage is not a myth since there were the 2nd Earl of Bedford and his 3rd countess: and 7th Baron and Lady Berkeley.


Elizabethan Era Marriage

Elizabethan Era marriage normally takes place through the help of a miniature picture given by the man. The picture is a symbolism of the traits and looks of the girl he wishes to marry. Women were regarded as second class citizens and they were expected to tie the knot despite of their social standings.

Elizabethan England Marriage

Single women were regarded as witches. With parent’s consent, a boy and a girl were allowed to marry at the age of 14 and 12 although it was not common for marriage to take place on such a young age. Boy would often not marry until they reached the age of consent, 21.

Attitude towards love and marriage

Ironically, the dowry in marriages in Elizabethan England would benefit the male. A dowry is a certain amount of cash, property, and goods that bride would bring during the actual ceremony. It is known as her share.The husbands were given all the rights to take over their wives thus the girl would became the man’s property.

Elizabethan England Marriage

Like today, Elizabethan England marriage ceremony was considered to have a religious intonation. The ceremony would vary but the prerequisites before the matrimony was always the same.

Facts About Elizabethan England Marriage

It commenced with the Crying the Banns in where the intention of the couples to marry was made into public. It will be announced into three consecutive Sundays or Holy days thus when there were any objection, at least such party was given the time to speak out. Wedding invitations were not provided.

Gifts were rarely offered but it was their tradition to celebrate the occasion with a blast thus the event is carefully planned beforehand. The menu comprise of exotic dishes like peacock.

More Info On- Queen Elizabeth I Family, Courtship Marriages and Divorces During Elizabethan Era, Elizabethan Customs

Found info useful?