Betrothal

Overview

When a couple are to marry there are two levels of commitment possible.

Courtship

A couple are considered to be courting when a promise of marriage has been made but no betrothal has been declared. It has no legal status. As such an individual considered to be courting can legally marry another. Such an act would still have consequences such as embarrassment and anger.

Betrothal

A betrothal is as a formalized guarantee that a woman or man will be unable to marry anyone other than the declared suitor. It's most common use is between men and women of high status, respected bloodlines which have high demand for their sons and daughters. A betrothal can be signed when the bride and groom are of any age but marriage will never occur before the youngest is sixteen years of age. Any marriage undertaken by either party whilst bound by the betrothal will be both illegal and deeply shameful to their family. It is not unusual for the betrothal contract to require some sort of payment which is usually, but not always, considered part of the dowry. As with all contracts it is possible to legally break a betrothal.

Length

Both courtships and betrothals are expected to take a minimum of six months from start to finish during which time the couple should get to know each other. This minimum is in place to ensure that both families get sufficient time to plan the wedding, to ensure the paternity of the first born, and to counteract some of the harsh realities inherent with arranged marriages.

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