Dating and wedding customs in england
“After an agreeable ride we at length reached the house about two o’clock, just about the time when Miss J’s beauty was in its meridian splendor. The average man in Virginia married in his mid-twenties.
We found her doing the honors of the table with ineffable sweetness and grace. When he began courting Hannah Powell, William Drew was in his twenties and already established as the Berkeley County clerk of the court.
Young white women approached courtship and marriage differently.
After completing their domestic training, they enjoyed late adolescence as a special phase of life.
The wedding was the culmination of years of planning, preparation, and effort. Courting allowed young men and women to meet and socialize largely unchaperoned, at a variety of entertainments.
Benjamin and Annabelle raised their daughter to be a good housewife and respected member of society; to fulfill her destiny, Hannah did her best to find the most eligible young man to marry. Although William Drew and Hannah Powell were of different social stations (he of the gentry class and she of the upper-middling sort), they still met often at church, balls, parties, public entertainments, and neighbors’ homes.
The groom’s father also was expected to contribute something.
Settling the question of where a couple would live and what they would take with them affected others, especially if slaves were part of the dowry.
Three weeks before the wedding, the banns (the declaration of the intention to marry) at were posted at the churches in both home parishes.
The man secured a certificate from his minister to show that the banns had been announced.
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.
Hannah Powell may have been married at Bruton Parish due to its proximity to her home.