Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Marriage Etiquette in France in the Late 1800s

From Geri Walton:
Marriage etiquette in France involved many rules. For instance, when a Frenchman decided he wanted to marry, he did not go directly to the parents and ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage. That would have been a major faux pas. Instead his best friend was charged with the delicate task of asking the parents, and if they agreed, the prospective bridegroom then arranged a meeting with them. This first meeting was all business and involved “the dowry, and the almost equally important one of the young man’s fortune, expectations, etc.”[1]

If everything was determined to be favorable for the young man, then a second interview was scheduled between the parents and the prospective bridegroom with “the day and hour rigorously settled before hand.”[2] On the appointed day, at the appointed time, the prospective bridegroom presented himself for a second time. He was “carefully but not too carefully dressed – that point [was] essential. His betrothed, in elegant but simple attire, await[ed] his coming, surrounded by parents and relatives.”[3] After this meeting, the prospective bridegroom was then entitled to be received as a pretendu. However, to gain that status, he had to request it in writing. (Read more.)

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