This section is from the book "Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: A Guide To Correct Writing", by Thos. E. Hill. Also available from Amazon: Hill's Manual Of Social And Business Forms: The How-To-Do-Everything Book Of Victorian America.
THE following, are among the many of the various styles of notes of invitation to the wedding ceremony. The form shown here, is printed on paper about the width, but a little shorter than, commercial note paper, the wording being on the lower half of the sheet. In the center of the upper half of the sheet is the monogram, composed of the initial letters of the surnames of the bride and groom, blended together. This monogram is also printed upon the flap of the envelope containing the invitation and cards. The accompanying is the note of invitation issued by Mr. & Mrs. D Collins, on the occasion of the marriage of their daughter, M. Louise, to Jay H. Sabray; the ceremony taking place at their residence. Two cards accompany this note, one reading Mr. & Mrs. Jay H. Sabray, the other, M. Louise Collins.
If desirous of giving information of the time of return from the bridal tour, and an invitation to receptions afterwards, the address is omitted on the larger card, and a third card may accompany the other two, worded as follows :
This style of invitation, requiring no cards, is frequently used:
This style of invitation, printed on a fine card about the size of a large envelope, is frequently employed. If desirous of using colored card-board, a light olive or pink tint is sometimes admissible, though white is always in best taste.
The following note, announcing," At Home," after October 15, requires no cards:
The cards are often made in this proportion, and fastened with a ribbon, thus:
The following invitation is accompanied by the cards shown above, fastened by a ribbon in the center. The larger card bears the names of Mr. and Mrs. James Wilson; the other, the name of the bride, Angeline Sherman.
Not unfrequently the cards are fastened at the top, as shown in this illustration:
The succeeding invitation is issued by the parents of the bride, the reception taking place at their residence, after the ceremony at church. As with the other invitations, this is also accompanied by the monogram.
HAVING resolved upon marriage, the lady-will determine when the ceremony shall take place.
No peculiar form of ceremony is requisite, nor is it imperative that it be performed by a particular person. In the United States, marriage is regarded as a civil contract, which may be entered into by a simple declaration of the contracting parties, made in the presence of one or more witnesses, that they, the said parties, do respectively contract to be husband and wife.
In consequence of the recognized vast importance of marriage to the parties contracting the same, long usage has established the custom, almost universally, of having the ceremony performed by, or in presence of, a clergyman or magistrate.
To be entitled to contract marriage,, the following requisites are necessary: 1st, That they be willing to marry; 2d, That they be of sound mind; 3d, That they have arrived at the age allowed by law; 4th, That neither of the parties is married already to another who is living, and from whom such party has not obtained a divorce from the bonds of matrimony; and 5th, That the parties are not so nearly related by consanguinity, as to prohibit their marriage, by the laws of the State in which the marriage is contracted.
In most of the States, the common law requires that the male be fourteen and the female twelve years of age, before the marriage can take place. In certain States, seventeen for males and fourteen for females; in others, the age for males is eighteen, for females, fourteen.
Formerly in certain Eastern States, parties intending to marry were required by statute to record a notice of such intent with the town clerk for three weeks, at the expiration of which time, if no objection was interposed, the clerk was authorized to give a certificate to that effect, and the clergyman or magistrate was empowered to perform the ceremony. In various States, the law requires that parties intending marriage shall previously obtain from the city or town clerk, a certificate of their, respective names, occupations, ages, birth-places, and residences upon receipt of which, any clergyman or magistrate is authorized to perform the ceremony.
In some of the States, a license to marry must first be procured of the city, town, or county clerk, empowering the clergyman or magistrate to marry the contracting parties, which is worded as follows:
The license procured, the ceremony of marriage may take place wherever it best suits the convenience of the parties marrying, and may be performed by a clergyman, justice of the supreme court, judge of an inferior court, justice of the peace, or police justice; one or more witnesses being present to testify to the marriage. The clergyman or magistrate may visit the candidates for matrimony at a private residence, hotel, hall, church or other place; or the parties may call upon the clergyman at his residence, or visit the magistrate in his office, where the rite may be performed. When the ceremony is conducted by the magistrate, the following is the usual form.
(The man and woman rising, the justice will say to the man:)
"Will yon have this woman to be your wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of Matrimony, to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto her, so long as you both shall live?"
(Then, addressing the woman, the justice will say:)
" Will you have this man to be your wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of Matrimony, to love, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him, so long as you both shall live? "
(The parlies answering in the affirmative, the justice will then instruct to join hands, and say:
"By the act of joining hands you take upon yourselves the relation of husband and wife, and solemnly promise and engage, in the presence of these witnesses, to love, honor, comfort and cherish each other as such, so long as you both shall live; therefore, in accordance with the laws of the State of----------------, I do hereby pronounce you husband and wife."
(The justice will instruct the parties to rise and join hands, and then say:)
"By this act of joining hands you do take upon yourselves the relation of husband and wife, and solemnly promise and engage, in the presence of these witnesses, to love and honor, comfort and cherish each other as such, as long as you both shall live; therefore in accordance with the laws of the State of----------------, I do hereby pronounce you husband and wife."
The form used by clergymen is essentially the same, though the wording may vary slightly to suit the occasion and conform to the rites of the church under which the parties marry.
The marriage license is returned by the magistrate or clergyman to the clerk that granted it, for record. At the time of procuring the license, however, the bridegroom or other person should obtain a blank marriage certificate, usually furnished by the clerk, which should be filled by the clergyman or magistrate at the close of the ceremony, certifying to the marriage of the parties; which certificate should be always preserved by the husband and wife, as proof of marriage, if necessary, when they have removed to other parts of the country.
The following is the form of the marriage certificate: