At church on Sunday, the vicar made an announcement of upcoming bonds of marriage, along with a proclamation that if anyone knows of reason why they shouldn’t get married, he should be informed. Fascinating. Apparently, in the Church of England, this process is legally required – the announcement must be made in the parish they attend and in the parishes each one resides in – up to 3 in all. And apparently, the history is that this was done to make sure they’re not already married to someone else, or to ferret out other such shenanigans. Probably made more sense when said parishes were the ones they grew up in all their lives and they knew them very well, as opposed to today in the city when everyone is so transient. But that’s the law.
I’m guessing this is the origin of the US wedding tradition of “speak now or forever hold your peace”, and to me it makes far more sense – giving time for people to object before the wedding as opposed to at it.
I’m still interested in how US wedding (and other) traditions came to be, because I kind of assumed they had their origins in antiquity but Brits find many of them bewildering.