Form of Solemnization of Matrimony

MATRIMONY, THE FORM OF SOLEMNIZATION OF. Of all our services this preserves most of the older Office in the Sarum Manual. Some of the hortatory portions come as usual from Hermann's Consultation. There has been no change since 1549, except the omission of the ceremony of giving gold and silver to the bride as "tokens of spousage."

The Service is divided into two parts (a ) the Marriage Service proper, performed in the body of the Church; (b ) the succeeding service at the Holy Table, evidently intended as an introduction to the Holy Communion which should follow.

The Banns. From a barbarous Latin word meaning an edict or proclamation. In 1661 the rubric directed them to be published immediately before the offertory sentences. The marriage Acts of the Georges are supposed to set aside this rubric, and to order them to be published after the Second Lesson. It is doubtful whether this does not apply to the Evening Service only, in places where there is no Morning Service.

The Licence  of the Bishop makes the publication of Banns unnecessary. Without a Special Licence, Marriage can be solemnized only between the hours of 8 and 12 in the forenoon.

(a The Marriage Service  proper should be performed in "the body of the church" (see rubric, 1661) the place selected being generally the Chancel steps.

The Exhortation, 1549, from the "Consultation" chiefly; it rests on the following passages of Holy Scripture:—Gen. ii. 24; Matt. xix. 5; Eph. v. 22-33; John ii. 1-11; Heb. xiii. 4. No impediment being alleged, the Espousal  or Betrothal  follows. The joining of hands is from time immemorial the pledge of covenant, and is here an essential part of the Marriage Ceremony. The words of the betrothal are agreeable to the following passages: 1 Cor. xi. 1-12; Eph. v. 22-33; Col. iii. 18, 19; 1 Tim. ii. 10-14; 1 Peter iii. 1-7.

The Marriage Rite  itself. The use of the ring is probably of pre-Christian antiquity. The old Service directed it to be worn on the fourth finger because "there is a vein leading direct to the heart."

Gold and Silver was also given the bride in 1549, but omitted in 1552. The word "worship" means "honour," as in Wycliffe's Testament, Matt. xix. 19, "Worship  thy father and thy mother."

(b) The Post-Matrimonial Service. The rubric directs only the "minister or clerks" to go to the Lord's Table, but the practice is to carry out the older rubric, 1549, "Then shall they"—the whole marriage party—"go into the Quire." A second Psalm is added for use in cases when the language of the first would be unsuitable. The following rubric is almost unique, in directing the Priest to turn his face to the people. The Versicles  are substantially the same as those used at the Visitation of the Sick and in the Churching of Women. The concluding rubric dates from 1661; the rubric in 1549 definitely ordered the reception of Holy Communion.