Courting and dating rituals 1400 1600
The lad had to sit at the negotiating table with the young woman's parents or guardians and show that financially he had what it took to keep his future wife in the style to which she was accustomed.
The wealth that he could bring to the table came from his kinsfolk: the ones who could promise money, land, and support.
Court records are a trove of intimate tittle-tattle and gory details that shamefaced ladies and gentlemen would have preferred to keep private.The survival and consolidation of the families' power and prosperity were at stake.Courtship and marriage were arrangements that would be of mutual benefit to the families. There were instances when young women and men tried to circumvent the order of the day.But any red-blooded young male who independently set his cap at a particular young lady and approached the parents with a view to instigating a formal courtship was in for a hard slog.
Influential relatives had almost complete control of the course of events.Ben and Ellen Knecht exchange vows—with, from left, John Labanish, Pamela Blount, Andre Lane, Mike Luzzi, Teresa Ponziani, Jim Kent, Pat Mahon, and Christina Lane. Not a few parents pine for the courtship rules and rites of, let us say, those halcyon colonial times, when, as they understand it, propriety tempered ardor, virtue checked passion, and abstinence made the heart grow fonder.