Until the time leading up to, and during the Middle Ages, weddings were considered affairs that included both family and community. The only thing needed in those times to create a marriage was for both partners to state their consent to take one another as spouses. The tradition of handfasting started in Scotland and was considered more of a contract than a romantic endeavor. Witnesses were not always necessary, nor was the presence of the bride!
The role of the clergy at a medieval wedding was simply to bless the couple. Until the council of Trent in the 15th century it was not official that a third party such as a priest or minister. Until that time it was left up to the individuals involved to perform the ceremony. This was done many times in the home of the bride.
In the later medieval period, the wedding ceremony moved from the house of the bride to the church. It began with a procession to the church from the bride's house. Vows were exchanged outside the church and everyone would then move inside for high Mass. After Mass, the procession went back to the bride's house for feasting and musicians accompanied the procession.
Clergy Services Provided By
Rev. Dr. Dawn Thebarge