Some Truly Odd Marriage Laws

Marriage is a lifetime commitment to that certain special someone. In this sense, it couldn’t be more traditional. However, despite the romance, it’s a legal bond and some of the laws governing marriage are a little bit “out there”. Today, we want to amuse, educate and entertain you, by providing information about a few truly weird marriage laws.

beach wedding couple

Is Marriage By Proxy Right for You?


If you’re in the American Armed Forces, you may not realize that you have the option of choosing a proxy for your wedding! This means that another person may stand in for you, whether you’re the bride or groom. This practice was put into place in order to help Armed Forces members who aren’t able to be present at their weddings. However, this weird marriage law is only applicable in a group of USA states, which are Montana, Texas, Kansas, California and Colorado. In Montana, it’s actually possible to have “double proxy” nuptials. This means that both parties can have proxies.


This Saudi Arabian Law Is a Bit Bizarre


In Saudi Arabia, male citizens aren’t permitted to get married to ladies from a select few countries and these nations are Myanmar, Pakistan, Chad and Bangladesh. According to reports, this weird marriage law was created in order to stop guys in Saudi Arabia from marrying “expats”. Clearly, the powers-that-be in Saudi Arabian want men from Saudi Arabian to get hitched to Saudi women! This law is a real restriction of personal freedom and it’s bound to have rubbed some men in Saudi Arabia the wrong way!


Not Sure this Law Really Has Teeth to It


In beautiful Vermont, USA, an arcane marriage law forbids women from donning false teeth unless they ask permission from their spouses first. It’s hard to know what lawmakers were thinking before they put this truly weird marriage law into place. Also, who is out there enforcing it? It seems like lawmakers go off on a tangent sometimes and create laws for no good reason. This one is particularly strange. Some people consider it to be very “anti-woman” and it’s hard to argue with that take on things.


This Arkansas Marriage Law is Barbaric


The most unsettling marriage law on our list is an Arkansas law which permits men to beat up their own spouses…but only once per month! If you want to live under marriage laws which are straight out of the Dark Ages, then Arkansas may be your American state of choice when it comes to getting married. The law has been around since the 1800s. Back then, wife beating seemed to be the norm. It was actually something that society encouraged guys to do. It was regarded as a privilege of being male.


Marriage is Serious Business


As you can see, there are tons of laws governing marriage and some of them are silly, sexist and just plain wrong. Marriage is a legal tie that should be carefully considered before it’s undertaken. Over fifty percent of marriages in the USA end in divorce, although weird marriage laws aren’t usually the reason why marriages fail. The biggest causes of divorce are money problems, infidelity and poor communication. Getting out of a marriage can be tough. Divorce laws are complex, just like marriage laws are.


Now that you know about four of the weirdest marriage laws, you’ve got the inside scoop on how certain places handle the business side of marriage – even if these are mostly obscure cases more or less unknown to modern citizens. This is really only the tip of the iceberg so let us know if the comments if your state or country has some odd regulations concerning “the big day”.


And let us know if you would be cool with someone standing in for you at your own wedding!



An Introduction to the Tradition of Handfasting


Getting married is something that lovers from all walks of life do. The ceremonies surrounding the union are as unique as the couples hosting them. In Celtic and Pagan communities, for example, a ritual known as “handfasting” has been practiced for centuries. In fact, that’s where the modern world got the expression “tying the knot” when referring to a wedding.

Although seen as a relatively informal ceremony these days, handfasting can still be viewed as a binding agreement between a willing man and woman. Prior to weddings becoming a legally managed enterprise and a church-driven ritual, this type of simple ceremony was the most common way for couples to join themselves in sacred matrimony.

What Is Handfasting?

The concept of handfasting comes from the belief that married couples are eternally bound together in all matters. The ritual is merely a physical manifestation of that belief, involving a literal knot being tied between the betrothed. The “love knot” signified the joining of their lives, and is typically performed by an ordained minister after the vows and rings are exchanged.

And this is regarded as a rather “rational” form of commitment (as opposed to an emotional impulse) because it allows both parties to carefully assess the union for a period of time after the ceremony. The general timeline for a handfasting ritual is as follows:

  • The couple’s hands are bound together with various colored rope. The color of the rope (or cord) is going to vary, especially among practitioners of neo-paganism we’ve noticed.
  • The cord is then kept in an ornate box, protected from harm and containing within it the couple’s ceremonial vows.
  • In general, the box is then kept in a safe place for 1 year and 1 day.

At the end of the “cooling off” period, the couple then removes the vows from the box, considers the events of the past year and their feelings for each other, and then makes a final decision about the relationship. At that time, the binding can become legal with the help of a public official.  (The laws in most Western countries don’t permit a year-long marriage trial so that’s the reason for this final part of the process.)

While handfasting was previously accepted as a legal form of marriage, it is considered a complementary ritual today – more like a more formalized engagement. Others choose to work in the rite as part of their overall wedding service, especially those wanting to add more of a Celtic theme to their big day.

The Significance of the Handfasting Cord

The cords used in the average handfasting ceremony are not regular home center rope. Often hand-woven by the engaged couple or a family member just for the occasion, you can now even find services online that will create a custom one for your rite.  In most cases each cord needs to be at least 48 inches long, allowing the hands of both individuals to be bound. As previously mentioned, the various colors of cord are symbolic of different attributes. Some of the more common meanings:

  • Yellow – Charm, attraction, balance, and harmony
  • Green – Luck, fertility, beauty, and prosperity
  • Red – Love, courage, vigor, and passion
  • Blue – Longevity, strength, pride, and safe travels
  • Purple – Power, progress, vitality, and respect
  • Pink – Unity, honor, romance, and lightheartedness
  • White – Purity, serenity, peace, and loyalty
  • Black – Wisdom, success, vision, and empowerment
  • Brown – Skill development, nurturing, home protection, and talent acquisition
  • Orange – Encouragement, stimulation, attraction, and abundance
  • Gray – Neutrality, balance, cancelling, and return
  • Silver – Inspiration, protection, creativity, and adaptability
  • Gold – Longevity, prosperity, strength, and unity

Important to note is that witnesses must be present for this ceremony, if nothing more than to give accountability to the couple. Modern pagans and wiccans have really brought this old time practice back to the forefront, with unique, beautiful rituals that borrow from several ancient customs.

Experiencing a vibrant resurgence and still traditionally rooted, handfasting is sure to become more mainstream among innovative couples from different walks of life seeking “something old” as they plan their big day.