The latest in wedding legislation is the proposed increase of the legal age of marriage in England and Wales to 18.
As the law currently stands, marriages of 16- and 17-year-old youths are legal with parental permission. This age limit has been in place since the Age of Marriages Act of 1929, after a campaign by the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship.
The new bill is being discussed in the House of Commons, having been raised by former chancellor Sajid Javid. It is expected to be widely backed by politicians across all parties, despite the fact that attempts in previous years to raise the legal age of marriage have so far been unsuccessful. A letter has been written to campaigners by the Ministry of Justice, confirming that it is on board with raising the minimum legal age.
The minimum age of marriage varies around the world, with 18 being the most common minimum age in the majority of countries. Andorra has one of the lowest ages of marriage in Europe, with children having the right to marry at 14 with judicial consent. In China, even with parental consent, men may not marry until they are 22 years old.
It’s customary for the bride’s parents to host the wedding regardless of the age of the bride and groom. However, with more modern weddings, the couple may choose to invite the guests in their own names if they are paying for the celebration themselves, so the proposed legislation is unlikely to have any impact on the wording of wedding stationery.