Dating ancient workds
Even more important was deciding whether the new bride would enter into the manus of her husband or remain under the power of her father.For the last century or two of the Republic and throughout the Empire most marriages were without manus.The outfit was completed by a flaming orange veil (flammenum) that covered her head and the upper part of her face.The bride, surrounded by her family, welcomed the groom and his family and friends to her home and then she led them to the place of the ceremony. The auspex examined the entrails and asserted that the auspices were favorable and that the gods approved of the marriage.
Over the years there was a gradual increase in womens economic power and in their status in society, but a fathers right both in theory and in practice to choose at least the first husband of a daughter remained constant throughout the Republic and the Empire.
There was no marriage registry, nor was there any need for a state appointed person with the power to declare the couple to be married.
Only four things were necessary: the bride and groom must be free citizens and be past the age of puberty; they must intend and consent to being husband and wife; and they must have the consent of any relevant guardian.
If you stumbled by accident into a modern wedding ceremony, it would be easy to identify the cast of characters---bride, groom, bridesmaids, ushers, best man, parents--- even if they were all strangers, and you would certainly have no trouble knowing what had happened just before your unexpected arrival and what was about to happen next.
A modern bride might have something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.