From Courtship till the Morning After: The Role of Family, Kin and Friends in the Marriages of László Székely
This study presents the different stages of the eighteenth-century Transylvanian marriage rituals, from betrothal, wedding ceremony, and bedding until the morning after. It also examines the roles played in this process by the “kinship-family.” The study draws on a wide range of published and unpublished biographical works from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among these diaries, autobiographies, and memoirs written by members of the political elite, the unpublished autobiography of Count László Székely stands out, as it provides a considerable amount of data regarding some customs and traditions related to Transylvanian marriages and marriage rituals. Building on the count’s very personal and emotional narratives, we offer a sketch of the ways in which Transylvanians entered into marriage. We consider marriage a long process rather than a single act, in which family, friends, and kin played a significant role.