For the sake of family, of upper-class success and continuation, marriages are often arranged between two families of said ‘good blood’. There is no age of eligibility for the bachelors; boys may chose marriage at the age of sixteen, though this likelihood has not occurred in a while. It is unlikely to find a boy announcing his Selection below the age of sixteen, unless he has been reared that way or of an advanced sexuality, or marriage desire.
Most families – such as the Costellos – try to enforce marriage on their sons as soon as they turn eighteen. This way, they can ensure the greater propensity of their line. Longer moments for repeated copulation, leading to more offspring. However, the chooser nearly always has the final say when.
That doesn’t, however, stop the personal element of Selection; Phillip and Benjamin themselves were virtually blackmailed into love by their father and mother.
When a man accepts that he will marry, word will reach the Pages – and, through them, the women and their parents looking for a moneyed man.
Of course, dependent on the family, weddings tend to be either high-key or low-key events; with both these cases, the minimal numbers of non-family-member guests are invited, due to security and exclusivity, though this does not extend to staff on the wedding: cooks, photographers, reporters, or others designed for the specific case of enhancing the family’s rapport. Ironically, a lot of weddings are devoted to a family’s image, rather than the couple themselves. This is one of the reasons Aidelle and Phillip’s wedding was so special: they defied their parents’ insistence on a large wedding for a personal one that meant they were able to remain together and raise their daughter without away from the turmoil of war.
And that resonated well with the lesser classes.
After the actual wedding, it is expected that where the newly married couple will live depends on the new husband’s role in his family chain. The eldest son often takes over the running of the house unless he can provide an astute reason why his parents shouldn’t ‘help’ with his marriage. Stuart Costello only left to buy his house in the country after his father mortified him.
The younger sons are given more freedom. Depending on the House, they will no doubt be encouraged to stay at the family home or Mansion; on the other hand, youngest sons tend to be encouraged to start their own House, if they have the inheritance. Although most sons tend to marry in age order, the son who marries first might well be considered ‘eldest’ by leges familiae (see ‘justice’ under ‘careers’).
In a contrast to the well-publicised – and, arguably, choice-less – marriages of the upper- and middle-classes, a lot of lower-class marriages are for love – for, what money is to be gained by marrying the right person of the same lower-class?
Zoey Carnassus’ parents themselves are a best example of middle 21st Century modernisation and the change of marriage practises started by the lower-classes, but that would later spread to the upper-classes (as with the better acceptance of illegitimate children and illegitimate intercourse. As a lower-class couple, they had no reason to marry even when Jae discovered she was with child.
Nevertheless, marriage is meant to join together two Houses with children and the future.
For most upper- and middle-class families, the number of offspring produced is down to choice, though any birth-control is natural. In the time of Percival Senior, the upper class were expected to bear at least five children (deaths notwithstanding), as proof of their worth and good blood.
However, most families in the next generations saw the complexities of more children, though the aim is to produce an heir, a spare, and at least one girl. Couples must balance their own desires for gender preference, and do what is best for their Name.