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  • Writer's pictureOwen

Under The Yoke Devlog 31: Valentine's Day Special

Welcome Ladies and Villeins to another Under The Yoke Devlog(ish).

You're probably clutching at your heart right now, a week early and on a Tuesday?! Clutching at your heart is what you should be doing as it's Valentine's Day! So let's take a dive into the history of courting.

In History

Courting was the process of dating prior to a marriage in the medieval period (although I still say it today). As a peasant, the process of courting was a more simple and straightforward affair compared to the more elaborate and formal practices of the nobility. Furthermore, peasants often had a great deal more freedom on their choice of match.

Typically, courting for peasants began with meeting a potential partner at local gatherings, such as village fairs, church events, or other communal celebrations. This is where people had the opportunity to interact and get to know each other. However, such gatherings were often infrequent, and finding a suitable partner could take some time.

Once they found someone they were interested in courting, they would start by seeking permission from the potential partner's family to court them. This was considered an essential step as it showed respect for the family and their customs. In some cases, the family may have already known the person courting their family member, and therefore, the process was more informal. The medieval stereotype of people marrying in their early teens was more of a feature of political marriages rather than the common person's marriage, think more young adults than children.

The next stage of courting involved spending time together. Peasant couples often went on walks or attended local events together, giving them the chance to get to know each other better. However, couples were rarely alone, as a chaperone, such as a family member or friend, would accompany them to ensure that there was no impropriety, though accidents did happen a rushed marriage could always be pushed through.

If a relationship progressed to a more serious stage, the couple would seek the approval of their families to marry. The families would then negotiate the terms of the marriage, such as the bride's dowry and the groom's responsibilities (I know talk of contracts gets my heart fluttering).

The couple would then marry in a church ceremony, which was often followed by a celebratory feast. The church ceremony was enforced more strongly as the medieval period progressed, with common law marriages being more prominent in the early period.

While this process may have lacked the pomp and ceremony of the classic nobility, it was still an essential part of peasant life, and one that helped to maintain the fabric of rural society.

In Under The Yoke

We've modelled the courting process as part of the social system in the game. What's a medieval life-sim without weddings?

To simplify the process, there's a filter for characters to match with eligible marriage candidates. After wooing them a little you can begin to court them, provided you beat out their other suitors you can then propose your marriage.

You will then be able to view their dowry, be it in land, items, cash, animals or a mixture of all three. Then you may throw a wedding and a wedding feast, after which time you will be wed.

As a player, an NPC may ask to court your daughter. While it may be preferable to have an extra pair of hands, it's not going to look good to have a home full of spinsters.

If the NPC goes on to propose to your daughter you will also be expected to pay a dowry proportional to your familial wealth, a weak dowry will further go to damage your reputation. However, a successful marriage will bring your families closer for a generation or two, ensuring their support in Hallmote votes or trials.

Righto, that's it from me, go and spend time with your loved ones or whatever it is people do on this cursed holiday.

See you in a couple of weeks. To ensure I do, sign up to our mailing list using the form below.

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