Selten states that dower could be lawfully assigned only at the door, and another writer says, When he cometh to the church door to be married there, after affiance and troth plighted, he endoweth the woman of his whole land, or of the half, or other lesser part thereof, and there openly doth declare the quantity and the certainty of the land she shall have for her dower." The reader will easily perceive that the object of formally investing a bride with her endowments at the church door was that it might be a public act witnessed by all who chose to assemble there.
The custom is older than Edward VI.'s time, for Chaucer, in the time of Edward III., makes the wife of Bath say "Husbands at churche door have I had five." As in other countries, so in England, there was much joyous feasting on the occasion of a wedding.
How few and simple are his duties at the present day, compared with what these once were !
They call for no special exertion, and certainly are unattended with dangerif we except the danger of falling in love with a pretty bridesmaid.
This is clearly shown by the very word " Bridal," which is simply another form of Bride-ale" (or Bride-feast), the latter word being commonly applied to a feast.