proxy marriage of Napoleon I

Emperor of France Napoleon I married his fiancee, Archduchess Marie Louise by proxy in 1810. They later had a traditional ceremony and wedding, pictured here.

Early History

In a proxy marriage (marriage by proxy), a person, called a “proxy,” stands in for either the bride or the groom in the solemnization of a proxy marriage. In a “double proxy marriage,” proxies stand in for both the bride and groom in the proxy marriage.

Proxy Marriage (marriage by proxy) dates back to the early 1200’s. Royal families were fond of the practice of proxy marriage and they utilized proxy marriage to allow them to more quickly extend their claims to various domains which were acquired through marriage by proxy (proxy marriage). Arranged proxy marriages (marriages by proxy) in royal families was common; moreover, often, the proxy marriage bride and the proxy marriage groom had never met in person until after the proxy marriage had been officiated, with such proxy marriages having been contracted even since the proxy marriage bride and the proxy marriage groom were children. Sometimes marriages by proxy were contracted even before the proxy marriage bride’s and the proxy marriage groom’s births.

Because regular, in-person betrothal (as opposed to proxy marriage) was often not immediately obtainable due to logistical challenges, a proxy marriage (marriage by proxy) was performed to guarantee that the future reigning power would obtain the dowry that typically came with being wed (by proxy marriage or otherwise). Arthur, Prince of Wales and Katherine of Aragon were wed in proxy marriages (marriages by proxy) for precisely this reason.

Proxy marriage (marriage by proxy) has been utilized in this situations wherein there has been a disparity between the number of women, relative to the number of men, in a particular locale. Proxy marriages were popular in the founding of new lands. Proxy marriages were common in the establishing of the the New Worlds of the Americas. In the settling of the American West, proxy marriages served the purpose of bringing in proxy marriage brides for the trail-blazing pioneer men (proxy marriage grooms). Moreover, many proxy marriages were solemnized in Australia, and proxy marriages were popular in the European colonies in Asia and elsewhere.

20th Century

In the early 1900’s, proxy marriages were utilized to bring Proxy Marriage Picture Brides from Japan and Korea to Hawaii as well as proxy marriage brides to Angel Island in California. In arranging for a proxy marriage, “proxy marriage” grooms would send a photograph of themselves overseas to solicit a “proxy marriage” bride. With the combined efforts of a proxy marriage matchmaker and a prospective “proxy marriage” bride’s family, young proxy marriage brides could find a suitable proxy marriage groom for a proxy marriage (marriage by proxy) and a proxy marriage contract would accordingly be drafted.

proxy marriage Japanese Picture Bride

Proxy Marriage Picture Bride, early 1900s

A novel titled, “Proxy Marriage,” published in 1988, written by Yoshida Hiagura, recounts the fictional story of a marriage by proxy (proxy marriage). In the novel, a proxy marriage bride is married to a proxy marriage groom in 1918 San Francisco by means of a proxy marriage. In 1995, a movie by the same title, “Proxy Marriage” was released and it tells the story of a Japanese “proxy marriage” picture bride of a Hawaiian plantation owner. These literary works provide a glimpse into proxy marriages, “proxy marriage” picture brides, as well as the lives of those who have entered into proxy marriage arranged nuptials.

21st Century

Modern proxy marriage jurisdictions have statutory “proxy marriage” frameworks which allow for the solemnization of proxy marriages (marriages by proxy) within these jurisdictions. Pursuant to the “full faith in commerce” clause of the United States Constitution, all States must recognize the legal validity of a proxy marriage which has been solemnized in a jurisdiction which allows for proxy marriage to be officiated in said jurisdiction (even if the recognizing jurisdiction lacks the statutory framework whereby a proxy marriage may be obtained). As a general rule of law, internationally, virtually all nations will recognize the legal validity of a proxy marriage which is solemnized in another jurisdiction (even if the nation does not have the laws which allow for proxy marriages to be solemnized in the recognizing nation). Contemporarily, proxy marriages are often obtained, include Montana, Colorado, Texas, Kansas, California, Paraguay, Mexico, and Brazil.

The majority of contemporary proxy marriages are solemnized for couples in which at least one party to the proxy marriage is actively serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The U.S. Armed Forces recognize a proxy marriage from the moment that the proxy marriage has been officiated, and military couples who obtain a proxy marriage (marriage by proxy) may immediately enroll, in DEERS, as a married couple.