Ever heard of handfasting? In times past (long times past) trial marriages were popular with the young couples all along the border regions of England and Scotland. That area was so unruly that very strict laws were made on those living on either side of the border about marrying without the consent of the English and Scottish officials. In 1587, some couples were even hanged because they had not obtained permission to marry. So the custom of handfasting, or trial marriage, was introduced. At the annual fair, the couple would join hands and be “married” until the next year’s fair. Or forever, if they chose.
Marriages were conducted in this way well into the 19th century when the requirements were relaxed. Today, Google handfasting, especially Images, and you’ll see it’s a popular thing to do today but not for the same reasons as for our ancestors.