In our times, June means weddings. Young men and women fall in love because of chemistry caused by appearance and personality. They set a date and stand before a minister or rabbi who speaks words over them.
In the first century AD, marriage for Jewish men and women had a different focus. Oasis Tradepost outlines these early marriages.
Before their betrothal, young women traveled around their city wearing jewelry and coins falling from their headdresses. Young men knew the coins represented their wealth. A young (or old) man didn't ask the girl to marry him. He approached the Father. Papa had the power to accept or deny based on the dowry the man agreed to give him. In theory, the daughter could decline but in reality her father ruled as he did everywhere. If he loved her and responded to tears and begging, he might let her decide.
I like the play, Fiddler on the Roof. We remember how many hands the father used to allow each daughter's break with his traditions. “On the other hand.” When his youngest daughter chose a gentile, he ran out of hands. He disowned her, breaking his heart and that of Golde, his wife. She didn't get a vote. Women in first century AD had their lives torn apart, and they didn't get a vote.
Like today, the daughters wanted handsome young men. A father chose an older man who gave him a good dowry.
When Jesus told the parable of the virgins, in Matthew 25, he spoke the language of the times. A bride invited her court of young maidens (virgins) to wait with her for the bridegroom. After the groom betrothed himself to her, when her father accepted her groom’s offer and they signed the contract (called a ketubah), she belonged to him.
When he left her that evening, she waited as long as a year before he came back to take her to her new home.
She wore veils when she went out to signify that she wasn’t available. She spent the time preparing her bridal clothes. Her unmarried friends sat with her--hence the parable of the ten virgins. Finally, friends and neighbors called out, “The bridegroom comes.” He usually came late at night.
The bride hurried into her bridal clothes and went out to meet him. Her bridal party followed. The groom and his party symbolically stole her away from her family so they didn't immediately follow. They joined the party later. He took her to his home where he had prepared a bridal chamber. They stayed there for seven days. Outside the room, the celebration carried on without them. After seven days, the new husband announced to the bridal party that they had consummated the marriage.
A girl in her teens became mistress to his house, taking the responsibilities her mother prepared her for all her life. Girls became adults at twelve according to ReformedJudaism. A girl might become betrothed then, but the groom didn't consummate it until she became of age. "Of age" isn't defined, but, probably not more than two years later.
Thank the Lord, times have changed.