As implicit from the name, a proxy marriage also known as a wedding of proxy refers to a marriage contracted with only one of the wedding couples available during the marriage ceremony. The second person either the groom or the bride is physically absent owing to one reason or the other but he or she consented to the wedding. Thus, both the bride and groom are fully aware that the marriage is taking place and both accepted it willingly. None of them is forced into the marriage. Proxy marriage could also occur when neither the bride nor the groom is present. This is called a double proxy marriage. However, whether it is the bride or the groom or both that are absent during the wedding ceremony, somebody will be standing or representing the person that is absent.

There are many people that are wedding by proxy today. However, wedding of proxy did not start today. It is not a modern invention. The practice was obtainable in the medieval age. There were also recorded marriage by proxy during the beginning of the Modern Age. During these eras, it was predominant in the Europe. A good number of well known European monarchs and royalties had proxy marriage. Arthur, the Prince of Wales wedded Catherine of Aragon by proxy in May 19, 1499. Napoleon Bonaparte and Marie Louise, the Archduchess of Austria in 1810 by proxy. 

There are a number of reasons that may warrant people to consented to proxy marriage. One of the reasons is normally because one of the wedding couple travels and it is not possible for the person to come back during the wedding. Professional reasons may also cause people to wed in proxy. For example, if the groom is in the military and he is out for war or a national assignment, they may decide to wed in proxy. It can also happen that the bride is taking an exam on the wedding day or studying in another jurisdiction where it is not possible for her to come for her. People with travel restrictions as well as prisoners normally do their wedding in proxy.

The legality of proxy marriage

The legality of proxy marriage depends on the jurisdiction in which the marriage is contracted as the practice varies from place to place. In the United States of America, it is accepted in some states and not accepted in some other states. The states of Texas, Colorado, California and Montana do accept proxy marriages. However, each of these states has its unique requirements for the marriage to be validly contracted. Besides the US, proxy marriage is accepted in other countries. In Israel, couples belonging to different religious group are allowed to wed in proxy. However, the wedding are not conducted in any of the religious worship place of the couple. The wedding normally take place in El Salvador. It is also registered there. Four representatives are required. Two of the representatives are standing for bride or groom while the other two are witnesses. Three months later after the wedding, the marriage certificate will be posted to Israel.

In the age of the internet, proxy marriages can also be conducted online via IM like Skype. However, there must be a legal authority present during the wedding. This type of wedding is legally valid if all requirements are meant in India, Canada, England and Israel. Another type of marriage that is similar to proxy marriage is called eMarriage. It is accepted in Bangladesh, India and Canada. For validity and legality, it has to be conducted in the presence of an authorized minister such a priest, quazi or rabbi.