One thing that surprised me a bit in Great Expectations were the descriptions of the weddings. Apart from the one that did not happen, which caused all the problems, and the other disastrous wedding that took place off screen, there were two others: those between Mr Wemmick and Miss Skiffins, and Joe and Biddy. They seemed to be so low key. Mr Wemmick does not even tell Pip he's taking him to his wedding. He just leads him to a church. Apart from the Aged P, there do not seem to be many guests. Then they head off to an inn for a wedding breakfast. At the end of the book, Pip goes back home intending to propose to Biddy, only to discover the school and the forge are shut because Biddy and Joe are at the church getting married. Again, apparently very few guests. They did not even tell Pip. These days when the average wedding seems to cost £10,000 that seems very strange. These weddings seem more like Las Vegas weddings, or registry weddings between middle-aged couples on their second or third time around.
I seem to remember that divorce was virtually impossible back then. It took an act of parliament and could only be granted for a limited number of reasons: infidelity, cruelty or dissertion, I think. I am not sure, but I don't think you were allowed to re-marry once you did divorce. You could escape a bad marriage if your spouse died, and that happened often enough, but otherwise you were stuck with your choice. In addition, sex outside marriage was frowned upon. No doubt it went on, but if you were a single man and you made a girl pregnant, you were expected to marry her. Marriage was far more economically and socially important to women then. I would have thought for all these reasons weddings would be even more socially important occasions than they are now. Even the wedding between Estella and Bentley Drummle seems to have taken place quite quickly once the proposal was accepted and I don't suppose there were very many guests (I wonder what the atmosphere was like at that one).