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Banns of marriage

The banns of marriage or, simply "the banns," (from an Old English word meaning "to summon") are the public announcement from the pulpit that a marriage is going to take place in that church between two specified persons at a specified time.

Their purpose is to allow anyone to come to the wedding to raise any legal impediment to it -- such an impediment might be a prior marriage (or pre-contract or betrothal, those being legally the same as a marriage), or a vow of celibacy, or the couple's being related within the prohibited degree of kinship, or lack of consent -- to prevent marriages that are legally invalid, either under canon law or under civil law.

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