Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A shotgun wedding, colloquially, is a marriage which comes about not because of the desire of the participants, but to avoid embarrassment due to an unintentional pregnancy. In order to avoid the humiliation of bearing a child out of wedlock, the parents-to-be are forced to marry each other.
The phrase arises because in some instances it is not unknown for the father of the bride-to-be to take his shotgun with him to ensure there were no problems arranging the marriage. This, however, is mainly hyperbole or exaggeration; use of the shotgun is not required and the term refers to any hasty marriage arranged due to unplanned pregnancy.
In many countries, people involved in shotgun marriages cannot claim duress in order to make the marriage void.
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