The joining of a male and female in matrimony by a person qualified by law to perform the ceremony (a minister, priest, judge, justice of the peace or some similar official), after having obtained a valid marriage license (which requires a blood test for venereal disease in about a third of the states and a waiting period from one to five days in several). the standard age for marriage without parental consent is 18 except for georgia and wyoming where it is 16, rhode island where women can marry at 16, and mississippi in which it is 17 for boys and 15 for girls. more than half the states allow marriages at lesser ages with parental consent, going as low as 14 for both sexes in alabama, texas and utah. marriages in which the age requirements are not met can be annulled. fourteen states recognize so-called “common law marriages” which establish a legal marriage for people who have lived together by agreement as husband and wife for a lengthy period of time without legal formalities.