An oathbond ceremony is the equivalent of a wedding, though people who aren't couples can also oathbond (close friends, for example). It involves mindmagic which typically, though not inevitably, results in a bondlink, enabling the couple (etc.) to know each other's location if nearby and to sense each other's general mood.
Minimal legal requirements for a lifebond (which is usually what is meant) are:
- both partners have had their adulthood rites, or have had their childhood's end rites and have parental permission (in which case the oathbond ceremony is also an adulthood rite);
- the celebrant present is a "person of standing" such as a head of an Asterist family or Earthist clan, Gold holding a demesne, magistrate, lawyer, guildmaster, military officer ranked captain and above, Gryphon Clerk ranked Senior Clerk and above, Asterist scholar, or full mage;
- there are two witnesses who have had their adulthood rites;
- each partner willingly gives and receives oath of lifebond to the other.
Lifebond is usually for life. However, it is possible for a relationship to turn sour, in which case the oaths may need to be undone in a similar ceremony in order to prevent or minimise oathconflict.
The cost of the ceremony is usually borne by the parents jointly, unless one partner is leaving the village to live in the other's village, in which case the cost is likely to be borne by the parents of the departing partner and the ceremony held in the village they are leaving.
Gnomes pay a brideprice to the woman's parents as compensation for the loss of her labour, but this is not a human custom. Gnomes with a modern mindset question it as too close to.
In Asterist practice, the oath of lifebond is first offered by the younger partner and accepted by the elder, and then vice versa. In Earthist practice, the oaths are given simultaneously. Gnomes traditionally had the man speak first, but a newer practice among emancipated gnomes is to give oath simultaneously.
Both Earthists and Asterists have the tradition that the parents (or near equivalent) of the couple each take the same-gender member of the couple aside the night before the oathbond and give advice. The advice session usually includes other unbound members of the ceremonial party and family who are of age.