Shotgun Wedding is a wedding which is performed by a family to avoid the embarassment caused by pre-marital sexual relationship usually resulting in the pregnancy. To keep the pregnancy a secret and give it a legitimacy the girl’s parents has to resort to this kind of wedding.
Such a thing was considered a taboo almost all over the world for one reason or another. The marriage date if fixed is generally preponed by the unaware parents.
The wedding gets its name that boy in such a case doesn’t get away after becoming aware that the girl has become pregnant. So the father of the girl forced the boy under gunpoint.
This step was also taken to give the would be child a legitimacy status. Different countries have different rules about this wedding.
Shotgun Wedding became the subject of the movie with same name in which Jennifer Lopez featured. Many books have also been written with this subject in mind.
Shotgun Weddings were prominent in older days when procedures like anti-pregnancy pills were not available. In those days, it was found for example in Japan as much as 25% weddings were shotgun marriages. Similar statistics were prevalent in Europe and America.
In present, these weddings have become almost obsolete. Nowadays in many countries girls having become pregnant before marriage are quite normal and tolerable and perfectly legal. There is a less social stigma attached to pre marriage pregnancies.