Arranged marriage is a type of marital union where the bride and groom are selected by a third party rather than by each other. It was common worldwide until the 18th century. In modern era, arranged marriage has continued in royal, aristocratic families and ethnic minority groups in developed countries; elsewhere, arranged marriage is common in South Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia. Other groups that practice this custom include the Unification Church.
Arranged marriage should not be confused with the practice of forced marriage such as vani. In an arranged marriage, while the meeting of the spouses is arranged by family members, relatives or friends, the spouses agree of their own free will to marry. By contrast, in a forced marriage, one or both spouses are coerced into the marriage - the union takes place without their freely given consent (under duress, threats, psychological pressure etc.).
differs from autonomous marriage - called love marriage in some parts of the world - where the individuals find and select their own spouses; arranged marriages, in contrast, are usually set up by the parents or an older family member. In some cases, arranged marriage involves a matchmaker such as priest or religious leader, matrimonial site, mutual friends or a trusted third party.
Arranged marriages vary in nature and in how much time passes between first introduction and engagement. In an "introduction only" arranged marriage, also known as quasi-arranged marriages or assisted marriages, the parents or guardians introduce a potential spouse. From that point on, it is up to the two individuals to develop the relationship and make a final choice. There is no set time period. This is increasingly common in Japan, parts of Latin America and Africa, South Asia and East Asia.