It’s a staple of melodrama - the dirty priest, the bride bound and gagged, the heroes are running to the rescue before the Dire Words, “man and wife”, are uttered. If they get there too late, I guess it’s “oh well, they’re married, might as well go down a pint”?
So did that ever work? Surely a forced marriage is grounds for an annulment, right? (Granted, there are surely times and places where the bride, alone, wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. We’re talking about “riding to the rescue before it’s too late” sort of cases, where the bride has advocates.) In fact, in the Sherlock Holmes story we were watching, Sherlock points out that “forced marriage is a felony”.
So is it just a staple of bad fiction, or are there cases in any time or place of the mere fact of the wedding ceremony being completely performed being the point of no return and rescue? Alternately, in various times and places would the very fact of that kind of annulment ruin a woman’s social standing, when if the marriage hadn’t been completed (I don’t mean consummated, I mean the ceremony itself) she’d have been fine?