George Washington White and Martha Cleopatra Rawls were the great great grandparents of my wife. They were married in Smith County Tennessee in March 1867. At the time the groom was required to file a bond for $1,250. George Washington White and his brother Lafayette White both signed the bond.
A $1,250 bond in 1867 would cost over $37,000 in today's dollars.
The bond had to be obtained in the county where the bride lived to guarantee there was no moral or legal reason they couldn't get married.
So if the groom already had a wife who showed up before the wedding day he could risk owing the $1,250 penalty to the county.