The requirement that a congregation of at least ten adult Jewish males be present for the wedding service was evolved gradually. In Talmudic times, when the nuptials and betrothal were two distinct ceremonies separated by up to a year’s time, the nuptials were emphasized; betrothals were most often held informally at home. There was no stated need for an authorized rabbi, or a minyan.

As a consequence of this loose structure, many "doubtful" marriages resulted from boyish pranks or the desire to blackmail the fathers of unsuspecting young girls. Numerous responsa were written in reference to this problem, "so that the daughters of Israel may not be considered as unprotected property" to be treated with careless abandon. As a result, the betrothals required an ordained rabbi, the minyan was considered desirable at betrothals for the public pronouncement of the blessings, and the ketubah was read publicly. In this way, the community placed its official stamp on the marriage.

According to the Halakhah, the nuptials require a minyan of ten men, which includes the groom and his two witnesses, (the minyan, unlike the witnesses, may be related to the groom). The presence of the minyan during betrothals, considered "desirable" in the Talmud, was made a requirement in the eighth century by Rabbi Ahai, author of She’iltot. If no minyan is present and the betrothals cannot be delayed, the betrothal blessing may be pronounced. The blessing is valid, as the presence of a minyan is only a post-Talmudic precaution.

The blessings of the nuptials, however, may not be recited if there is no minyan. In addition, the same seven nuptial blessings, which are recited on each of the seven days following the wedding, require a minyan. If there is none, only the last blessing (asher bara) may be recited at the table—but even this blessing requires the presence of at least three people. The last blessing may not be recited even in the presence of three under the chuppah, as the seven blessings must be treated as a single unit at that time.

The need for a quorum in both these ceremonies is somewhat unusual. The minyan was ordained for a prayer of sanctity such as the kaddish. The nuptials, technically, are not prayers of sanctity, but there are other reasons for the presence of a quorum of ten.

First, in respect to the blessing of G‑d, Shehakol bara li-khe’vodo ("who created all things for His honor") and to the mention of the Holy City of Jerusalem, it would appear disrespectful to affirm them without the presence of a congregation of ten. The marriage is so important that even though its blessings are not in the technical category of sanctity, they are treated as such. Homiletic support for this was derived from the marriage of Ruth and Boaz (Ruth 4:Zff), when Boaz summoned ten men to witness the event.

Second, it teaches that a wedding is not just a celebration of the establishment of interpersonal relationships. An announcement is made to the world, represented by the community of ten, that two people are about to enter upon a special relationship that will redefine the expectations of other men and women toward them in other relationships.

The minyan also speaks to the couple, underscoring the idea that Jewish marriage must be integrated into the Jewish community, as symbolized by the community of ten. Finally, it declares to all who are present that the marriage is celebrated before G‑d, that this union has cosmic significance, and that G‑d’s will, will be realized through it.