This article investigates developments in and antecedents of socially mixed marriage in the rural Dutch province of Zeeland during the long nineteenth century, taking individual and family histories, community contexts, and temporal influences into account. A government report of the 1850s said of Zeeland that farmers and workers lived "in indifference together". However, our analysis of about 163,000 marriage certificates reveals that 30 to 40 per cent of these rural inhabitants continued to marry outside their original social class. Multivariate logistic regressions show that heterogamous marriages can be explained first and foremost by the life-course experiences of grooms and brides prior to marriage. Previous transitions in their occupational careers (especially to non-rural occupations for grooms, and to service for brides), in their migration trajectories (particularly moves to urban areas), and changes in the sphere of personal relationships (entering widowhood, ageing) are crucial in understanding marriage mobility. © 2005 Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis.