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This is taken as an instruction for Jewish parents to weigh their child's opinion in the balance during an arranged marriage.
Regardless of whether proper procedure is followed, this is not the end of the decision - it is believed by Jews that the final say belongs to God, who may have different plans (compare with the match of Jacob and Leah).
Also the age when shidduchim start may vary by community.
In frum circles, especially among Hassidim, eighteen is the age when shidduchim start and shadchanim take notice.
It's expected that the couple keep the shadchan up-to-date on how the shidduch is going at regular intervals.
If the shidduch does not work out, then usually the shadchan is contacted and it is he/she that tells the other side that it will not be going ahead.
The Talmud (Bavli Kiddushin 12a, first version) states that academy head Rav would give corporal punishment to a man who would marry without shidduchin, that is, In Kiddushin 41a states that a man should not marry a woman he has not seen, lest he come to violate Love your neighbour as yourself.
The first recorded shidduch in the Torah was the match that Eliezer, the servant of the Jewish patriarch Abraham, made for his master's son Isaac (Genesis Ch. Abraham gave him specific instructions to choose a woman from Abraham's own tribe.
If the shidduch works out then the couple inform the shadchan of its success.
In recent years, a number of shidduchim sites have appeared on the Internet.
After the match has been proposed, the prospective partners meet a number of times to gain a sense of whether they are right for one another.
The number of dates prior to announcing an engagement may vary by community. In stricter communities, the couple may decide a few days after originally meeting with each other.