“Speak now or forever hold your peace” is a phrase that many soap operas have manipulated from time immemorial. After hearing it, we subconsciously expect some dramatic turn at the wedding ceremony. But even though nowadays we imagine a furious ex speaking up in response to it, it used to have quite a practical meaning in the past.
We at Bright Side thought it would be interesting to look into why someone can object at a wedding and to share some real people’s stories about it.
1. Your wedding could be canceled.
The tradition itself was introduced by the Catholic Church and goes back to the 12th century. During those times, it was a real way of ensuring the legality of a union before making it official. The planned marriage was publicly announced before the date so that the community would have enough time to come forth with any information.
Reasons for objection could be things like already being married to another person, pre-existing vows of celibacy or commitment to the church, being underage without parental consent, or close blood relations.
Nowadays, any legal obstacles to marriage are checked properly before the actual ceremony. However, for example in New Zealand, you can still submit a notice of objection to someone’s wedding if you think there are legal reasons why someone shouldn’t get married.
2. It may turn into a scandal.
Even though in modern weddings the phrase, “Speak now or forever hold your peace,” is a tribute to this tradition, sometimes people do use it as an opportunity to speak up and try to stop the wedding. Here are some stories from Reddit users who happened to attend weddings where this happened:
- The groom himself. He just stood up there and started crying and, in front of everyone, told the bride that he’d fallen out of love with her a while back, but he didn’t know how to break it off. It was extremely uncomfortable, they both stepped out, and 10 minutes later came back out and got married, because she apparently told him she was pregnant. They’re still together, with 3 kids. © naked_nun_run
- I was the best man at a wedding, and the groom’s older sister decided to play a joke and stood up and said “I object” then started giggling. The groom’s mother stood up, told her it was an inappropriate joke, and then told her to go home. This mother still refuses to talk to her daughter 4 years later. © PM_ME_UR_PHOBIAS
3. You may find out that you have a secret admirer.
The reason someone may want to interrupt the wedding may not be a desire to reveal something important, but might instead be to express their resentment about the whole thing. Of course, when 2 adults are so sure about their choice that they’ve decided to marry, no one, not even someone who is super close to them, could affect them. The only thing that could happen is that it will hurt their relationship. And here are some real stories about it:
Witnessed this a few months ago. Random guest stood up and proceeded to basically declare his love for the bride and pour his heart out, saying that it should’ve been him up on the alter that day. The whole room went dead silent. The bride turned red with embarrassment and the groom turned red with anger. The best man promptly called for the DJ/MC to start playing music. All this happened in front of that random guest’s wife. © rubber_band_ball
- The best man at my step-sister’s wedding did this. It was a very large wedding and the rehearsal was bigger than a lot of weddings. The minister was going over the vows quickly while giving instructions on what to do. When he said something about objections, the best man interrupted saying he had to put a stop to this. He was in love with the bride and was sure she felt the same way. My step-sister and everyone else was horrified. It caused plenty of chaos and confusion. As far as I know, after that, neither the bride nor the groom ever spoke to him again. © chadspdx
4. They will steal the show.
Someone could use this occasion to spice things up and make the ceremony even more unforgettable. This actually very much depends on the sense of humor of the newlyweds. Here are some examples from witnesses:
My dad was marrying his third wife. My step-brother and I were in the wedding party. He was about 6, I was 10. The preacher asks if anyone objects and my brother raises his hand so very politely. My dad asks why, and my step-brother replies, “Because I want you to promise to take me fishing whenever I want, first.” © Southern_Kisses
- This actually happened at my sister’s wedding. My brother-in-law’s boss decided to pipe up and yell, “Yeah mate, I gotta speak my peace… Oh sorry mate, wrong wedding!” Everyone laughed except my brother-in-law who was pretty pissed. © Redcap1981
5. No one would care.
However, in most cases, people are so excited about their ceremony that they would prefer to not even pay attention to someone’s shouting. And that sounds reasonable enough, take a look:
I attended a wedding as a guest of a family member and when the pastor said this, the doors busted open to the sanctuary and a man appeared and started to say “I do!” — but 2 huge ushers, one who was my date, quickly grabbed the guy before he could say anything but “Uhhh” under the arms and literally lifted him up off the floor and carried him out. The wedding continued as normal. Turned out the guy was the ex of the bride. Strangest sight I ever saw. © deleted
- I went to my older brother’s wedding when I was 5. They said the whole “speak now” speech and right before he was done, little 5-year-old me said, “I OBJECT!” And everyone turned to me. I was dead silent because I didn’t know what would happen. My dad asked me “Well, why do you object?” And I said, “I did not know what would happen if I did” and I was promptly seated. © Camero32
Have you ever witnessed an objection at a wedding? What happened next? How would you react if this happened at your wedding?