Speak Now: What Really Happens When Someone Objects At A Wedding

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by Anna Brech |

A fascinating discussion thread on Reddit reveals what really happens when someone responds to that momentous phrase, "If anyone here knows of any reason why these two should not be wed".

Mostly, of course, this obligatory utterance is greeted with silence and perhaps the odd nervous giggle.

But very occasionally, someone does have an objection - and they decide to speak rather than hold their peace.

Hundreds of people replied to the question posted this week that asked, "Redditors who have objected at weddings or seen someone object, what happened in the next 5 minutes?"

Their stories unearth moments of hilarity, disbelief and supreme awkwardness.

Unbelievable tension

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"I can't even imagine how the bride and groom felt" ©Getty

One poster recalled a wedding where the daughter's parents disapproved of her husband-to-be because of his previous divorce and a 10-year age gap between the two.

"All was going well, until the preacher asks the audience if anyone has objections to why they should get married," the Redditor writes. "And as serious as can be, dad of the bride stands up and says 'her mother and I object,' and then after a long hesitation sits back down. Silence. No-one can believe that that just happened. Not knowing exactly how to handle it, the preacher just says 'OK' and finishes the ceremony as planned.

"I can't even imagine how the bride and groom must have felt. My friend says the tension in the room was unbelievable."

Humour gone wrong

Some instances of objection, it seems, come about due to a misplaced sense of humour.

"My middle brother has a very odd sense of humor that occasionally causes issues," another person wrote. "One of those issues is that he likes to whip his balls out at random times and see how long it takes people to notice. The night before the wedding he told me that at some point during the ceremony he was going to cough loudly, and that would mean his sack was out. I laughed it off.

"Our officiant got to the 'speak now or forever hold you peace' bit and I hear a cough from where my brother was sitting. Both my husband and I whipped around in disbelief, but the audience thought we were daring any of them to say something I guess, so they all laughed. Little did they know what was actually going down in the crowd."

An icy reception

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"I realised that everyone in the room was actively hating me" ©Getty

A few brave people even recalled the way in which they themselves had objected at a wedding.

"My ex-stepmom was getting married to my cousin," said one person. "I really like my cousin, and my ex-stepmom is one of the worst people I know, so I tried to talk him out of it, but he was committed. They said their vows and everything, but when the pastor asked if anyone objected, I stood up.

"I talked about how terrible of a person my ex-stepmom was, and how she was tricking my cousin. I practically begged him not to marry her, but he wouldn’t even look at me. After a minute of me talking, I realized that everyone else in the room was actively hating me, so I left. They’re still married to this day – five years next Thursday. They seem to be genuinely happy. I’m starting to wonder if I just had the wrong idea about my ex-stepmom. I go over to their house sometimes and eat dinner."

Fainting drama

Other incidents of wedding objection have occurred thanks to some strange twist of fate.

"My now father-in-law was in our wedding party when I married my wife," says one understandably shaken-up groom.

"It was an outdoor wedding in August. Slightly hot, but it was a quick ceremony. When the officiate asked this question, my wife's father started backpedaling really quick and fell over. He's sort of a jokester, so everyone was like 'what the hell man?' and my wife was pissed.

"It took a moment to set in but he actually passed out. Turns out he locked his knees and with the heat just passed out.

"In our wedding photo where we start the procession out after being married, you can actually see his feet in the background where EMTs (emergency medical technicians) had him on the ground making sure he was OK."

Rogues and swindlers

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In olden days, the phrase was intended to catch out any illicit shenanigans at weddings ©Getty

Nowadays, the legality of a marriage is determined prior to the ceremony, by means of wedding banns or a marriage licence.

But in a bygone era, the phrase "speak now or forever hold your peace" was intended to catch out any illicit shenanigans in an age of "charlatans, swindlers, elopements and bad record-keeping", according to Live Science.

So, what should you do if someone objects at your wedding in the here and now?

"This is a sensitive situation, so begin by calmly pausing the ceremony and taking the conversation off to the side or into a room that is more private," marriage therapist Dr. Jane Greer tells Brides magazine. "Reply succinctly and with appreciation, but focus on the affirmation of your bond as a couple about to be married."

READ MORE: The Sexist Origins Of Six Time-Honoured Wedding Traditions

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