I once got asked why the officiant at a wedding ceremony asks if “If anyone objects to this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.” They also asked me, “What happens if someone does object?” Good question, because who knows? Does a conflict mediator come in to settle all conflict, is a trial held, or if we’re lucky, does a street brawl break out ?? Shockingly, I didn’t know the answer. Curiosity got the best of me, so I asked the never-ending wisdom of my internet guru, Google, and here is what my research came up with:
According to AskYahoo (I know, not Google, but it came up in the search!), this tradition is a symbolic remnant of the Catholic Church’s wedding “banns,” dating back a gazillion years. Not many officiants even include this in their ceremonies anymore, but the more traditional churches still do. Banns were published announcements of forthcoming marriages, usually issued three weeks in advance. The Church officially established banns to reveal marriages potentially unknown to the couple’s parents, and to ensure that the bride and groom were not closely related. Remember, this was probably a law that dates back to the 1200’s, where you most likely lived in a small village, and marrying a cousin was not a crazy thing to do.
Also, this was asked because in old times, it wasn’t uncommon for some men to jump from village to village, marrying every women he sees. Let’s not forget, most women were betrothed to someone since they were children….so they could have been sneaky and married someone else. If someone else knew about it, they could object.
Like I said earlier, this phrase is usually left out of weddings nowadays. But, if it is included, and someone DOES object, the officiant usually stops the wedding, talks it out with the objector, bride, and groom…..and then the person is escorted out. Done deal…no legalities, just take the person out…..hopefully that brawl occurs! I’m just kidding!
So, hopefully you’re not worried someone will object….but if you are, just simply take that phrase out. It’s an outdated phrase, and who wants ANYTHING outdated to be at their wedding?