“Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace”: 25 Real-Life Stories
The seemingly innocuous formality of “speak now or forever hold your peace” can lead to different outcomes. Sometimes, it’s just a quiet moment when everyone holds their breath, while other times, it unleashes so much drama that it disrupts the entire ceremony.
Wedding officiants often witness the aftermath of this question more than anyone else. When Reddit users asked them to share what happened after this phrase was uttered, the responses were exquisitely juicy. Take a look below to feel like you’re part of a romantic comedy movie with some of the most intriguing stories.
On the day of her wedding, I told my close friend I thought she was totally insane. I pointed out that she’d met the guy 3 months before, when she’d just been dumped by the man she’d been in love with for 6 years. And he’d done nothing but live with her rent free, jobless, smoking weed every few hours, since. That he couldn’t hold a job and wasn’t that cute and had weird uber-religious parents. I also said, if you do this you’ll never finish college, you know? (we were 20 at the time) She thanked me for my opinion and said she was doing it anyway. They’ve been married now for more than ten years, have a cute little farmhouse and one child. He’s an amazing dad and a loyal, loving husband.
I attended a wedding to do only this about 13 years ago. A friend in college had dated someone who was abusive.. verbally and physically. I was aware of this, and the guy kept it going, he was abusive all the way. He was going to get married to a woman we all knew, and I had been told through one of her friends that he had an ‘abuse’ issue with his new fiance once, but she forgave him and that it ‘wasn’t a big thing’. Knowing that he had abused her too, I showed up at the wedding and pointed out that the guy was a serial abuser and that if it was my kid, I would not want this wedding to happen. The wedding did not go on. I left hurriedly right after because.. let’s just say I didn’t feel so safe for bringing it up openly there. I hope she had a fine life afterwards.
#3 I wasn’t there, but when my cousin was little (like 3) she attended her dad’s best friend’s wedding. She was in love with said best friend. So when they asked that, she yelled “WHY DID YOU MARRY HER?!” Much laughter ensued, and we still talk about it thirty years later. Pretty sure they’re still married.
#4 We were doing the practice run the day before the wedding and my best man took me aside and told me in private that if I got cold feet he would object and “start some s**t” to distract everyone for me to make my exit. He even checked the back church doors to make sure. During the ceremony he was the first person I looked at when they asked. Besides the Peter griffin laugh when he handed me the ring it all went smoothly.
#5 My dad, just before he walked 19-year old me down the aisle, whispered in my ear, “You don’t have to go through with it, sweetheart.” 3 years of abuse and a divorce later, I wish I hadn’t.
#6 It happened at my wedding. My now husbands group of high school friends say together at the back. When the question was asked one yelled “but I love him!” The room was silent for a second before my husband and I broke out laughing. It wasn’t a serious ceremony, we had a sex joke mixed in there and I had a bridesmaid faint. 10/10 would have my ceremony happen the same way.
I’m a wedding photographer and about 3 years ago I was photographing a wedding in Liverpool in the UK (I highlight this as those people who know Liverpool will know)
I started work at 8am with bride prep. About 6 hours into my day it was the ceremony after photographing guests etc. That went by without a hitch. Did the bride and groom photos and heard so many I love you’s and we headed inside where it was the wedding breakfast/meal. Then the speeches came.
Brides father gave a brilliant speech. Grooms father was pretty good too. Best mans was abit awkward and shakey. Then it came to the grooms.
He started by thanking everyone for coming and apologised wasting their time. He went on to say how his best man and wife had an affair 6 months previous for a good couple of months but called it off blah blah blah. Turns out the brides mum and dad knew and didn’t say anything (they paid for all the wedding) so he decided to go through the day wasting all their money and brides etc. Him and his best mates minus best man went on the honeymoon to Mexico instead.
Was a pretty awkward ordeal!
I wasn’t officiating but attending a family friends wedding (Groom). I was sitting pretty far back so I didnt hear everything but basically as soon as the officiant said “Speak now or forever hold your peace”. One of the bridesmaids had muttered something under her breath. There was a big gasp and then chaos because one of the other bridesmaids had started swinging on her and the bride was egging her on. The groomsmen stepped up and broke it up and the bride and groom walked away to talk.
What I found out was the bridesmaid who had spoken up was the groom’s sister. She apparently had found out that on the weekend of the bachelorette party the bride had screwed her ex BF. She had muttered it “under her breath” but of course loud enough for the wedding party to hear. The brides best friend then started swinging on her.
Everything was awkward until they called the wedding off and hour later.
A few months later they broke up. I guess the bride had had a few more indiscretions during their relationships that came out in counseling.
Not the officiant, but a guest at a wedding years ago at the bride’s parents home. Everything was perfect. They thought that they had thought of everything, but when the question was asked, right on cue, the cuckoo clock sounded off. It was ten minutes before they could continue, and even then the officiant, bride and groom were choking back giggles. They were still together 25 years and 2 kids later.
At my wedding a few years back, a good friend of mine stood up and told me he’d always been in love with me, and begged me to run away with him. My relationship with my fiance/now-husband was fantastic and I’d never seen my friend as a romantic partner, so there was no way that was happening. I told him I was happy where I was and that I was sorry I couldn’t return his feelings but that’s just how it was, to which he threatened to [unalive] himself if he had to watch me marry another man. So I kicked him out. The night my husband and I got back from our honeymoon this friend called to tell me he’d just swallowed a bunch of pills and it was my fault. I called the EMTs to save him, and have washed my hands of him since.
Mandatory “not an officant” disclaimer. After my mom died from a brain tumor in her early 50s, dad met a woman at a bereavement group. I happened to go to college with this woman’s son, but I didn’t know this at the time. Anyway, dad started dating this woman who turned out to be crazy. That didn’t stop dad from deciding they should get married. My sister, her then-boyfriend, my then-wife and I were all present at the wedding, along with her kids and friends from both sides. During this part of the ceremony, my sister’s boyfriend started chanting under his breath “don’t do it. DON’T. DO. IT.” All 4 of us nearly lost it at that point. I was trying so hard not to laugh out loud that I was having trouble breathing. Dad and the crazy b***h were married, and she went from bad to worse. Dad got sick and was prescribed pain meds, which she stole from him and self-medicated herself. Dad, barely able to walk, would leave the house to go out, just to get away from her. He ended up in the hospital for an extended time (emergency surgery and a long recovery). I flew halfway around the world to visit him when he was admitted to the hospital, but his crazy wife couldn’t be bothered to drive 15 minutes to see him. He was still recovering and realized that he was going to spend the rest of his life in an assisted living facility, so he filed for divorce from the crazy one. They sold the house they had bought, and dad put all his money into a trust fund, managed by my sister, so that his soon-to-be-ex couldn’t get her fingers on it. He passed away shortly thereafter. I remember very little of the wedding, except my ex-BIL repeating “DON’T DO IT!” …
I knew for a fact the bride had cheated on the groom while they were engaged, about three months previous. My speaking up ruined a few friendships, had several people from the bride’s family try to assault me, and ended my friendship with the groom. He later confided that he appreciated me speaking up, but hated me for not doing it sooner, and said it hurt too much to be around me after that.
#13 “I’D RATHER DIE THAN LET THIS MAN MARRY MY DAUGHTER!!” -Mother of Daughter The husband was an abusive alcoholic, the daughter showing up at her mother’s door multiple times covered in bruises with her children crying, and when the priest asked the daughter if she still wanted to continue she was like “Yeah. He’s gonna change.” He did not.
My grandmother’s sister’s family owns a large farm and on this farm is a beautiful strawberry patch. My cousin got married in peak strawberry season in the patch. It was beautiful. The patch is right beside the irrigation pond the sprinkler system is attached to that keeps the strawberries watered. As the preacher asked if anyone objected to the match a flock of geese took off from the pond going, “WAAAACK, WAAAACK, WAAAAACK, WAAAACK!” It was captured on film and everyone got a kick out of it.
#15 Friend’s in-home wedding. A thunderstorm started as they started the ceremony. “Speak now or forever hold your peace” – huge thunderclap that echoed for a few seconds. It was accurate, don’t think they lasted a year.
True story: My Father has been married 5 times, and at the last wedding it happened – twice.
July 7th, 2007 the family and friends began to gather; all of us taking turns trying to talk him out of marrying the woman he had only met a few months before, but his mind was set. Since the date was so popular and arrangements were made so late the “minister” was a used car salesman with a certificate from an online site. The wedding and reception were held in my fathers back yard that happened to be right next door to his best friend, which he proves to be that day… I was resigned to my fate of best man that day ( my first and only time with that honor) when the ceremony began. My father began with a speech explaining how two people could meet and fall in love in such a short time and that he knew it was hard to believe… and that’s when his best friend, just in time from his fishing trip, raised his Tanqueray and tonic to ask, “is this the part where we object? Cause I’d like to!” In all my life I’ve never witnessed the mix of relief/shock/humor/horror and all the other emotions this stirred… my sister cried, his friends laughed, her family cringed, but my sweet grandmother was so stoic I’ll never forget. My father calmly said, “no Bud not yet” and went on; he began to talk about other relationships and people and how he knew this a marriage thay would last. And that’s when our hero spoke again, “How about now? I REALLY need to object to this!” The same sentiment was felt throughout and yet my father replied, “no Bud we’re not doing that” and then turned to the minster and said, “we should probably skip that part.” The ceremony went on… and so did the marriage- for about 6 months.
Tl; dr my dad’s best friend objected at his wedding and my dad wished he had listened.
#17 At my wedding we were asked that, as the room went silent all of a sudden we heard my friend’s 4 year old pipe up with “I’m a jellyfish!”. Broke the tension!
I haven’t but someone at my first wedding did. The groom’s mother took me aside and said “I’ll give you $100 to leave right now, this family is nuts.” She would know, she divorced the groom’s father twice and now had almost nothing to do with them they were so terrible. Little did she know, the wedding was fake, we were married exactly 1 year before that when he convinced me he’d be deployed and I’d be left stranded by myself. I would’ve taken her $100 and gone too. He was crazy.