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Old 10-15-2017, 09:30 AM
pianodave pianodave is offline
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Speak now or forever hold your peace

Hi SD,

I was at a wedding yesterday. It got me thinking, is this cliche or trope really a real thing? Do officiants say this phrase often? "If anyone has a reason why these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace." I think it may have happened once or twice in all the weddings I have been to. There is a pregnant silence, and then the wedding continues. Is it common for people to object? What happens if someone has a reason they want to make public about why the two should not be married? Does the priest stop the wedding and mediate? Must they let the person speak? Is the person's objection valid? Where did this tradition begin?

Thanks!

Dave
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:48 AM
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Yes, it happens. Sham marriages are a thing here. Government link here. And sometimes the police get it wrong.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:55 AM
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I've officiated seven weddings and have never included the line. It is not required (in Pennsylvania).

Six of my seven couples are still together, the seventh parted due to death.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:57 AM
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It used to be a standard part of the ceremony back in the old days. It was basically a polite way of asking if anyone knew of a reason why these two shouldn't get married, like if one of them was already married in another state. It was more of a formality than anything else in most cases.

I've never personally heard of someone actually objecting, but poking around on google I did find a few stories. In one case, the bride's parents didn't really approve of the groom, and the father stood up and said that they objected. There was an awkward silence, the priest finally said ok, and they continued with the ceremony. I found a few similar stories where someone stood up and said something, but in most cases the ceremony just continued. There was one story (and this is from the internet with no cite, so who knows if it really happened) where the bride objected, then turned around and thanked one of the bridesmaids for sleeping with her husband-to-be the night before and stormed out of the church.

If anyone ever objected for the actual legal reason the phrase was put into wedding ceremonies, I'm not aware of it. It may have happened at some time though. Wouldn't surprise me.

Most ceremonies don't include it these days. When I got married (about 25 years ago) we were given the option to include it if we wanted. We opted not to. The priest said that sometimes people wanted a traditional ceremony just like from the old days, but otherwise it was rarely included.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:58 AM
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As I understand it, the most common objection was bigamy. If you knew that one of the people already had a spouse in another town, you were supposed to speak up.

I have no idea how common it has ever been to wait until the ceremony to speak up.
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Old 10-15-2017, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Quartz View Post
Yes, it happens. Sham marriages are a thing here. Government link here. And sometimes the police get it wrong.
Sham weddings certainly happen, but in any of those cases did someone object at the exact moment in the ceremony where the priest/preacher says "speak now or forever hold your peace"?
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:28 AM
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When we got married (2012) the minister used the line, but instead of saying "speak now or forever hold your peace" he finished it with " just keep it to yourself!"
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by janis_and_c0 View Post
When we got married (2012) the minister used the line, but instead of saying "speak now or forever hold your peace" he finished it with " just keep it to yourself!"
My niece got married last weekend (the officiant is ordained by the Universal Life Church, in fact ), and he included a very similar line in the ceremony.
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:02 PM
pulykamell pulykamell is online now
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I've been to about 150-200 Christian weddings and I may have heard it 5 times at most? But I did hear it last weekend at a Nigerian wedding at an African Methodist Episcopal church. I've never heard it at a Catholic wedding; only protestant ones. (And the 100 or so non-Christian weddings I've been to didn't include this phrase, but I only know of it at a Christian ceremony trope.)
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:14 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
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It's kind of a last minute "banns".

Again, to permit people to object to an illegal marriage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banns_of_marriage
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:15 PM
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I've never heard it at a Catholic wedding;
Catholic tradition is to post banns of marriage and also read them from the pulpit during mass on three consecutive holy days before the wedding. Since there was ample opportunity to object to a marriage beforehand, there wasn't much point to ask for objections during the ceremony. (Banns are no longer required but are often still published in the church bulletin.)
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Old 10-15-2017, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I've officiated seven weddings and have never included the line. It is not required (in Pennsylvania).

Six of my seven couples are still together, the seventh parted due to death.
Who killed whom?
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Old 10-15-2017, 02:01 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
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I've officiated seven weddings and have never included the line. It is not required (in Pennsylvania).

Six of my seven couples are still together, the seventh parted due to death.
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Originally Posted by Siam Sam View Post
Who killed whom?
I think Kayaker is just saying that you have a 93% chance of surviving a Kayaker officiated wedding.
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Old 10-15-2017, 02:37 PM
Elendil's Heir Elendil's Heir is offline
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From the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church (the American offshoot of the Church of England):

Into this holy union N.N.. and N.N.. now come to be joined.
If any of you can show just cause why they may not lawfully be
married, speak now; or else for ever hold your peace.


From "The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage," on p. 424 here: https://www.bcponline.org/. I have always heard it in Episcopal weddings (including my own).

I also heard once of a practical joker who ran into a church just as the line was said, looked intently at both bride and groom, said, "Sorry, wrong church," and then ran out again!
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Old 10-15-2017, 03:22 PM
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Has no one read Jayne Eyre?
Quote:
"I require and charge you both (as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed), that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it; for be ye well assured that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow, are not joined together by God, neither is their matrimony lawful."

He paused, as the custom is. When is the pause after that sentence ever broken by reply? Not, perhaps, once in a hundred years. And the clergyman, who had not lifted his eyes from his book, and had held his breath but for a moment, was proceeding: his hand was already stretched towards Mr. Rochester, as his lips unclosed to ask, "Wilt thou have this woman for thy wedded wife?" — when a distinct and near voice said —

"The marriage cannot go on: I declare the existence of an impediment."
Note the point "When is the pause after that sentence ever broken by reply? Not, perhaps, once in a hundred years."; and this was written in the 1840s.

Last edited by bob++; 10-15-2017 at 03:23 PM.
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:35 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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If any of you can show just cause...
It was the "just cause" part that was important (although often dropped in more recent versions). It wasn't supposed to be an opportunity to say why you didn't like the couple; it was supposed to prevent the marriage of a couple that was not allowed to marry under the laws of the jurisdiction or church. As mentioned above, possible causes would be that one of the participants had a living spouse, or possibly that someone was marrying his deceased wife's sister (before that was made legal in the UK).
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Old 10-15-2017, 06:49 PM
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Note the point "When is the pause after that sentence ever broken by reply? Not, perhaps, once in a hundred years."; and this was written in the 1840s.
About once a season on TV.
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Old 10-15-2017, 07:38 PM
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Catholic tradition is to post banns of marriage and also read them from the pulpit during mass on three consecutive holy days before the wedding. Since there was ample opportunity to object to a marriage beforehand, there wasn't much point to ask for objections during the ceremony. (Banns are no longer required but are often still published in the church bulletin.)
This was why my minister didn't like doing weddings for people outside his congregation. He said that under the Aus system, he had a personal ?criminal? liability if he created a bigamous marriage.
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Old 10-15-2017, 10:35 PM
Noel Prosequi Noel Prosequi is offline
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In Oz, I have only seen it once, and that was when a South African minister was imported to do the ceremony. He was very clear that the reason for objection had to be a legal one (obviously with an eye to pranksters) and when he did it, the bride turned to the congregation with face full of fierce fury, terrifying any potential smartarses into silence. I assumed it was a SA requirement that he just unnecessarily imported here.
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Old 10-15-2017, 11:51 PM
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It comes originally from the Book of Common Prayer, where there were two exhortation. First, to the congregation:

"Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace."

Then, to the couple themselves, the exhortation already quoted from Jane Eyre:

"I require and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgement, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow are not joined together by God; neither is their Matrimony lawful."

(Bronte engages in a bit of dramatic licence, in having an objection from the congregation being made after the second exhortation. In fact anyone in the congregation wishing to object would presumably do so in response to the first exhortation.)

SFAIK these exhorations were an innovation at the time of the Reformation. The Catholic Rituale Romanum in use at the time said that the celebrant was to satisfy himself that the couple were free to marry, but didn't direct that he do this as part of the service itself. Practice as to doing this varied , I suspect, from place to place, with some places relying on a system of banns, others on licenses, etc. until a more centrally-controlled uniform system was introduced at the time of the Council of Trent, which didn't involve exhortations of this kind.

I don't think there was ever a civil legal requirement for these exhortations, except perhaps indirectly, if civil law required a celebrant to celebrate marriages according to the rituals of his particular church, and his particular church had rituals which directed the inclusion of the Anglican exhortations, or some variation on them.

Last edited by UDS; 10-15-2017 at 11:51 PM.
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Old 10-16-2017, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
I think Kayaker is just saying that you have a 93% chance of surviving a Kayaker officiated wedding.
It was actually a sweet situation. An elderly couple had lived together for 20 years, but never married. Both were terminal and being married would make things more convenient. A friend got me involved, and wedding bells ensued. The groom had an episode of shortness of breath while we "rehearsed" ten minutes before showtime. He recovered, we did a short ceremony, and their final year was a bit better.
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Old 10-16-2017, 06:53 AM
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I don't think the Book of Common Prayer is used much for many modern weddings in the Church of England (the stuff about carnal lust is not really appreciated), but the "series one" marriage service in the Common Worship book keeps this portion exactly as it was in the BCP.

And the more modern service in Common Worship still asks, but doesn't use the traditional language:

Quote:
The minister says to the congregation

First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 10-16-2017 at 06:54 AM.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:21 PM
igor frankensteen igor frankensteen is offline
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I always thought myself, that the important part of that phrase, was the "or forever hold your peace" segment.

To emphasize that the entire community should SUPPORT the marriage, and that everyone who may have wanted another reality, should grow the Eff up and adjust to this one.
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Old 10-16-2017, 08:59 PM
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As already pointed out, the exhortation is not to object to a marriage that you think is unwise or ill-starred; it's to object to a marriage that's illegal, because (e.g.) one of the couple is already married to someone else, or the couple are within the prohibited degrees of consanguinity.

If there is such an objection, but it isn't raised at the time of the ceremony, the objection doesn't go away. The marriage is still void, and the objection can be raised at any future time.

The "forever hold your peace" bit, therefore, doesn't really hold water. If you do raise the objection at a later point, people will ask why you didn't raise it right away, but if what you are pointing to is a real impediment to a valid marriage, well, it's still a real impediment.

I suspect what it may refer to is the position of the celebrant/minister. You can't later accuse or penalise the minister for purporting to celebrate an invalid marriage if, at the time, you didn't point out the invalidity to him.

Last edited by UDS; 10-16-2017 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 10-16-2017, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
Catholic tradition is to post banns of marriage and also read them from the pulpit during mass on three consecutive holy days before the wedding. Since there was ample opportunity to object to a marriage beforehand, there wasn't much point to ask for objections during the ceremony. (Banns are no longer required but are often still published in the church bulletin.)
Back during my Catholic life this is how it was done.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:01 PM
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I think posting banns of marriage is a dying custom in the Episcopal Church. I haven't heard of it being done for many years.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:04 PM
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Back to the Book of Common Prayer, right after asking the parishoners of any reason the pair cannot be married, it asks the bride and groom to confess any marriage impediment. In the 1928 American version (which a few traditional Episcopal churches still use), it also adds the lines
Quote:
For be ye well assured that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God's Word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful.
If the minister had any reason to doubt the lawfulness of the marriage, the older version allows him to ask for proof that the marriage is legal before going through with the ceremony.
(BTW, at the half dozen Episcopal services I've been to in the northwestern U.S., they use the 1979 BCP with the exception of one that used the 1928 BCP.)
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:20 AM
Annoying Buzz Annoying Buzz is offline
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As a wedding minister in Japan, I've officiated somewhere in the neighborhood of a thousand ceremonies, and have only said it once. And that was at the specific request of a couple where the groom was American and the bride had spent a lot of time overseas.

Since the ceremonies don't have any legal standing here (if you have the money, you and your friends can grab names out of a hat and have a new set of weddings each week if you want), the question doesn't really have any meaning, so it's left out.

Incidentally, in that one case, nobody spoke up.
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Old 10-17-2017, 12:32 AM
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As others have said, it comes from the Anglican/Episcopal tradition.

Here's that tradition in all its glory at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey.

Link to the point where the phrase is used:
https://youtu.be/schQZY3QjCw?t=1h14m17s

And here's the start of the wedding ceremony. Every woman's dream wedding!
https://youtu.be/schQZY3QjCw?t=1h3m40s
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Old 10-17-2017, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
I don't think the Book of Common Prayer is used much for many modern weddings in the Church of England (the stuff about carnal lust is not really appreciated), but the "series one" marriage service in the Common Worship book keeps this portion exactly as it was in the BCP.

And the more modern service in Common Worship still asks, but doesn't use the traditional language:
Quote:
The minister says to the congregation

First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now.
This is how it has been done at the 20+ weddings I have been to in the UK, 'lawfully' being the key word. Celebrants vary in how much of a dramatic pause they then allow, always followed by a bit of a smile and jokey comment before continuing with the service. I have never witnessed anyone speaking up, either seriously or as a prank.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir View Post
I think posting banns of marriage is a dying custom in the Episcopal Church. I haven't heard of it being done for many years.
I believe reading the banns three times is still a requirement in the UK, it certainly happened when we got married six years ago.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
It's kind of a last minute "banns".

Again, to permit people to object to an illegal marriage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banns_of_marriage
The old practice of posting banns is very significantly related to all this.

Remember, women didn't have much say as to who they were betrothed to. And being betrothed was a big deal. The actual ceremony was just the completion of the marriage ritual.

Often times a father might promise a daughter to another guy's son. Basically a business deal, a contract. And it sometimes happened that a better offer would come along. The banns would allow the original groom's father to raise objections. It was considered not all that different from bigamy. The "... forever hold your peace" part denoted the last moment such an objection could be raised.
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Old 10-17-2017, 08:58 AM
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Twenty seven years ago, my wife and I were married by our Rabbi in Pittsburgh. Because the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania required a blood test pre-marriage, my wife and I had actually had a civil ceremony in Baltimore County, MD, about 10 days before the "real wedding." (Maryland did not have the blood test nonsense.)

We waited in a room in whatever government building it was, and the Justice of the Peace, or whatever he was, entered. He read the ceremony from a script, which included the line about anybody objecting. And he stopped . . . and waited 30 seconds. It was only the 3 of us in the room - whom did he think was going to object?
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:08 AM
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I also heard once of a practical joker who ran into a church just as the line was said, looked intently at both bride and groom, said, "Sorry, wrong church," and then ran out again!
I so want to do this, but you have to know your audience and it's just not the kind of prank that will work well at most weddings.

I also wanted to do this at a wedding where I was sure it wouldn't work out, and it didn't, but it's just none of my business. Nobody stopped me from marrying my wife even though I'm sure someone must have thought they knew better. Our anniversary was Sunday, and I'm pretty sure this won't last another 39 years, but we'll just have to wait and see.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:17 AM
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It was considered not all that different from bigamy.
It was totally different from bigamy. The most that could be done if an engagement was broken by a man was a civil-law 'breach of promise' action. If an engagement was broken by a woman any legal action would have been laughed out of court, as it was held that 'a woman has the right to change her mind'. Many women got large payouts this way, especially in the 19th century.

The idea that women had little say about who they were married to is exaggerated. Sometimes in wealthy and royal families this was the case, but far less so the lower down the social scale you went.

Also, after age 21 the parent or guardian's consent for marriage was not needed.
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Old 10-17-2017, 09:26 AM
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Husband and I included this line, because we knew our friends are a bunch of smartasses, and that they would feel tempted to speak up, but that they wouldn't.

So basically just to troll our friends.
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Old 10-17-2017, 02:17 PM
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...I also wanted to do this at a wedding where I was sure it wouldn't work out, and it didn't, but it's just none of my business. Nobody stopped me from marrying my wife even though I'm sure someone must have thought they knew better. Our anniversary was Sunday, and I'm pretty sure this won't last another 39 years, but we'll just have to wait and see.
Well, sure. You don't want to rush into anything.
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Old 10-18-2017, 07:24 AM
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kayaker:

Quote:
Six of my seven couples are still together, the seventh parted due to death.
You'd have a perfect record if only you'd left out the "till death do us part" line as well.
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:26 AM
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I always thought it was "forever hold your piece".
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:53 AM
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It was totally different from bigamy. The most that could be done if an engagement was broken by a man was a civil-law 'breach of promise' action. If an engagement was broken by a woman any legal action would have been laughed out of court, as it was held that 'a woman has the right to change her mind'. Many women got large payouts this way, especially in the 19th century.

The idea that women had little say about who they were married to is exaggerated. Sometimes in wealthy and royal families this was the case, but far less so the lower down the social scale you went.

Also, after age 21 the parent or guardian's consent for marriage was not needed.
Betrothals were a big thing. Couples would oftentimes move into together and start working on producing a family between betrothal and the marriage ceremony. A woman left by a man during that phase could find herself in a terrible situation. No longer a virgin, possibly with child, sometimes even estranged from her family. Breaking off a betrothal had consequences. The groom would not be left off lightly. So, for example, him running off to marry another was something consider Not A Good Thing. Something that the original bride's family would be allowed to object to at the other wedding.

Keep in mind that dowries and such were often a part of a betrothal arrangement. So what happens to all that is tied up in this.

As to women choosing. I know living, young women from Indian families who have lived all or most of their lives in the US who had no say in their choice of husband.

Not only was a woman's right to choose a husband often limited in most countries back then it still is the norm in many countries right now.
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:43 AM
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I always thought it was "forever hold your piece".
Vs. pulling it out and plugging the groom?
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:55 AM
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Well, that too, but I was thinking more along the lines of "piece of your mind" or how op-eds in the newpaper are called pieces.

On the other hand, it could also refer to piece of ass. So many possibilities.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Betrothals were a big thing. Couples would oftentimes move into together and start working on producing a family between betrothal and the marriage ceremony....
Really? In what cultures/eras?
  #43  
Old 10-18-2017, 12:10 PM
WilyQuixote WilyQuixote is offline
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Originally Posted by Noel Prosequi View Post
In Oz, I have only seen it once, and that was when a South African minister was imported to do the ceremony. He was very clear that the reason for objection had to be a legal one (obviously with an eye to pranksters) and when he did it, the bride turned to the congregation with face full of fierce fury, terrifying any potential smartarses into silence. I assumed it was a SA requirement that he just unnecessarily imported here.
My bolding.

Nope. May be a thing in his denomination but its not a legal requirement.
  #44  
Old 10-18-2017, 12:32 PM
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GreenWyvern GreenWyvern is offline
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Originally Posted by ftg View Post
Betrothals were a big thing. Couples would oftentimes move into together and start working on producing a family between betrothal and the marriage ceremony.
I happen to know a certain amount about 18th and 19th century British and American history, and I don't believe that for a moment. If you have any serious historical sources to back up your statement, I'd be interested to see them.

Quote:
So, for example, him running off to marry another was something consider Not A Good Thing. Something that the original bride's family would be allowed to object to at the other wedding.

Keep in mind that dowries and such were often a part of a betrothal arrangement. So what happens to all that is tied up in this.
No, those were not grounds for objection under the banns.

The banns of marriage were about parental consent, forbidden degrees of blood relationship, existing marriages of either party, religious objections due to one party being a member of another faith, and similar. They were certainly not about contractual obligations such as betrothal agreements, or dowry. An officiating priest could not be expected to deal with things of that nature. Those were matters for legal action in the courts, if it ever came to that.

Again, if you want to argue the contrary, you need to find factual sources.

Quote:
As to women choosing. I know living, young women from Indian families who have lived all or most of their lives in the US who had no say in their choice of husband.

Not only was a woman's right to choose a husband often limited in most countries back then it still is the norm in many countries right now.
This is an entirely different and unrelated subject, which has nothing whatsoever to do with historical banns of marriage.
  #45  
Old 10-18-2017, 03:42 PM
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Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
I think Kayaker is just saying that you have a 93% chance of surviving a Kayaker officiated wedding.
But if you look at it another way, he might be saying you've zero chance of escaping alive.
  #46  
Old 10-18-2017, 03:57 PM
StusBlues StusBlues is offline
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Originally Posted by kayaker View Post
I've officiated seven weddings and have never included the line. It is not required (in Pennsylvania).

Six of my seven couples are still together, the seventh parted due to death.
I've done four myself (PA, IN, IA, and NE) and I've never used the phrase. In my review of marriage laws (most arduously in Nebraska), all that was really required was that both parties agree to be married and that the officiant solemnizes the agreement. Legally, you could get it done in under ten seconds. There is a vestige of this in Iowa, though: the couple takes a witness with them to the clerk's office to get the license. According to the relevant Pottawattamie County official, this is to validate that both parties are free to marry. You don't need divorce paperwork and such, but you do need a buddy who's free that day.
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  #47  
Old 10-18-2017, 07:58 PM
Melbourne Melbourne is offline
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Originally Posted by Annoying Buzz View Post
As a wedding minister in Japan,
[...]
Since the ceremonies don't have any legal standing here [...]
The Japanese have a civil contract? A civil ceremony? A Shinto ceremony? Or no obligation for child support and alimony at all?

Here in Aus there was a very lovely coffee advertisement with a Japanese wedding ceremony, back when wedding tourism was a thing. I guess that since, as you say, the ceremony has no legal standing, the fact that many countries wouldn't recognise that kind of wedding tourism, wouldn't have made any kind of difference to the participants.
  #48  
Old 10-18-2017, 08:50 PM
UDS UDS is offline
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Originally Posted by Melbourne View Post
The Japanese have a civil contract? A civil ceremony? A Shinto ceremony? Or no obligation for child support and alimony at all?

Here in Aus there was a very lovely coffee advertisement with a Japanese wedding ceremony, back when wedding tourism was a thing. I guess that since, as you say, the ceremony has no legal standing, the fact that many countries wouldn't recognise that kind of wedding tourism, wouldn't have made any kind of difference to the participants.
Marriage in Japan requires civil registration. You can have a religious (or non-religious) ceremony or not, as you wish; the ceremony is of no legal significance. You have to attend in person at the municipal offices to register your marriage; you can't do it by post or online. (So you can, if you wish, think of the registration as a civil ceremony.)

If a Japanese couple get married outside Japan, of course, they have to comply with local law or the marriage will not be recognised in Japan, and of course the local law may require or permit a ceremony. They can then take the paperwork from that back to Japan and file it to secure recognition of their marriage in Japan.

Or, they can just get married by registration in Japan and then have a not-legally-relevant ceremony abroad. Which is simpler and, therefore, probably what most of them do.
  #49  
Old 10-18-2017, 09:12 PM
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RivkahChaya RivkahChaya is offline
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
Sham weddings certainly happen, but in any of those cases did someone object at the exact moment in the ceremony where the priest/preacher says "speak now or forever hold your peace"?
It was also in cases where someone knew the bride wasn't "virtuous," or where one of the couples violated the 1/8 law (was part black) in states with miscegenation laws. The thing about marriage, is that in most states a marriage is legal (and it also is in the Episcopal church, I happen to know, because of a paper I wrote in college) as long as at least on member of the couple truly believes it to be a legal marriage. That means if one member is hiding something that would have made it illegal, or something were wrong with the minister's bona fides, as long as at least one partner did not know about the problem, the marriage was legal. That was why bigamy was a crime, but both marriages were legal. In other words, if a man married Susan while still married to Jane, but Susan truly believed he was free to marry her, then he still owed her the support he would owe a lawful wife, and if he kept up a double life long enough, children from the second marriage were not considered illegitimate, albeit, the guy was still going to prison as soon as he was caught.

Now, if Susan went through a wedding ceremony in full knowledge that the groom was still married to someone else, that was entirely different.

The idea was that once the knot was tied, you shouldn't cause trouble for people. If someone was, for example, passing, in a state where that wasn't legal, and married someone of another race, what was done was done, and don't make trouble.

Some people might actually have a cruel streak, and want to wait until after the wedding, but we're talking long enough ago when people were at least a little afraid of admonishments by a clergyman.
Quote:
Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
I always thought it was "forever hold your piece".
Nope. There is an expression "Speak your piece," which is probably why you are confused, but "hold your peace" used to be a common expression when I was a child. I think it was originally a southern expression, because I remember black people saying it more than white people, but maybe it was just a gentile expression. Most of the gentiles I knew as a child were black. Until I went to public school, I didn't know that many people who were white, but not Jewish. We happened to live in an apartment building that was mostly black families, though.
  #50  
Old 10-18-2017, 09:17 PM
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This was thirty years ago, but that phrase was included in the ceremony. He also instructed us to not turn around to size up any possible turncoats.





I wish someone had spoken up.
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