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"If anyone can show just cause why this couple cannot lawfully be joined together in matrimony, let them speak now or forever hold their peace."

Ask yourself, have you ever actually heard it at a wedding in real life? What would happen if someone actually did? For one, in the United Kingdom, you could be arrested if you don't have a legal reason to object!

It's an Actual Crime in The United Kingdom to Object Without Cause

Yep, it's an actual crime to object in the UK, where the tradition dates back to the 16th Century. And you must have a valid reason for objecting and no, "Because I love her," is not a valid reason. The only objections can be for one of four reasons: either one is already married; the couple is directly related in some way (father, son, mother, daughter, siblings); if either the bride or groom is on the run from the law, or if one is AWOL from the military. That's it. "He's a cheater!" doesn't work, nor does "She's only in it for the money!" Only those four things can stop a wedding, legally.

What Happens After a Person Has Objected?

This is where it gets good! In the U.K., if you object to a marriage, the first thing that happens is that the wedding freezes. Nothing more can go on. And it stops no matter what, so the next three things can happen. Even if it's the cousin that everyone thinks is funny trying to make a joke, it halts and the police are called. So don't make a joke, you won't be happy because yes, once the police arrive, they will question you and if you don't have one of the four reasons we've talked about, you will be charged with a crime. The punishment for that crime could be up to six months in prison, so it's doubtful you'll think the joke was worth as you sit eating a bologna sandwich in the county lockup. It should be noted, while all this is technically true, there isn't a whole lot of evidence that any of this has happened in the recent past.

It's Obsolete in The United States

If you live in the USA, the odds are you have not heard the phrase used at all. It is, in fact, exceedingly rare to it included in the ceremony. That's not to say it never happens, but it's very, very uncommon. Even when the phrase is used, actual objections virtually never happen. If it were to happen, besides freaking everyone out, the officiant of the wedding would have to think quickly.

If It Were To Happen The Priest Would Try to Work it Out Privately

In most cases, the officiant of the wedding would pause the ceremony and ask the bride, groom and the person objecting into a side room to discuss why he or she is objecting. But for most people, this is all just theory and the vast majority of celebrants have never had this happen, no matter how many hundreds or thousands of weddings they have officiated. Just as you would expect, most of the time, the wedding goes off without a hitch and the happy couple begins their lives together.

But not always:

I Object! 24 Stories When Weddings Were Objected And The Chaotic Five Minutes Following

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