In every wedding ceremony, there is the opportunity for someone to object to the marriage. We’ve all seen the films. The girl is about to marry Mr.Wrong. Just in the nick of time, prince charming runs into the church screaming ‘I OBJECT’. He declares his love for her, and they run off into the sunset. But what happens if someone objects during a real wedding? We did some research to find out.
Reasons To Object To a Marriage
Let’s start with reasons to object during a wedding ceremony.
Most wedding ceremonies see the officiant saying something along the lines of; “If any person here present knows of any lawful impediment to this marriage, they should declare it now.”
The most important word in this statement is ‘lawful’.
Any objection has to have a legal reason behind it. This could be that the bride or groom is already legally married to someone else, that they’re too closely related or that one of the parties is being forced into the marriage.
One of the reasons we must legally give notice of marriage is to make public your intention to marry. If anyone has a legal reason that your marriage can’t go ahead, this is the point they should declare it. Any discrepancies will be ironed out prior to the wedding day.
You must give notice at least one month prior to your wedding date for your marriage to be legal. Read more about giving notice here.
If Someone Objects To Your Marriage
During a modern wedding ceremony it’s very uncommon for anyone to actually object. So uncommon, that there are no official rules on what your wedding officiant should do. However, it is widely agreed that they would have two options.
The first and most agreed on action is for the wedding officiant to take the objecting person to another room where they can privately give their reason for the objection to the wedding.
The other option is for the wedding officiant to ignore the person who has spoken up and continue with the wedding as normal. In this case the wedding guests usually deal with the objecting party and encourage them to leave.
When you give notice or have your banns read, your details are checked against all the records held on you. This includes details of your birth (which would highlight how closely you’re related to your partner) and your marital history (which checks whether you are currently married). These checks make it very unlikely anyone objecting on the wedding day has a valid legal reason to do so.
Where Did The Objection Part Of the Ceremony Come From?
In the 12th century the Catholic Church gave people the ability to object to a marriage both before and during a wedding ceremony.
Historically, it was much more difficult to check the marital status of people from other towns. If they weren’t from the town it was also difficult to know the ages of the people being married, and if they were related.
Word of mouth and trust in local communities meant that to make sure a marriage was legal the townspeople had the opportunity to object. If anyone did come forward, their statement was taken under oath and the wedding postponed until it had been thoroughly investigated.
This prevented illegal marriages taking place and helped to protect vulnerable people long before records became widely available.
A hundred princes could declare their love during your wedding ceremony, but having a crush isn’t a legal reason to stop the wedding.