Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Something tells me that he objects.

Donkey: Shrek! Hold up, Shrek! You got to wait for the line!
Shrek: [about to burst into the cathedral] What are you talking about?
Donkey: The line, the line you gotta wait for: the priest's gonna say "Speak now or forever hold your peace", and you rush in and say "I object!"
Shrek: I don't have time for all that!

We've all heard this one before.

The Love Interest is about to get married to the Romantic False Lead, and everything seems to be going smoothly. But then the cleric gets to the infamous line. You know, the one the trope's named after. The point of the ceremony when objections to the marriage are invited.

Sure enough, Just in Time, The Hero bursts in with a flowery declaration of love (and/or a denouncement of the hypotenuse as the utter Jerkass he/she really is). Or if it's the hero and love interest at the altar, some other lover will object. Either way, once that line's uttered, someone's bound to not hold their peace.

Or, groom-to-be harbors a sinister secret that is known to the audience but has managed to keep it well concealed from his bride-to-be, her family and guests. The hero – not necessarily a romantic rival – bursts in, exposes the villain, and all hell breaks loose.

Or, one of the prospective spouses is already married, but believes in legally good faith their first love to be deceased (ie: last seen just before a disastrous shipwreck several years ago, long missing and ultimately declared by a court of competent jurisdiction as presumed dead). Imagine the shock when the long-missing sailor walks into the chapel during the ceremony after seven years absence — trapped on a Deserted Island, Gilligan-style — to make one frantic last attempt to reclaim a lost love.

In the end, most of the time, The Rival is deposed, the hero and Love Interest kiss and make up (and might even get hitched on the spot, after all; Why Waste a Wedding??), and they all live Happily Ever After.

Never mind that the original point of asking was to check if an unknown legal reason would invalidate the wedding, such as an existing marriage or consanguinity; any reason will suffice when true love is at stake. On the other hand, it is before the Wedding Deadline.

Usually subverted these days: either the officiant doesn't even have time to get to the line before the seething tensions break loose, or the one character who objects to the union is petty, superficial, and thankfully silent at the fatal moment. On the other hand, sometimes when the line is said, everyone turns to a person present who obviously seems to have a problem with the marriage, only to have that person in embarrassment tell the officiant to keep going.

Bleah! We really don't need to see this one again. Little wonder it's hardly ever played straight anymore, though if handled correctly, may be the setup to a Crowning Moment of Awesome or Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.

It's not even played straight in Real Life these days; the officiant's words and the couple's vows are different for every wedding. Many weddings exclude this line altogether, but it's still legally significant in some jurisdictions—for example, in the Church of England. In the era before faceless government bureaucrats issued marriage licences, it was not uncommon for a minister of religion to read the "banns of marriage", asking if there was any reason why these two should not be married, on consecutive Sundays for several weeks before the ceremony – mostly as a safeguard against one of the spouses already being married to someone else. Legally, this tradition is largely still a valid alternative – although its use may only make sense if both of the pair are known to the local community and neither have been through a prior marriage and divorce.

Interestingly, one of the reasons it was removed from many liturgies was the tendency of certain self-important and arrogant jerks to disrupt strangers' wedding ceremonies by objecting, usually by accusing the bride of being a disease-ridden whore. Ha. Ha. And why not throw in an Unsettling Gender Reveal against fiancé or fiancée for good measure? (Or better yet, the intruder is a Stalker with a Crush who somehow believes he/she and the target were somehow meant to be together.)

See also The Graduate Homage Shot.

Examples of Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace include:


  • The Volkswagen television commercial "Big Day" features this as the only line of dialogue. The rest of the commercial is a man frantically driving cross-country in a race against his beloved's wedding to another, and throwing the church doors open right as the priest says, with dramatic reverberation, "speak now or forever hold your peace". The commercial ends with the caption "fasten your seatbelts".
  • A twist on the trope was used in a series of Christian-themed commercial spots about doing the right thing, where someone is just about to declare his/her intentions before someone arrives, interrupts and presents evidence on why the protagonist should reconsider or do something else. One example was a city council that was about to vote on a lucrative development project, which would involve the razing of a building used as a community center for troubled teen-agers; just before the mayor was about to call for the vote—and a well-timed "speak now"-type silence—supporters of the community center burst in at the last second and urged the council (successfully) to stop the development.

Anime and Manga

  • As shown in the picture above, points for scale go to Gundam Seed Destiny. Forced into an arranged marriage with Yuna, Cagalli is despondent and resigned as she approaches the altar. Cue dramatic music as her twin brother Kira arrives at the wedding, landing his Gundam two feet away from the center aisle. He doesn't say the line, but the implication is pretty clear given where he breaks in on the ceremony. And it works like a charm.
    • Note that it slightly subverts the straight trope, because this is the true love's job, not the brother's.
  • In Mai-Otome, as a variation, Akane's lover Kazuya disrupts her Meister ceremony, just as she is about to become the King of Florince's Otome, proclaims that he loves her, and the two flee away. As a subversion, it is later revealed that Kazuya becomes the new King of Cardair and Akane is forcefully contracted to him as his Otome, allowing them to be together but effectively cancelling the possibility of sex between them.
  • In Speed Grapher, Kagura Tennouzou tries this in the wedding of her mother Shinsen and her henchman Suitengu. Not only it didn't work, but, going From Bad to Worse, Shinsen dies.
    • Saiga tries this later, when Kagura herself is about to be forced to marry Suitengu. It works much better this time.
  • Also happens with Sanji saving Nami from marrying Absolom in One Piece. Subverted in that Sanji gets told off, and that it's Nami's friend Lola who really breaks it up.
  • Sad version occurs in Billy Bat: An African-American woman's wedding is broken up when, at the crucial line, her white groom's family can't keep their peace (it's 1959). The groom ultimately decides not to go along with them, or at least catch up to her and apologize.
  • Rainbow - Nisha Rokubō no Shichinin has a rare scenario for this trope: Mario defies this trope after Joe attempts to convince him to invoke it. It ends up as a subversion where Mario witnesses Setsuko's wedding and does nothing about it, smiling to give her his best wishes.
  • Code Geass in the second season. Xingke interupts the Arranged Marriage of Tianzi and Oddeysus. Seeming subverted as his speech was political in nature and his overt reason was to spite Britania, but his relationship with Tianzi and Tianzi responding with a blush when Kaguya asked if she was in love with him, play the trope straight after all.
  • In My Bride is a Mermaid, this is pulled in a Shinto wedding ceremony from the titular Mermaid-Bride. And as she's a big time Mermaid Yakuza boss's daughter interrupting a wedding involving another Marmaid Yakuza daughter, she's carrying a big ol' katana.
  • The manga Negima Neo has a moment for this which degenerate into ranged battle. Curiously, in this verse Fate was the perfect Prince Charming Asuna was marrying. Negi stopped the wedding just because he felt it was a waste — there is not the slightest reason to think Fate was secretly evil.
  • In Strawberry Panic!, Nagisa and Tamao are possibly about to be announced Etoile. Most Etoile pairs end up becoming couples if they aren't already, and Shizuma bursts into the chapel at the last minute to prevent this.
  • In the Rental Magica episode with the wedding (episode 21 in broadcast order, the final episode in chronological order), the show's protagonist objects to the wedding – and runs off with both of the prospective spouses.

Comic Books

  • Played absolutely straight in a Douwe Dabbert adventure.
  • The Flash: At the wedding of Wally West and Linda Park, it was the bride who objected, not because she didn't want to get married, but because there'd been a certain amount of trauma preceding the ceremony and she wanted to make sure that the groom had his head screwed on straight before they did anything irrevocable.
  • Superman: Averted in the case of Clark and Lois; Lois's father arrived late to the wedding, just before this line, but assured his wife he wouldn't interrupt the ceremony for the world.
  • Parodied in Amazing Spider-Man 600 at the wedding of Aunt May and J. Jonah Jameson Senior. No-one interrupts, but JJJ Junior is officiating, so...

Anyone? This's your window. Right here. Take your time, I can wait.
sigh Very well.

  • Lampshaded in The Batman Adventures at Joker and Harley's wedding. Joker keeps pressing the justice of the peace to speed up the ceremony—and when he gets to this part, Poison Ivy surfs through the window on a vine.

Ivy: I object!
Joker: I knew it! I KNEW IT!

  • Titeuf makes it occur because of the trope's name. You know, in French the sentence is "Speak now or keep quiet forever". Titeuf, who was instructed to keep quiet during the wedding, yelled that he agreed to keep quiet for a few hours, not forever!
  • Elfes parodied it with orcs (and one stray elf) being attacked by a whole pack of hungry sabertooths.

Killrok: If someone's got a plan to get us outta here, speak now, or forever hold your peace!

Fan Works

  • My Life as a Teenaged Von Neumann Device plays this essentially straight in Chapter 11, except for the line "If any should dare oppose it, let them feel the full weight of the empire upon them!" instead of the traditional one, as it's an alien wedding and all.
  • Reunion, a Kim Possible fanfic, has an interesting variation. Ten years after high school and six years after Ron disappeared from Kim's life, Kim is about to marry a guy named Ray Beam, who is secretly a villain trying to destroy both Kim and Ron. When Ron, now a costumed ninja hero named Ronin, returns to Kim's life, Beam frames him for his attacks on Kim. At the wedding ceremony, when the priest says those magic words, Wade (who had secretly been working as Ron's backup after the break-up of Team Possible) interrupts the ceremony. The fact that Wade, who was notoriously agoraphobic and seldom left his family's house, attends the ceremony to challenge Beam causes the priest to take him seriously.
  • In a Gargoyles fanfiction by Christine Morgan (appropriately titled "The Wedding"), Brooklyn suggests that the line be omitted on the grounds that their enemies shouldn't be given a cue to interrupt.
  • In "White Devil of the Moon", Miyuki Takamachi treats Jadeite's attack on Kyouya's wedding as one of these after the fact. Jadeite along with several youma and robot drones attacked the wedding in an attempt to assassinate Nanoha, the reincarnation of Princess Serenity in this fic. Kyouya, Miyuki, Shiro, some of the guests and security guards, and Fate are able to hold off Jadeite's forces until Sailor Venus arrives. Venus takes out the youma while Fate finishes the drones. Jadeite attacks Nanoha, but is intercepted first by her father and then by Venus. While Venus stalls him, Nanoha obliterates Jadeite with a Divine Buster. Then Miyuki speaks to the guests. She wipes her swords off on her ruined bridesmaid's dress and says, "Does anyone else have a reason why these two should not be wed?".


  • Subverted in Big Trouble in Little China, wherein the heroes find themselves forced to stand by and allow Lo Pan to marry their girlfriends, because it is only after doing so that the villain will become mortal and thus, killable.
  • Played with in The Baxter, which actually starts with this scene: Caroline is about to wed her perennial Romantic Runner-Up fiance Elliott when her ex-boyfriend bursts in, ready to win her back. He does, of course, but the movie isn't really about them.
  • In Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, the mortal heroine Victoria chooses not to interrupt the marriage of Victor to the titular Corpse Bride, Emily, even though it will involve his death. It is Emily herself who stops the marriage; she is the Corpse Bride because her lover abandoned her, and she can't inflict that pain on another person.
  • In the 1980 version of Flash Gordon, Flash objects to Ming's forcibly marrying Dale by impaling him with a war rocket he's crashing into the capital of Mongo. Also, Dale herself objects to the proceedings ("I do not!")
  • Played mostly straight in Four Weddings and a Funeral. Except that the "speaker" is the only one in the room who can't actually speak.
    • The speaker, in fact, is the groom's deaf-mute brother and best man, who forces the groom to interpret his sign language because no one else can. The effect is a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • The often-parodied archetype is the penultimate scene of The Graduate (Though technically, he shows up after peace has been held).
    • In Wayne's World 2, Wayne re-enacts the famous scene, only to discover that, oops, he's in the wrong church. And then steps outside to discover that there's an identical church across the street. And goes in and does the whole thing over again, as everybody in the wedding, including the minister, calls him a "son of a bitch". At least this time, he's in the right place.
    • Another parody takes place in Kimagure Orange Road, where Kyosuke tries to stop Madoka from getting married. Or so he thinks, because Madoka was only replacing the true bride (her older sister) during a wedding essay.
  • In The Guru, not one but two men interrupt Sharonna and Rusty's wedding: Ramu has come for the bride, and Randy has come for the groom.
  • This occurs in the climax to Harold and Kumar Escape from Guntanamo Bay. All the standard cliches apply, of course.
  • Played dead straight in Made Of Honor.
  • Subverted in Mambo Italiano. The gay main character's closet-y love interest has been browbeaten into marrying a woman. As the wedding begins, we see the main character make up his mind and purposefully get in his car. Then at the "forever hold your peace" bit, the church door bangs open. But it's just a late arrival ("Scusate! Scusate!"). He, on the other hand, has gone off to hook up with the nice guy from his volunteer job.
  • Also subverted in The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (while we're on the subject of gay comedies), in which the title character tries to stop the wedding/commitment ceremony of his ex-boyfriend and the ex-boyfriend's new, villainous 'Log Cabin Republican' partner. The big, climactic 'running in to interrupt the wedding' scene actually doesn't pay off, but Ethan and his ex do end up getting back together eventually.
  • Happens in Norbit. Interesting case, as the objector is married (though very unhappily).
  • Skipped, of course, in The Princess Bride.
    • Luckily, most of the rest of the wedding was skipped, including the 'I do's.'
  • Subverted, then subverted in a different way in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Robin stops the (forced) marriage of Marion to the Sheriff just before they kiss. Then later, King Richard objects to Robin and Marion's wedding, but only because he wants to do it over so he can give the bride away.
  • The ending wedding in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs is a prime example of this trope, right down to Lone Star discovering his status as a genuine prince to be able to marry Vespa.
    • Also done in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. The titular character crashes the wedding right in the middle of Maid Marion saying "I do" which she stretches out into "I dooooo NOT!"
  • Played with in Three Men And A Little Lady: the apparently senile vicar reaches this part and asks the question multiple times, and almost confuses someone's hat moving as an objection. Nevertheless he continues and the marriage happens. Two of the titular three men finally prove to the woman of her husband's real plans after it's apparently too late... Only for the vicar to remove his makeup and costume to reveal it is the third man, therefore revealing his earlier stunt (and his performance during the wedding in general) as a means to gain time and that, obviously, the marriage is null and void.
  • Owen Wilson's character does this in Wedding Crashers.
    • Although this one is a bit different in that he doesn't want to stop the wedding, just talk to one of the bridesmaids.
  • Averted in What About Bob??, where the titular Bob is marrying his psychiatrist's sister. The good doctor, having been driven insane by his patient, is only able to gurgle at the critical moment—he then regains his speech (first words: "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!") after vows have been exchanged.
  • Spoofed in While You Were Sleeping, in which the main character—having been pretending to be the fiance of a man in a coma in order to spare the feelings of his family, is now in the chapel about to be married to him when she's in fact fallen in love with his brother—doesn't even let the priest get past "Dearly beloved..." before she raises an objection. And then the brother, who is the best man, feels he must also object. And then the groom's real fiancée storms in and objects. And then her husband objects to her objection...
  • The climactic scene of Rugrats in Paris was one of these, and doubles as a Big No and a Crowning Moment of Awesome since it is Chuckie's first word: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!".
  • Spoofed in the first Shrek movie. Shrek goes to interrupt the wedding of Fiona and Farquaad, but Donkey tells him he has to wait until the priest does his "speak now or forever hold your peace" bit before barging in and shouting "I object!". On further investigation, they find they missed that part, so Shrek barges in anyway.
  • Played mostly straight in Night at the Roxbury, where the groom's brother interrupts the wedding with a boombox held high, in homage to Say Anything.
  • In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Lo very vehemently disagrees about Jen's loveless marriage to a man of her parents' choosing.
  • In Saving Face, Wilhelmina breaks up her mother's wedding because her mother is in love with someone else.
  • Subverted in Atonement: Briony does not speak up, realizing it would be futile.
  • Spoofed in the Power Rangers Turbo movie. Divatox wants to marry the demon Maligore, and tells anyone who objects to SHUDDUP before she even busts him out of his prison. She starts having second thoughts once she gets a good look at him.
  • Combined with Wedding Smashers in The Castleof Cagliostro. Lupin, via recording, interrupts the Archbishop right after he says the trope name.
  • In The Best Man, Olly rushes across London to get to his beloved's wedding before she marries Olly's best friend (who turns out to be a cad) in time for The Words—and he might have, too, except that he shows up at the wrong quainte olde church. Fortunately his roommate, played by Seth Green, is at the real wedding and is able to stall the ceremony until Olly can get there.


  • The infamous interrupted wedding in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, though in this case it is justified: the interrupter, Richard Mason, is objecting on behalf of Rochester's legal wife, Mason's sister Bertha, whom Rochester has imprisoned in his attic because she is insane. Before this moment, Jane actually goes so far as to Lampshade the absurdity of the phrase, declaring to the reader that no one ever really pipes up...
  • Charlotte's sister Anne mentions the same trope in her book The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: When Gilbert Markham hears a rumor that Helen has been widowed and is getting remarried, he instantly packs up and leaves town, walking the final six miles when he can't find any transportation, intending to burst into the Church and interrupt the ceremony if he has to. Fortunately, it's Helen's brother who's actually getting married.
  • Nodded at in Pamela Dean's The Secret Country trilogy:

Fence: If any wight knoweth any reason why this coronation should not proceed, let him speak now or forever hold his peace.

    • There is a damn good reason why it shouldn't, but no one speaks up.
  • In Teresa Edgerton's The Castle of the Silver Wheel, Wise Prince Tryffin learns that his very young cousin Gwenlliant is being forced into an Arranged Marriage, and interrupts the ceremony to allow her to claim that they have a Childhood Marriage Promise (which in their church constitutes a precontract, and thus is a legal impediment to any other marriage if it isn't dealt with). He also tells the groom - a man notorious for abusing all three of his previous wives as well as his mistresses - that the man is lucky; if the marriage had gone through, Tryffin would have killed him.
  • Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair features the somewhat unique example of a marriage being interrupted by a person who doesn't exist; the man whom the main character is in love with is about to be married when Mr. Briggs, the lawyer from Jane Eyre, arrives to declare the existence of an impediment, with almost exactly the same wording as in the book, except for the fact that the impediment exists in the form of the bride's still-alive husband.
  • Ellery Queen breaks up two weddings at that line because one of the parties is a murderer. One of them is Face to Face.
  • The Action Heros Handbook gives very practical advise about how to do it (having a prepared speech and a getaway vehicle ready helps heaps, as well as notes of apology and money so you can pay for having ruined a wedding). It also advises you to avoid doing it during the tropenaming line, since emotions will be running quite high at that point.
  • There is a comedic version of this trope played out in what this troper is fairly certain was a Tom Sharpe novel- the groom has been driven insane through the course of the novel, and hypnotised by his psychiatrist (the bride-to-be) so that the wedding can take place successfully: he can pretty much stand up, smile and say "I do", so they assume the wedding is pretty much fool-proof... until the priest asks if anyone knows of any reason that it couldn't take place.
  • Present in Hawkbrother weddings, but apparently the wedding party has the right to reject the objection.

These two wish to join together in sight of our clans ... If there be any here who object to this joining, give tongue that we may hear and consider what you have to say

  • Done twice in the Wicked books by Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman. In the first chapter Dawn gets up at her dad's wedding to protest, based on the fact that she and her future step-brother Rory can't stand each other. She then runs out of the church and the wedding goes ahead without her. In the last chapter, Jack and Eileen get married again, but Jack interrupts at that point to take the time to thank Dawn and Rory for everything they did to stop the virus that nearly killed them all.
  • Happens in Phone Home, Persephone! on Hades and Persephone's first attempt at getting married.

Live-Action TV

  • The appropriately named Saturday Night Live sketch "Wedding Objections" is stuffed to the gills with this.
  • Coronation Street has played this trope straight more than once(one example has the bride herself objecting) but its the subversion of this trope that's actually one of the most well known. At Peter Barlow's wedding to Shelly Unwin there was no problem getting to the altar except for that fact that Peter was already married and in fact had just had a baby with someone else. It was set up to look like either Peter's troublemaker little sister Tracy, Kieran his best man and old friend would spill the beans( both had known about this for ages) or his wife who had just happened to walk by with the baby would interrupt, the Friday episode ended almost on this line exactly. However on Monday no one said anything and the baby starting fussing forcing Lucy to leave.
  • Subversion: The Vicar of Dibley: At Alice and Hugo's wedding, a woman bursts in insisting that she has the papers to prove that the groom is already married, but when Hugo turns around, she looks sheepish and says "Whoops, wrong church." In yet another subversion, Geraldine dreams that she has accepted marriage to her perennial nemesis David Horton, but at the last second Sean Bean (whom Geraldine has a long-standing crush on) bursts into the church to stop the wedding and the dream.
    • In another dream, Geraldine fantasizes that she's the one breaking up a wedding, while singing "It Should Have Been Me".
    • And at Geraldine's wedding, no-one objects, but the officiating vicar, who's had a crush on her since the seminary, tries to encourage people: "It can be anything at all."
  • Also spoofed in Ugly Betty:

Betty: [Barging in] I object!
Priest: We haven't gotten to that part yet!

  • Subverted in M*A*S*H during Margaret's wedding. The priest gets to that line and everyone (including Margaret) turns to Frank, who was Margaret's lover for the past few seasons and eventually fell in love with her. Frank shifts awkwardly and replies, "Well, I'm not going to say anything!".
  • An episode of Monk involved Monk interrupting a woman's wedding to convince her to take back her ex-husband. Then, when Monk figured out that the ex-husband was a murderer, he interrupted their remarriage ceremony to convince the woman not to take him back after all.
  • In Waterloo Road, Tom discovers that the 16 year-old girl he's looking after is going to marry her long-term boyfriend. He rushes to the Registry Office, enters at the correct point and states the marriage is unlawful. It isn't- she's got the required permission from her estranged father, her mother was killed at the end of the previous season and he has no legal authority over her. Turns into a fight afterwards, though.
  • Parodied in The King of Queens. The priest gives the line, Spence is about to object on the grounds he still loves the bride...only for someone else to stand up and do so before he does.
  • Subverted in Peep Show, where Mark, desperate to get out of marrying Sophie, actually looks hopefully around the church for someone to come up with a reason. No-one does.
  • Parodied by Monty Python's Flying Circus in their 'Scotsman on a Horse' skit, in which the wedding is interrupted at a similar point by the titular scotsman entering the chapel, walking down the lane and, without missing a beat, wordlessly carrying off... The groom.
  • Subverted in Twin Peaks. An elderly man is about to marry a (reputed) nymphomaniac, despite concerns that she may cause him to have a heart attack through overexertion. After the priest's call for objections, the groom's equally elderly friend stands and proceeds to castigate the bride, only to have the sheriff take him by the elbow and gently steer him outside, still ranting. The wedding continues uninterrupted.
  • Subverted in The Nanny. During Fran's wedding, the priest says the line, but Sylvia simply glares at everyone present as a warning of what will happen if anyone objects.
  • Neatly used in an episode of Psych; Shawn's objection has nothing to do with why the bride and groom should not be married, but it's the only opportunity he has to do The Summation and reveal how the maid-of-honour committed the crime.
  • Turns up in the Torchwood episode "Something Borrowed", with the twist that the interrupter isn't a romantic rival, as most of the congregation assume, he's stopping the wedding because the bride has been implanted with an alien egg, causing her to look nine months pregnant, and the egg's mother is coming to rip it out of her.
  • Subverted in Californication, where Hank, having spent the whole season trying to convince his ex to choose him over Bill, not only doesn't object at the wedding, but tries to stop Bill's daughter when she objects.
  • Edmund Blackadder tried to get married quickly, in order to avoid having to marry the Spanish Infanta; his hastily-arranged-bride-to-be's husband objected.
  • Doubly invoked in The Dead Zone episode "Speak Now", first to inform the bride and groom that according to Johnny's visions the bride's beloved previous fiance is not dead, but a POW, and then a second time when the bride and groom themselves call off the ceremony, having realized that they can't go through with it while that situation is unresolved.
  • In the Season 1 finale of the BBC's Robin Hood, Marian is about to go through with her promise to marry Guy of Gisbourne. In an interesting twist, it isn't Robin that crashes the wedding, but his servant Much (Robin turns up on horseback soon afterwards though).
  • In The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith", the registrar's reading of the words ("Now, I have to ask this...") is almost drowned out by a strange wheezing, groaning noise. Guess who bursts through the door yelling "Stop the wedding!" Of course, given the show, the wedding is actually an elaborate trap and the poor groom is just an Unwitting Pawn.
  • Used/subverted in A Different World. As Whitley prepares to marry Byron, Dwayne walks in just as the minister is reciting the ". . .hold your peace" line. He's about to speak, but thinks better of it and sits. However, when the time comes for Whitley to recite her vows, she freezes. Seeing her uncertainty, it is * then* that Dwayne leaps up, declares his love for her and begs her to marry him instead of Byron.
  • Lampshaded in Amen. When asked if their are any objections to her marrying Reuben, Thelma turns around and glares at everyone, then walks up and down the aisle to ensure that no one interrupts.
  • Used many times in soap operas. A particularly notable example was in General Hospital, where Laura's ex-husband Scotty shows up to catch the bouquet at her and Luke's wedding to protest the marriage long after the vows have been said. Guess something about his wife leaving him for her rapist must really bother him.
  • In the third season finale of Gavin and Stacey, this gets quadruple-subverted at Nessa and Dave's wedding. The vicar does the standard speech and no-one says anything. He says "That's always a tense moment". Then Smithy shows up. He tries to persuade Nessa not to marry Dave but she says she loves him. Then Dave persuades her that she really doesn't and just wants a father for Neil the Baby.
  • Bones has this done with the wedding of Angela and Hodgins. As it turns out, Angela was already married.
  • Touched By an Angel had an episode that played the trope right: a guy who'd been in a coma brings an injunction to stop his exwife from marrying his friend, who had been given power of attorney and signed off on the divorce in the first place(which is what allowed him to get the injunction).
  • Everybody Loves Raymond Ray's brother Robert is about to wed his longtime girlfriend Amy when the priest asks if anyone objects, Robert's mother Marie stands, much to everyone's horror. The kicker is that Marie actually likes Amy (much more than Ray's wife Debra) and has been pushing Robert to marry her for years. She declares that she may have been wrong to put so much pressure on them. Unfortunately she chooses that moment to say so, basically ruining their day. It may have been the moment when the character crossed the Moral Event Horizon from Meddling Parent to Evil Matriarch.
  • Subverted on the 9 September 2010 episode of The Young and The Restless, which featured the wedding of Billy Abbott and Victoria Newman. The minister (played by Elinor Donahue) begins to say the line when Billy suggests she skip it. Given the large number of extended Newman and Abbott family members in attendance, this was wise. Subverted again when the cops break up the wedding for unrelated reasons.
  • In Lois and Clark, Perry and Inspector Henderson burst in and prevent the wedding of Lex and Lois, playing the trope completely straight like the Big Damn Heroes they are.
  • A late entry: Get Smart has Max marrying a KAOS femme fatale. It's a fake wedding - the Chief is officiating so it won't be legal - but this doesn't stop a very pregnant and jealous 99's loud disruptive sobbing through the ceremony. The Chief gets to the "hold your peace" line, getting ready for the worst, Max rolls his eyes and looks back at her, everyone in the congregation turns around to look at her... and she just groans, waving them off.
  • Played for laughs when Michael and Ben get married in Queer as Folk, as Brian is notoriously anti-marriage:

Official: If anyone knows of any reason why these two people should not be joined marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace.
Brian: *looks like he's about to say something*
Debbie: You say one word, and you will be holding more than your peace.

  • In Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Horace and Myra were getting married. Just as the Reverend reached this part of the ceremony, Hank walked in. (Myra used to work in Hank's salon, 'entertaining' customers, and he had previously refused to attend the wedding as he is in love with her. Or what he considers love, anyway.) Everyone stared at him until he waved the Reverend on and sat down, giving his blessing to the wedding.
  • Yale used the comedy version when Bess and Morgan (re)married in Earth2. 'If anyone has any reason why these two should not be wed, keep it to yourself or deal with me.'
  • On How I Met Your Mother, when Lily is getting ready to marry Marshall, her ex-boyfriend Scooter asks when in the ceremony people will be invited to object to the union. When told that weddings don't really do that part anymore, he decides that gives him license to object at any point in the ceremony he wants.
    • Stella's ex-fiancé, Tony, does the same thing in the movie version of Ted and Stella's wedding. In real life, Tony talked to Stella before the wedding, but because it was a movie...
  • On Party Down, during Constance's wedding, it happens twice in a row. First her ex-boyfriend shows up claiming he still loves her and came after he got her message, which she left after drunk-dialing him a few days earlier. Then, once he's gone, Ron stands up and objects to an entirely different marriage, since his Love Interest Danielle and her fiance are at the ceremony too. Constance insists he go on with his objection anyway.
  • A double-subversion on Home and Away when Dan and Leah's mothers successfully stop their elopement, but not until after they've run into one wrong church.
  • Played straight with Paul and Rebecca's first wedding on Neighbours. Lyn arrives at the right moment to reveal that she and Paul are still legally married.
  • On CSI New York, Mac once interrupted a wedding because the groom's tuxedo had been contaminated with toxic chemicals. Unlike most examples, the ceremony is implied to resume as soon as the groom has changed clothes and been checked over by the EMTs. Three guesses which line the minister had just uttered when Mac interrupts....
  • In the Charmed episode "A Paige from the Past", Piper bursts into a church to object to the marriage of (the ghosts possessing) Phoebe and Cole, who are holding a priest at gunpoint to force him to marry them. The priest protests that he didn't get to say the line...
  • In Dallas, when J.R. and Sue Ellen are getting re-married, when the minister says the line, Sue Ellen's ex-lover & J.R.'s business rival Cliff Barns stands up and opens his mouth. This is the end of the episode. The next episode shows him closing his mouth and walking out. Talk about a 'Cliff hanger'!
  • In The Odd Couple, Oscar is elated when his ex-wife, Blanche, decides to remarry, as it means he'll no longer have to pay alimony. However, when the minister says the line during the ceremony, Felix objects, because he feels Blanche is marrying the wrong man. Blanche agrees and the wedding is off. The next scene shows the angrily brooding Oscar, at home later that day, playing a recording of the wedding on his turntable, and lifting the needle to hear Felix's "I object" over and over. Then Felix comes home from the church.

Felix: I stayed for the funeral.
Oscar: What'd you do, stand up in the middle and say he wasn't dead?

  • In Vega$, Dan goes to his secretary's wedding to stop her from marrying a guy who plans to marry her, then kill her and her son in order to collect the very large trust fund from her father which otherwise would be payable to her son. He has the police run a patrol car up to the church with siren, telling the guy that they found the witness that will prove he did this before. The guy panics and runs. It doesn't hurt that there's probably a lot of UST between Dan and his Secretary anyway.


  • "It Should Have Been Me", performed by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Yvonne Fair, and Dawn French (see above):

Then the preacher, oh yeah, the preacher asked,
"Will there be silence, please?
If any objections to this wedding, speak now,
Or forever, forever hold your peace."
Then I shouted:
"It should have been me!"

  • Elton John's "Kiss the Bride" is about an ex-lover who chickens out at this moment despite planning to do this.
  • Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" is about a (possibly) successful example of this trope.
  • Etta James' "Stop the Wedding" opens with this.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus's "Could've Been Me" mentions the trope:

My buddy John said you looked real pretty
And you acted like you were in love
He said the preacher asked for objections
And he thought about standing up.

Professional Wrestling

  • Subverted in the wedding of Edge and Lita on WWE Monday Night Raw, as the minister said the famed line, only for (the recently fired) Matt Hardy's entrance music to fill the arena. The whole proceedings stopped for several seconds... only for Edge to start laughing uproariously at the joke he had just played on the Smart Marks in the audience.

Recorded and Stand Up Comedy

  • Jeff Foxworthy once noted that anytime a pastor utters this line, any groom will be deathly terrified that someone is about to jump up and yell "I love her, and she's carrying my baby!"


  • In the second Dream Sequence in Lady in the Dark, Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace is the cue for the chorus to object to the mentally afflicted Liza's marrying Kendall Nesbitt, over her protests of "I do! I do!":

The murmurings of conscience do increase
And conscience can no longer hold its peace.
This twain should ne'er be joined in holy wedlock
Or e'en in secular board-and-bedlock.
This is no part of heaven's marriage plan:
This woman knows she does not love this man!

  • Sorta-kinda subverted, rather touchingly, in the finale of the obscure musical Side Show - Violet, one half of a Siamese twin pair, is marrying a man who can't cope with her 'other half' in order to preserve everyone's careers. There's a man who loves and accepts her who she has turned down (because she can't bear the stigma of marrying a black man), but "if there is anyone who thinks these two should not be joined together..." is meant to refer to Violet and her sister Daisy, who have just affirmed that no matter what happens, they are (literally and figuratively) bonded forever and love each other. No one stops the wedding.
  • Pulled by Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing....at his own wedding. When he's led to believe that Hero was banging another dude the night before, he begins the wedding by revealing everything that he had appeared to see, leading to Claudio and Don Pedro berating and insulting her as she sits crying, Don John pretending to be sympathetic for them, and Leonato completely flipping out and demanding Hero's death.
  • In bare: a pop opera, this line is said at Peter and Jason's wedding. Surprisingly, no one objects, even though most of the attendees are homophobic—unfortunately, it turns out that it was All Just a Dream.

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy X has Yuna being forcibly hitched to Seymour. Cue Tidus and the rest of the party crashing in on an air ship and cutting down the guards on their way to save Yuna.
    • And, as it turns out, Yuna manages to save herself (after the wedding is finished), and all Tidus and company manage to do is get themselves captured.
  • Apparently played straight in the final scene of The Secret of Monkey Island. You get to choose what to yell out — and yes, "ELAINE!" is an option. Lots of fun.
    • Alas, your heroism is all for naught, since Elaine has long-since freed herself and the 'bride' under the flowing veil is actually a pair of monkeys.
  • In the Hentai RPG Brave Soul Hero Rudy has to bust into the wedding of Cloudcuckoolander Rebellious Princess Karen to keep her from getting married to some prince she doesn't want to marry. He disguises himself by wearing a pair of spectacles. Then the two of them run off and have sex (it IS a h-game after all). The twist is that he gets away with it because the prince didn't really want to marry Karen either - he's actually gay and finds Rudy much more attractive...
    • Of course, being an RPG and not a visual novel means the game doesn't end there - you still have to beat the Dark Lord to get the actual ending.
  • In Rune Factory 2, when a girl with a maximum affection for you is being married to another guy, you can choose to congratulate them on their marriage, or be a Jerkass and run off the altar with her. Funny enough, the girl was apparently waiting for you to take her away, calls you a coward if you don't, which really makes you wonder why they were marrying the other guy in the first place.
    • Strangely enough, priest Gordon never says the line and you get to choose to steal the bridge after the vow. So, basically, you're destroying a freshly established marriage, rather than prevent one.
  • In Sakura Wars, the cinematic that shows during a combo between Sumire and Ookami is him crashing her wedding in a scooter and her riding away with him into the sunset. Every time. The current (unfinished) Let's Play by Spirit Armor posits that each time the cinematic plays represents Ookami going back in time to crash his own wedding.

Web Animation

  • In the Bonus Stage episode "Rya's Wedding", Joel and Phil arrive to crash... um... Rya's wedding, but the priest says they've still got an hour of reading to do. When he finally gets to the line, nobody objects.
    • Phil was waiting for Rick to say "I do", specifically so he could punch him and say "Looks like you don't."

Phil: "If I had done it that way, I wouldn't've gotten to use the one-liner!"

Web Comics

  • In a Shortpacked guest strip, this happens at David and Maggie's wedding. Not because Batman really thinks they shouldn't get married, but because some running gags just can't miss a cue.
    • And in their Real Life, pirate-themed wedding, "speak now or forever hold your peace" was answered angrily by a pirate troupe member, "shot" by another pirate troupe member, and then as the ceremony proceeded the body was carried off by the rest of the troupe.
  • In Fisher, during a wedding ceremony, Tom Fisher raises his hand and pretends that he wants to say something in response to this line. Then he adds "No, never mind", and whispers to his girlfriend "I've always wanted to do that!". She is clearly not impressed with his quirky sense of humor, and responds "Now you die."
  • Nodwick has a simpler variation in the orcish tradition: "speak now and forever rest in pieces".

Web Original

  • Episode 17 of The Joker Blogs, at Harleen's wedding: Joker shoots Father McHale before he can get to 'peace'.
  • Arby 'n' the Chief does this twice - first played for laughs ("Wedding"), then for drama ("Collapse").

Western Animation

  • Looney Tunes:
    • "Hare Trimmed" – Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam are romantic rivals to Granny, with Bugs out to stop Sam from marrying Granny (here, established as a rich widow) to clean her out. In the climatic scene, "Granny" (Bugs in disguise) agrees to marry Sam, but at the church, when the pastor says the requisite line, Sam notices who he's about to actually marry and runs out, screaming that he won't marry her for even a billion dollars! "Boo hoo hoo! Always a bridesmaid but never a bride. Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo," mock cries Bugs at the iris out.
    • Played with in The Looney Tunes Show. Bugs is forced to marry Lola Bunny, and when the priest says the line, Bugs desperately looks around to find someone who will object. Much to his surprise, Lola does.
  • In Rugrats In Paris, Chuckie utters his first word ( which was NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!) at the exact moment when his father is about to marry child-hating Coco LaBouche, who was only marrying Chaz to get a promotion.
  • Subverted on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, where Bloo totally destroys a wedding he believed was his best friend's. Turns out he was just the ring-bearer.
  • A similar subversion was done in an episode from the third season of Garfield and Friends in which Garfield thought Jon was getting married (he was in fact serving as the best man at his cousin's wedding).
  • In Justice League, Wonder Woman vehemently objects, with a tank, to Princess Audrey of Kasnia's wedding to Vandal Savage. Vandal Savage, however, simply knocks Diana out and continues with the service.
  • Variant in an episode of The Proud Family, where the objector is the groom's son; the groom is apparently senile and unaware of what year it is, among other things. He had a tendency to get in relationships with (and even marry) other women, only to wander off and forget about them.
  • ReBoot. Dot is about to marry who she thinks is Bob and just as they get to the line, the real Bob comes in to interrupt.
  • When this question pops up in one episode of The Simpsons, Homer knows that Troy McClure doesn't love Selma. So what does he do? He hums to himself, missing the opportunity all together.
    • In another episode, Marge interrupts Patty's wedding to another woman. At first Patty thinks it's because Marge can't accept the fact that she's gay (which did happen earlier in the episode), but in reality it's because Marge learned that Patty's spouse-to-be was a man in drag who was deceiving her.
    • Another episode had Grandpa Simpson and Mr. Burns both fighting for the romantic attention of Marge's mother. Abe interrupts her wedding to Mr. Burns with a declaration of love and a proposal of marriage, but she says no, having decided she doesn't want to marry either of them.
  • Played with in the episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog where Robotnik gets married. Thing is, he knows that the woman to which he's getting married is not the right gal. (The reason why he's getting hitched is that the woman demands it because she's so lustful for him.) Just as Sonic's about to marry the two, Robotnik's mother comes in screaming "You bet I object!" Turns out that Sonic hired her to storm the spot because It Seemed Like a Good Idea At the Time.
  • In Ben 10, the priest was shot in the mouth by the bride's parents, who were aliens made of slime. They objected to their daughter marrying a human groom, despite the fact that this would unify both their races. Oddly, they were around for the entire episode while everyone prepared for the wedding, but specifically waited until the ceremony and that line to ambush the proceedings.
  • Done on an episode of the animated series Beetlejuice, in which Lydia was being forcibly wed to outlaw Bully the Crud, a large and mean-tempered bull. The quivering official, terrified of the groom, invited anyone who objected to either "hold up a hand -- or hoof -- or forever hold your, uh, cud." A few of the attendees held up their hands, briefly, until Bully threatened to shoot them. Fortunately, BJ himself showed up at literally the last possible second to interrupt the proceedings.
  • In the Family Guy episode "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Fonz", Peter's father flashes back to Peter's behavior at a cousin's wedding:

Priest: And if anyone knows of any reason why these two should not be married let him speak now.
Peter: (looking around) Really? Nobody's going to speak up? I'm the one who's going to have to say it? ahhh. Alright. GENITAL WARTS.

  • The Princess and the Frog: When the priest asks if "anyone objects to this union..." during Charlotte LaBouff's marriage to Naveen's impostor, the real Naveen, trapped in a box in frog form, tries screaming, "Me! Me! I object!" he and Ray are forced to become Wedding Smashers.
  • One of the many spots of All My Circuits on Futurama makes fun of this trope. But then, they cover all the soap opera cliches with that Show Within a Show.
  • Parodied in Pucca, when Garu's enemy, Tobe, is about to get married. Since Garu never talks, he raises his hand and waves it around, unnoticed, while the presider looks around, saying, "What's that? Nobody? Oh well, moving on then."
  • While they don't wait for the line (they miss it), this happens in the second Season Finale of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, with a twist. The one who does it is Princess Cadence and Twilight to stop Queen Chrysalis, Cadence's impostor and the shapeshifting Big Bad from marrying Cadence's husband-to-be, Shining Armor.

Real Life

  • There was one time at the end of World War I where a priest was conducting a ceremony between an Austrian POW and a Russian woman. It was interrupted by someone from his town shouting that he was already married to His Girl Back Home... which is why the question is asked at weddings in the first place.
    • Speaking of World War I, there was an isolationist political cartoon drawn near the end of the war that showed Uncle Sam getting married to a woman with the words "League of Nations" written on her dress. When the priest said the trope words, a man with the word "Congress" written on his clothes smashed through the window holding a piece of paper saying "will of the people."
  • The long-established common-law practice of reading official banns of marriage for three consecutive weeks in the prospective couple's home church, as an alternative to approaching a city clerk for a marriage licence, was successfully exploited by Rev. Brent Hawkes of the Metropolitan Community Church during the battle to legalise same-sex marriage in Toronto, Canada after the turn of the millennium. Presumably he'd ask "if anyone dost know a valid reason why these two shalt not be joined together in holy matrimony...", wait for someone to object that the pair were same-sex, then respond that his religious beliefs dictated that this was not a valid just cause or impediment to his performing the marriage ceremony. This bit of freedom of religion then became the "foot in the door" to take the battle to recognise these religious marriages through the courts.
    • Conversely, the use of "banns of marriage" read on multiple consecutive Sundays, which was once required by English law, was an obstacle in cases where a Parental Marriage Veto necessitated marrying in secret, then presenting the union as a fait accompli. Elopement to Gretna Green, the first town across the Scottish border, was the traditional workaround as Scottish law was historically more permissive. It's still done sometimes for tradition's sake, although the legal basis for it being necessary is now gone.
  • Subverted by at least one pastor when he performed wedding ceremonies. He would replace the normal line with, "If anyone has reason why these two should not be wed, SHUT UP!"
  • When same-sex marriage was legalized in New Jersey in 2013, outgoing Newark mayor Cory Booker officiated the state's first same-sex marriages at Newark City Hall. When he got to the line, a heckler jumped up and shouted, "This is unlawful in the eyes of God!" The heckler was quickly thrown out by security, and Booker then said, "Not hearing any substantive, worthy objections, I will now proceed," to a standing ovation.

The Straight Man: Yes! Me!

Guests: "Ooh, come on!"