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“Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace” Phrase Origin and Meaning

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Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: The phrase “speak now or eternally keep your peace” was taken from a ceremony and is now frequently used in everyday speech. We’ll examine the definition, history, and sentence usage of the idiom “speak now or eternally maintain your peace.”

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

“Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace”

You can almost hear the ”speak now or forever keep your peace” line in a romantic comedy before it happens whether there’s a love triangle that leads to a wedding ceremony.

It’s dramatic, embarrassing, and makes for a fantastic film. Is it, however, realistic? Is it out of date? Are you really sticking to the old ways?

Is there someone that can stand up in front of the bride or groom in real life and profess their love for them in a last-ditch attempt to win their heart?

Here’s all you need to know about this notorious wedding day speech, from its roots to its current use:

Although movies make it seem as if wedding objections are common, they are actually uncommon. What’s even more unusual?

What an opportunity for objections must be included in the first place in a ceremony.

(What a relief!) Officiant Jill Magerman says, “Weddings are full of ritual.” “Fortunately, the adage ‘speak now or forever keep your peace’ is no longer widely accepted.”

Which raises the question: why was it used in weddings in the first place?

Continue reading for an in-depth look at the “talk now or forever keep your peace” practice, as well as practical (and fun!) alternatives you can use instead.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: How it Started

While television shows and movies would have us believe it’s an all-powerful declaration of love from a former flame, wedding expert Kristin Wilson says the roots are less dramatic.

Communication between areas was slow and difficult in Medieval times, she says, and record-keeping was anything but coordinated.

As a result, the Christian church coined the term to allow time for any legal problems in the marriage to be resolved.

There were hiccups, such as the bride or groom already being married, or the couple being (gulp) linked.

“The wedding announcement was made public for a few weeks to allow the word to spread to outlying areas,” she explains.

Saying’speak now or forever keeps your peace’ on the wedding day was like giving this new union one last chance until it was legally binding.”

Meaning of ‘Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace’ Mean?

“Should anyone present know of any excuse why this couple should not be joined in holy matrimony, talk now or forever keep your peace,” the full sentence says.

Heather Jones, a wedding expert, explains that the phrasing translates to a question raised to the audience.

It’s essentially asking whether someone opposes the couple’s union.

“Traditionally, now would be the time to express your displeasure with the relationship,” she says, “but ‘keeping your calm’ means you’re choosing to embrace the couple’s future together.”

Why it is Said at Weddings?

Humans are creatures of habit, and culture allows us to survive, as Wilson puts it.

Since most marriages have traditionally taken place in religious establishments, most couples adhere to the traditions of previous generations.

In reality, according to Wilson, most couples preferred to honor their parents and grandparents by having their wedding ceremony in a church up until recently.

Most couples, with the help of a best friend, an uncle, an expert, and even the internet, decide to do what is best for them. This reduces the prominence of the expression.

When the congregation is urged to “talk now or forever keep their peace,”

“Now, with planning their own wedding, more modern couples are opting for something different that represents who they are.

Such as asking their guests to offer their blessing verbally or holding their ceremony at a venue rather than a church,” Wilson continues.

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Must “Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace” Asked at your Wedding?

What if you don’t want someone to be able to object to the person you’ve chosen for the rest of your life? Is it necessary for you to include this ceremony script?

According to Wilson, much of the time it is optional. To be sure, having an open and honest dialogue with your minister, religious leader, or officiant is important.

There are ways to incorporate the same idea into your wedding vows without resorting to a dramatic interlude.

“Many couples today are putting a positive spin on this dated expression,” Wilson continues, “and will ask their guests to give their love and support for their new marriage.”

“Some couples chose to transfer their wedding rings around to their loved ones so that each guest can take a turn holding them and wishing the couple well.”

The only time it may be necessary is if your officiant or church is Episcopal, in which case the conventional wording may be needed.

According to Jones, another way to spin it is to request a “Declaration of Consent.” Rather than waving a hand in outrage, this invites your guests to rise up in celebration of your new marriage.

Would it be Possible to Get Married if Anyone Objects?

When you give visitors the opportunity to speak up, you never know who would speak up. But what happens if they throw a huge surprise into your wedding ceremony?

Of course, you can always say ‘I do most of the time. The only time getting married will be illegal is if your intended partner is already married to someone else.

In certain states, whether they are a close relative (which, let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to be around anyway!).

Nonetheless, Dennis points out that if you live in a strict or conservative religious culture, any objection can have an effect on your peers’ approval.

“Be ready to deal with the outcome of an objection,” he says, “and know your choices for editing the ceremony script.”

On that note, premarital couples therapy is a smart way to work through any possible obstacles to the success of your wedding day.

As Wilson explains, this gives you the freedom to bring up all of your possible problems, work through them as a team, and start your marriage on a happy, safe note.

Are There People Who Actually Objects

According to Dennis, it’s become an unspoken rule that if someone has a problem with the couple’s decision to marry, it should be discussed privately rather than announced during the ceremony.

Is it a possibility? Most likely not. In reality, she’s never seen an objection in her ten years in the wedding industry.

“I don’t think objections always happen,” she adds, “with too many chances for an objection to being raised until then, apart from an ill-placed joke.”

 “If you’re worried that your new cousin-in-law will try something, it’s probably best to keep it out of your wedding day and go for something that better reflects your new life together.”

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