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"Speak now or forever hold your peace" may be slowly fading away from modern wedding ceremony scripts, but not asking for objections doesn't guarantee that you won't get any. So what if, in the middle of your ceremony, someone decides to "speak now"? How should a couple handle the combined interruption and objection to their union? Our experts have a few tips for delicately handling the situation.
It's the last thing you want to hear, but if someone opposes your marriage, they might decide that your wedding ceremony is the moment they should speak up. Whether it's a jilted past lover or a disapproving family member, it's a situation that's best handled with extreme care. Dr. Jane Greer, New York-based marriage and sex therapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, walked us through how to do just that.
"This is a sensitive situation, so begin by calmly pausing the ceremony and taking the conversation off to the side or into a room that is more private," says Dr. Greer. "Reply succinctly and with appreciation, but focus on the affirmation of your bond as a couple about to be married." She recommends saying something like, "We appreciate you sharing your concerns, however we feel differently." You're not obligated to justify your decision to get married, but instead should calmly thank them for their concern (whether it's that they don't think your marriage will last or they think one of you should be with someone else) and move on. "Then, negate their concerns and show a strong commitment to one another by returning to the altar and continuing with your ceremony," says Dr. Greer.
Don't draw too much attention to the situation once you've returned to the altar. Ask your officiant to make a brief apology for the interruption (but don't give any more details than that!), thank everyone for continuing to support you as you join together in marriage, and then keep going. And if anyone brings it up at the reception, simply say that it was an unfortunate and ill-timed interruption, but that you feel more solid and secure in your decision to marry the love of your life than ever before. Try not to let it get to you, and instead enjoy the celebration. After all, if the happy couple is having a fabulous time, guests will follow suit.