Pictures via original WikiHow article
A couple days ago, a WikiHow article called "How to Stop a Wedding" went viral.
What drew everyone's attention was the sheer insanity of the headline, but what made everyone share it on Facebook was the seemingly methodical and sober step-by-step approach it recommended, and the surprisingly competent artwork. On the surface, it seems like a sane, rational way to go about doing something totally insane and irrational.
Elysia Skye, owner of LA Wedding Woman, was the most experienced and trusted minister I could find on short notice, and she was surprisingly game to go through the manual step-by-step and provide an unsentimental critique.
VICE: How many times have you had someone bust in and break up a wedding?
Elysia Skye: None. My grandfather, my father, my sister and myself are all officiants. In 40 years, and thousands and thousands of weddings, we've never seen an objection on the wedding day.
Can you criticise the procedure for me anyway, as an expert? You consider yourself an expert, right?
How about step 1?
I do like that the article reminds people that it’s not about you. It’s not your movie. It’s their movie.
What about the rest of the planning steps? Are they practical?
Even if phase one is discouraging them, the bride will probably say, “We’ve invested $100,000, and we’re not getting it back.” So go, “OK. Have the party. Just don’t sign the license. You’re not ready yet. Have the ceremony. Enjoy your day. Just don't get legally married." I've seen things like that.
What about this?
At that point you’re kinda going into crazy town.
What about the part about sneaking in?
They don't seem to realise that other people might be aware of you. Which means when you pull up there’s gonna be someone outside. I've experienced versions of this, where there was a crazy person who might show up. Everyone who was there knew, “If you see this person, escort them out immediately.” Sometimes what's going on is not a private matter. People know. People know you’re the crazy ex-girlfriend and you’re not allowed on the property.
OK. So it might be tough to get through security. What about the part where you build your case?
Unless you know something, and you have proof, you can’t do it. What I’m alluding to is “someone is cheating”.
So you should come in with surveillance footage on your phone?
You can walk in and say, “I’ve been sleeping with him for six years,” and nobody might believe you. If the groom is walking down the aisle that day, he’s gonna say, “Who is this person? I’ve never seen her before in my life,” or “She’s crazy. It’s not true. She’s an internet stalker.” They’re going to continue to lie. So don’t come in unarmed.
Then it says to pipe up and object. Could this happen, even though you've never seen it?
The article is correct that most people don’t put that “speak now or forever hold your peace” part in the ceremony. That’s not in any of my ceremonies.
Oh, really? None of them?
Never. In fact, in our ceremonies, we say, “Does everyone here support Tony and Jim and their marriage?” We ask for support, not objections. If you don’t support, you don’t answer.
Oh, but there's still that pause. They could go "not me!"
Well, at that point everyone yells and cheers and claps. Sometimes people ring bells. It’s a loud, fun, energetic, awesome moment and everyone’s feeling great. If someone was like, “Well not me!” you probably wouldn’t hear that.
But anyway, it's true that most people don’t include that at all now. It’s just tacky. Maybe your brother-in-law’s a douchebag. That doesn't mean you'll object at the wedding.
Let's say it all worked. What then?
This is all fine and dandy, and someone can run into a wedding and stop a wedding, but that doesn’t mean the couple isn’t already married.
It would be too late? Why?
Oftentimes the marriage license is signed with the couple ahead of time. The minister will sit in a room with the couple before the ceremony and say, “OK, do you wanna marry this person? Do you wanna marry this person? Yes? Let’s sign." Then when the ceremony is over, they don’t have to take time to go and do paperwork. They go right into cocktail hour or couple's photos.
What percentage of the time?
Let’s say 50 percent.
That should really be in the guide.
I know. Someone can be all high and mighty and run in and stop a wedding, but that doesn’t mean shit if the couple’s already married. Or they’re getting married at a destination wedding, like in Hawaii or India, and they don’t want to deal with paperwork out of the state. That’s another large percentage on top of the other 50 percent that’s already finished getting their paperwork done the day of.
But what if they say, "I do" but don't sign the license? Can someone stop them from signing?
Maybe, but even that might not work. Even if they tell the minister, "Hey, don’t mail that marriage license in. We’ve changed our minds," that’s impossible. They’re already legally married. They’ve said their oath in front of the minister. Even though there’s a separation of church and state, the state says that if a minister pronounces you married, you are legally married, even if you don’t want to sign your own license, and it’s the minister’s responsibility to sign that license and send it in. The court will do their best to track you down and get your signature.
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