The French phrase faux pas (literally false step) is a noun meaning a social blunder or indiscretion. And oh my goodness, wedding speeches seem overrun with them! Ask anyone whose been to a handful of weddings and chances are they'll have an amazingly cringe worthy story to recount, involving a highly inappropriate or awkward speech moment. Between the best man, maid of honour, the father of the bride and (increasingly) the bride herself, speeches form a significant part of the proceedings at any reception, and can often cause mild embarrassment for all the wrong people (like the bride & groom!). Follow our guide below on how to avoid being 'that person', edited down to our top-ten wedding speech don'ts…
I remember this crazy night….
Trips down a slightly drunk memory lane should be avoided at all costs - don't be confusing a wedding with an 18th or 21st birthday party. Chances are, whatever story you're about to tell is either hugely inappropriate or only funny for a handful of guests, who were actually there. Best to leave out.
Bring up Ex Partners…
This includes jokes like "we were convinced Sarah was the one…until Sophie came along". This point is a non-negotiable. Under no circumstances should you ever bring up ex partners, old flames, former love interests or one night stands (see previous point).
Use it as the perfect opportunity to announce your
This includes news of your own engagement, being with child, coming out…whatever…this is not the time, the place or the platform in which to do so. No one wants to watch a Kanye West style spotlight stealing (hugely cringe worthy) moment unfolding. This night is all about your friends, keep the focus firmly on them.
Jokes about marriage in general
Don't be hating on, or poking fun at the quite big-deal-life-commitment your two friends have just entered into, even if you're single. Actually, especially if you're single…it just makes you sound bitter at worst, and kind of un-fun at best.
Epic Sagas & Short Novels
Don't write one. Not for a wedding speech. Keep it succinct, keep it memorable, keep it awesome. Don't talk for so long you begin to lose people (the average adult attention span for listening is approximately 7 minutes, keep it under that) Practise and time yourself - you'd be surprised how many minutes it takes to actually get through those 4 pages of notes you've scribed!
Whats in a name?
If covering off any of the formalities that include mentioning people by name or nationality, know your facts. This includes freudian slips like mentioning the brides first husband, rather than second…the one she's marrying tonight! Or referencing the grooms family "who have travelled all the way from…." only to name the wrong country!
Talking about money makes most people uncomfortable at the best of times, but never more so than at a wedding, in a public forum, with no where to run. Seriously, it's the stuff of seat squirming. Don't bring up or speculate on the cost of the dress, ring, wedding or even the honeymoon. Just enjoy it, and leave the bride and groom to do the same.
Coherent & Memorable
Don't get drunk before your speech. This one is quite straightforward. Have a glass of bubbles to calm the nerves by all means, but hold off on hitting the bar hard, until your duties are done. Don't be that person.
"I just really, really wanted to say something…" Randomly reaching for the mic Is a good idea at a wedding…said no one ever! Unless you've explicitly been asked to give a speech by the bride and groom, and you're in the program, do not get up there (see earlier point on Kanye). It's kind of awkward. It also throws a spanner in the usually carefully mapped out timings for all the vendors, who are following a pretty tight run sheet. On the rare occasion that the opportunity is offered up to guests, for 'anyone who would like to say a few words' only get up and speak if you have something amazing, worth saying.
Forget about the other half
Remember there are two people in this wedding thing. If you're the best man, don't forget to mention the bride (this does not include referring to her as 'the ball and chain - see point on Jokes About Marriage in General). Similarly, if you're the maid of honour, you'll no doubt have a lot to say about your sister or best friend…but today she just married the man of her dreams, so remember to talk about that too, and why you're so thrilled.