I have been to a fair number of weddings. Some have been moving and deeply sentimental. Some have been spiritual and profound. Some have been comical. And unfortunately some have been tragic for one reason or the other. The worst though are the handful I have attended that have turned tragic only when a person invited to speak does so with reckless abandon and complete tactlessness. The collection has led me to a new sort of phobia which I call homilaphobia or the fear of public oration. When it is time for the best man to raise his glass, encourage others to do the same, and then proceeds in saying something truly cringe worthy and borderline vile.
For your reading pleasure I have tried to organize the bad toasts and speeches into just 5 epic no-no’s that shouldn’t be spoken at all….ever!
#5 THE INSULT IN DISGUISE
“This son-of-a-gun was such a jerk in college. I didn’t think he’d ever find anyone blind enough to fall in love with him let alone marry him. Congratulations to you both!” Just like it’s category implies this kind of toast is given lightheartedly and with the sort of “bro-from-the-heart” sentiment that would be tolerated from few. It is truly an insult in sheep’s clothing and should be shorn or allowed to walk off the cliff before being handed the mic.
#4 WOE IS ME AND HOPE YOU DO BETTER
No one is blind. We can all see that divorce is on the rise and it is a harsh reality of pairings sometimes. But that is no reason to bring in your own sordid tale of unrequited or dissolved love. Leave that drama at home. At a wedding several years back I heard this from the best man:
I was driving here this afternoon and going a little fast because we were late. My wife was sitting next to me and we had been arguing most of the day anyway. But she chimes in reminding me how to drive like I’m some sort of 16-year-old freshman driver. I just stared ahead and thought ‘Man, I hope this marriage thing works out better for them than it has for me.’
Talk about radio silence. All of the sudden attention had been shifted from the bride and groom and thrust upon this unbeknownst (to the other guests) lady in the audience (who has now lowered her head in complete humiliation and anger). Best to leave out any wish for better luck. That much is implied as you should want only the best for a newlywed couple.
#3 IT’S THE ALCOHOL TALKING
In this category it doesn’t really matter what you say. When you say it with a slur in your speech pattern it is painful and just plain cruel to the whole wedding ceremony. Keep the nippers at bay until after your speech.
#2 DOLLARS AND NO SENSE AT ALL
“Wow! This little party must be setting y’all back a fortune. Way to start out buddy!” No matter what is served or how big the party is or how many bottles of champagne are gone through there is never a good reason to bring up financial matters. Don’t assume the bride and groom have or have not. Just enjoy your good fortune at being invited to the ceremony, reception, and even up on stage.
#1 EVERYONE HAS A PAST
Everyone is guilty of dating a loser in the past or having a less than polished past. But why remark on it? I recently heard:
Remember that girl you were sleeping with in college? You know, the one that lived next door? Man, she hardly talked to you when she didn’t have a drink in her hand. So that said it does my heart good to see you today……
Just not appropriate and completely awkward for everyone. The past is the past and it should stay there; wedding jitters or not!