A wedding reception is not only a memorable celebration of love between two people but also an important social event. Family members and guests gather in order to congratulate a newly married couple and learn more about their romantic relationships and interests they share. Irrespective of the actual number of guests, helpers and other attendants, a wedding remains a highly personal family event. In many cases, both groom and bride have already overcome many personal hardships and a wedding ceremony gives them a chance to enjoy their new balance and spiritual renovation. To this end, these who present wedding speeches should be well aware of heightened sensibility and emotional vulnerability as constituents of the wedding atmosphere. Besides, there are rules of the wedding etiquette, which restrict certain aspects of wedding speeches. What is utterly important, a wedding speech should not be offensive for the newly married couple, parents, guests, etc. It is not that speakers mean to hurt someone their really care for. However, some facts and words can inadvertently be divisive and uncomfortable for participants. Each type of a wedding speech has pitfalls to be avoided and we attempt to systematize most typical issues of the kind and discuss possible reasons of their emergence. The first issue is mentioning childhood details about the bride (or the groom), which is a typical detail of the father of the bride’s speech. The problem is that father can lack knowledge of his daughter’s adult personality and her actual social image. Therefore, things he considers funny and touching about his “little girl” may be strikingly ridiculous for her colleagues and friends. This problem possibly occurs due to several conspicuous social reasons. On the one hand, the notion of a generation gap is getting increasingly meaningful in the conditions of modern professional developments. On the other hand, young people traditionally typically prefer to communicate with peers and construct her/his social image in their midst. Shocking personal (and sexual) details are another type of things that should be kept off a successful wedding speech. For example, the best man whose task is to “humiliate” the groom is strongly recommended not to concentrate upon episodes that can hurt his bride and attendants. This warning is particularly relevant when talking about the stag night, which is considered a “legal source” of spicy details. The best way here is to use every possible type of witty hints and allusions. The second issue is treating the image of the bride and the groom. Although it is well appropriate to appreciate the bride’s chores in managing the wedding, a speaker should never express admiration for the effectiveness of her pre-wedding diet and plastic surgeries. In other words, the discussion of the bride’s physical looks is a taboo unless a speaker intends to pay her an exquisite compliment. Speaking about the groom, the best man is allowed to get to some mild teasing but themes like drinking or drug addiction are not permissible. The best man should by no means represent the groom as a drunkard, loser, or a playboy. The third problem to discuss is mentioning ex-relationships, especially when this is not the first marriage for some of the new spouses or both. This aspect should be equally avoided even if the speaker considers some episode from the groom’s life an extremely funny anecdote. The best man should remember that the bride and her relatives are not teammates in a locker room and they may feel seriously insulted. Thus, his task is to reduce an overall emotional tension and to emphasize that the groom has opened a new page in his life after meeting his loved one. Besides, while reading greeting e-mails, postcards and telegrams the best man should be very careful about indicating people’s actual status. For instance, a thorough research of family affairs will help one not to make rude mistakes such a calling someone’s stepfather “Daddy”, etc. The fourth pitfall of writing and presenting a wedding speech is making it humorous with the help of anecdotes, puns, and jokes. First, it is extremely impolite for a speaker to gain popularity at the expense of someone’s feelings, image and reputation. The speech should be politically correct and contain no obscenities, and hints at sexist and racist aspects. Second, the presentation should convey a generally understandable message because so-called in-jokes can only be amusing for a couple of people out of a hundred and raise some irritation and perplexity.
The fifth issue is a potential discrepancy between a person’s role in the wedding ceremony and his/her personal vision of love and marriage, etc. (for instance if the best man is an old bachelor who treats marriage as an old-fashioned yoke). A justified policy here is not to express one’s actual attitudes and contribute to creating the fairy tale of a wedding. Actually, people tend to understand that being married means working hard and adjusting one’s likes and dislikes on the way to achieving harmony. Correspondingly, a wedding ceremony serves to establish a standard of their future family relationships.