Sunday, November 27, 2005

Wedding Speeches (CONT.): SPEECH TYPE A: PUT A SOCK IN IT

I can’t speak more plainly here. Don’t do an open mic. Just don’t do it. Why? Basically, it can be summed up with a saying I've heard that goes something like this, “But far more numerous was the herd of such, who think too little, and who talk too much.”

I saw this first hand at my friend Alison’s wedding in California. The rehearsal dinner, held at a prestigious country club in Palm Springs, was one of the bigger get-togethers of its kind that I've seen. About seventy-five of the bride and groom’s closest friends packed into a room overlooking the golf course. After dinner, a slide show of Alison and her fiancé Brad (complete with individual pictures of them from childhood, and of course, funny snapshots of them from their senior year in high school, the time that they met and started dating) was displayed.

At that point, the maid of honor stood up and said a few words. Instead of introducing the next “designated” speaker, Jessica smiled and looked out into the crowd, asking if anyone would like to “express their feelings for the couple.”

I’m not sure if people felt guilty, like they weren’t good friends or relatives if they didn’t stand up, or if there was something in the water, but it seemed that everyone decided to take Jessica up on her request.

One by one, guests got up to the front and said very frivolous and, well, boring things. “You’re a great friend.” “Alison is the best.” “Brian is such a good fit for Alison.” Blah, blah, blah… You get the idea. There’s nothing special or interesting about the usage of the word “nice,” as I learned in seventh grade English class. However, I think I heard it bandied about in approximately twelve speeches.

In this type of situation, guests will get bored and would rather be talking to their dates, or friends of theirs, instead of listening to uninspired, uninteresting toasts. Actually, having flown in all the way from the East Coast and a little jet lagged, I really just wanted to catch up with my friends at the dinner, and then retire to the comfort of my hotel room. I’m sure, after a myriad of speeches at the end of the rehearsal dinner, that many others were thinking the same thing.

Personal anecdotes, funny stories, and musings about the bride and groom can be great--but in small doses. However, when people are invited to speak via an open microphone, it oftentimes becomes akin to the speeches made at Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, or Middle School Graduation Parties--mostly because people freeze and can’t think of anything to say, beyond the obvious. “I met X at Paul Revere Elementary School. She is really nice, and we have a lot in common…” The worst.

In conclusion, choose your speakers wisely--and ahead of time. Not only do you get banal, boring speeches as indicated above, but you are DEFINITELY at risk for Speech Type B. What's that, you ask?

Stay tuned....

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