The feminist in me definitely came out at various points during my own wedding planning. Especially when it came to the speeches. So much so I’ve decided to write a three-part blog series on it.
You’re not doing a speech are you, that’s for the groom to do…
I knew as soon as we started planning our wedding I would be doing a speech, not just because my other half has an enormous disdain, in-fact, borderline phobic response to public speaking, but because, quite simply, I knew I would want to thank, in my own words, the people there to celebrate with us.
But even before I embarked on my own wedding, it has always irked me that the ‘groom’ suddenly had to speak on behalf of his new wife.
Does becoming married now suddenly make me mute?
Did getting married suddenly mean I was no longer an individual able to have my thoughts or opinions and form my own words?
I have always wondered about this dated tradition. That a man should speak for his lady, whom should remain sat silently, looking pretty in the corner and submissive. Dorothy we aint’ in Kansas no more and this definitely ain’t the 1950’s. LOL!
All my friends, without even having to broach this subject, knew I would make a speech. The acting background helped of course, but more-so, they knew I wouldn’t allow anyone, let alone my new husband speak for me. Ever. LOL! Colleagues or acquaintances were quite different, surprised that I would be taking on that role.
Whilst speeches from the ladies are definitely on the rise (hurrah), why is it still expected that only the gents take on these role? From the father-of-the-bride to the best men (placing another assumption that they are men and not best girls) and then of course, groom? What about the leading ladies, what about mum or me, or the female wedding party?
I wanted to include a speech from my maid of honour, we’d known each other over 10 years at the time, so I wanted to have her say something. She didn’t in the end because she didn’t feel confident doing one, so we didn’t force it. But I always enjoy hearing stories from both sides of the fence. The little antidotes, the endearing tales, the comical and even the embarrassing.
It made every bit of sense to me to make a speech.
On our wedding day we played to our strengths. I am a natural public speaker and Mr Nu Bride loathes it, but still wanted to give it a go. So I knew I wanted to stand with him during this moment, we wanted to do it together. And we agreed if it was too much for him on the day, I would take the lead. So I did. We stood together holding hands, giving each-other a squeeze throughout. I said my piece and he also said a few sincere words, which was enough for him. I of course was in my element given free reign to rabbit on. lol!
My speech wasn’t long or convoluted. Just honest. I had written notes to guide me, but in the end I didn’t need them, as I got into it. I left them face down on the table and just spoke from the heart. How often do we get to address all our favourite people in one room?
It was an absolute privilege to deliver a wedding speech. I enjoyed personally thanking my family and friends, sharing antidotes of my husband and I. I enjoyed telling him how amazing I think HE is and to thank him for choosing me.
I even wove in some of my journey to Nu Bride into my speech, about the perception of beauty, about race and identity, about how it was in-fact my own wedding engagement that led me to discover a new passion and entirely new career and to advocate to encourage the industry to be more inclusive. I wanted to share that story on my wedding day because it shaped so much of it.
Here’s a little peek – but this is as much as I’m showing you though 🙂
The speeches are one of my favourite parts of a wedding day (when they’re done well)! You get to hear all these little nuggets about a couple you never knew about before. Hearing stories, reminiscing, sharing love, laughter and sometimes tears too. When a lovely juxtaposition of the poignant, the painful and the joyful memories come to fold.
Our stories are timeless. They are gender diverse and not always role specific. They should be told from both sides, from those who want to share and are comfortable being in front of an audience; not purely based on what geriatric tradition dictates.
Would love to hear if you will be / did get up and give a speech? Or if you feel tradition should be left alone?
Join me later this week where I’ll be joined by Ambassador and humanist celebrant Zena Birch to challenge tradition, talk about roles and gender inequality in wedding speeches. It’s a corker!