The case against wedding speeches

Do we really need to keep up this absurd, food-interrupting pantomime, asks Archie Manners

You don’t really enjoy speeches at Weddings, do you? Yes, I know that you applaud them, and congratulate the speechmakers as you pass them on your way out of the tent for that long-awaited fag. You’ll probably mention how hilarious they were in your thank you letter. But I bet you also perform a mime with your thumbs whilst scanning Track and Trace QR codes. Sometimes, you lie.

Because nobody truly likes wedding speeches. Think about it. A perfectly enjoyable dinner is rudely interrupted by a 35-year-old insurance broker who fancies himself as a star comedian — just so he can share inane anecdotes and in-jokes, leaving the audience to wonder if he really is the ‘best man’ the groom could find. His speech is so generic, in fact, it’s best understood in recipe form:

The Gentleman’s Journal’s Incredibly Generic Best Man’s Speech Recipe

Time: 32 Minutes

Difficulty Rating: Really very Easy


  • 1 long-term Friend/Brother of Groom. Called something like ‘Theo’. Unmarried. 
  • A Handful of anecdotes that most of his friends have heard before.
  • 1 Master of Ceremonies. University Friend of Groom, not as good friend as ‘Theo’.  Probably called ‘Mike’.


  1. Master of Ceremonies takes to the stage. Taps Microphone. Irritating Woman on Table 27 starts ‘shusshing’ her end of the tent
  2. Microphone not plugged in. Spotty Sound Man starts fiddling. 
  3. Microphone suddenly comes on with loud feedback squeal. Boorish Great Uncle, wearing hearing aid, screams in pain.
  4. Best Man takes to the stage, flashes a Tony Blair-style grin to the audience
  5. Starts Speech with awful story about how ‘speeches should be like a woman’s dress. Long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to keep interest’. Fake Laughter ensues.
  6. Share 2-3 lame anecdotes from time at school, which reflect poorly on Groom. Usually alcohol related. Often slightly sexual. A sprinkle of word-seasoning like ‘lads’, ‘boys’ ‘vibes’ and ‘good times’.
  7. Share 1 lame anecdote from University. See above for word-seasoning. 
  8. Lighten mood with singular kind, mushy anecdote that reflects well on Bride and Groom.
  9. Propose a Toast, forgetting he’s nowhere near a Champagne Glass. Leave Stage.

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