Your guests have the right to be looked after, entertained and generally spoiled. The cardinal sin is to push their limits of endurance on a day when they’ve almost certainly made a considerable effort to be there. And that brings us neatly to the perceived edgy and contemporary idea of making the guests stand for the speeches. There is nothing progressive or edgy about it and in time it will probably become a punishable offence. Here’s an expert’s take on the subject by All Speeches Great and Small.
Whatever way you look at it, the wedding reception is a complete form of entertainment. It’s like producing your very own version of Britain’s Got Talent, where the ‘talent’, or lack thereof, is solely down to you. Most couples understand this implicitly, that’s why so many months of planning and preparation go into even the most modest of celebrations. However, with so much time spent thinking of what socks the ushers should wear, just what type of cushion your three-year-old nephew should present the rings on, and if the tables should be themed on boiled sweets or dog breeds, there is the possibility of allowing a few howling blunders to go unnoticed.
In our society, some people associate standing whilst being talked at with confrontational and uncomfortable situations such as a court appearance, a parade ground dressing down or quelling of a public disturbance. If you want to engender this sort of atmosphere into your happy day then go right ahead; make the guests gather in an ante room or venue lobby and crack on.
As the only people who’ll be able to see the speakers will be the front row, you’ll soon have 90% of the guests either jostling for position, straining to see, or already disinterested. Then you’ve got to consider that most of them will have squeezed in to rather uncomfortable shoes, will have made an early start, and/or be feeling the affects of the previous night. Making them stand without the necessary access to the table wine may see their patience at breaking point and their boredom threshold at similar levels; every girl in ultimate wedding heels will be cursing you, usually in the ears of their partners; elderly guests will be fainting like guardsmen; and children, surrounded by a sea of legs, will decide there’s no other option but to start crying.
Many things can be reinvented, rethought and reworked, but really there’s only one place for the guests to be whilst listening to the speeches, and that’s sitting on a nice comfortable seat surrounded by people they had no idea they were related to. Everyone can see, everyone can hear and you’ve got the perfect platform to make the very best of what you’ve got to say.
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Adrian is a writer and broadcaster for some of the UK’s largest factual entertainment shows. Writing speeches has always been a large part of his professional life and ‘all speeches great and small’ is the culmination of many years experience.