Hold The Salt: Why You Need To Keep Your Wedding Speech Clean

Salt shaker tipped over

If you’ve been asked to give a wedding toast, it can be tempting – especially after a couple of glasses of champagne – to loosen up the crowd with a good joke.

And everyone knows the funniest jokes are a little salty, right?  After all, you’re edgy, you want the crowd’s attention and there’s nothing like a little jolt to get this party started and show everyone you’re large and in charge, right?

Cartoon drawing of Shannon holding a sign that says "No"

Just no.

Lemme tell you a story.

Back when big gatherings were still the norm, I attended a wedding reception at a prestigious members-only club here on the Island.

Throughout the evening, the father of the bride had been reading jokes off little scraps of paper he’d prepared to keep the mood light while everyone waited for dinner.

This BTW is a great idea!

Eventually he passed a slip of paper to the father of the groom, who read into the microphone what turned out to be a very salty joke with a jaw-dropping punchline.

The. Room. Went. Silent.

Cartoon drawing of Shannon saying "What the?!"

Did he just say what I think he said?

A few tables over, the awkward expressions on the faces of the minister and his wife were mortifying.

That father might as well have dropped his drawers and mooned the audience.

While the joke probably would have flown on a regular day at the club, it was all wrong for a ceremony like this.

Here’s why:

Weddings are special moments for gathering together. An off-colour joke divides the room and places awkward social pressure on the audience. And depending on the joke, it can be downright hurtful. Don’t take that chance.

Secondly, even though you’re holding the mic, this event is all about the couple. Telling a salty joke takes the spotlight off the newlyweds and shines it squarely on you.  I’m not saying it’s selfish, but… this is their day, not yours.

A lot of heart and soul (not to mention time and money) goes into planning a wedding. Being invited to speak is a big deal, and confers a heap-ton of trust.  Show up right.

We’re supposed to remember how happy the couple was, the fun we had with family and friends, the food and the venue.

Unfortunately, the lasting legacy of this wedding is a dirty joke and a confused crowd of guests. Don’t make the same mistake.

Sure, be charming, tell a great story and load it up with jokes.

But unless you want to be the one cracking open a giant can of stink at the wedding, save the salt for the bachelor/ette parties.


PS:  The good news is: I do this all day!  If you need a hand prepping your notes for an all-ages audience,  shoot me a DM.   We’ll set you up to win.

Gojak @ Getty Images

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Shannon Marshall

Hi - I’m Shannon, a speechwriter for all occasions, and owner of Centrepiece Writing Studio. I write heartfelt speeches, handcrafted just for you.

If you need a hand finding just the right words for your toast, eulogy or milestone celebration, I've got you covered. I'll help you tell your story.

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Shannon Marshall - Centrepiece Writing Studio - Shannon Marshall - Victoria, BC

Centrepiece Writing Studio is grateful to operate on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen people, now represented by the Songhees and Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) nations...
The glorious land commonly known as Victoria, BC.

With great respect for the earliest residents of our shared coastal home, CWS strives to uphold our mutual values of storytelling and environmental stewardship.

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