This is the story of a Groom Speech Fail that was narrowly avoided. Every now and again as a wedding speech writer people contact me and ask me for their opinion on the speech they've written themselves. I never mind doing this as I'm genuinely here to help in any way I can. Sometimes these are great speeches, sometimes valiant but flawed attempts, and sometimes just flawed. The problem most guys have is that they're time poor and these easiest thing to do is raid the usual websites for the all too familiar ropey lines. Forget 'it's an emotional wedding even the cakes is in tiers'...it can get much worse than that.
So, having been lucky enough to write professionally for quite a few years, I was of the opinion that I'd pretty much seen it all. I have read Best Man speeches whose content can only be described as catastrophic lapses of judgement which will have long and lasting effects. None of them good.
So imagine my surprise this week when having written what I thought was a great groom speech, the client came back thrilled but asked if I would be so kind as to add the following: "I would like to thank everyone for at the presents, especially my wife's parents for the present of their daughter. She is the best gift I have ever received and I'm really looking forward to unwrapping her tonight....". If that's not a groom speech fail, I don't what is. In fact I don't know what it is.
To say I was gobsmacked would have been doing a huge disservice to traumatised people all over the world. I was horrified....and form a groom too?
The only way to confront just how appealing this line is to put yourself at the wedding and in the place of the parents. They're emotionally wrung out, happy, a little bit tipsy and overall in a pretty confusing place...and then their future son in law steps up and tells them in no uncertain terms, in front of several hundred people, what he's going to do to her tonight. Yep, it's that bad.It might seem like a slightly bawdy comment but it's actually a very harsh, clumsy and awkward statement that would be horrific on the day.
I usually roll with whatever clients want but always give them the benefit of my experience. In this case that all went out of the window and I told him in very plain language that on no account should that be included...getting drunk and writing off the buffet was preferable to anyone hearing this. I waited expecting instant indignation. Instead I received an email the next day politely thanking me for saving him from himself. It proves what I alway knew: never be crass, and it's not just Best Men that can get it wrong on the day.