Everyone loves a present. As a grown up, you’re supposed to sign up to the mantra that giving is so much more pleasurable than receiving, which is of course, nonsense. Nothing beats the feeling of unwrapping something truly wonderful, that you would have never bought for yourself. Kids absolutely love Christmas, and that has nothing to do with giving, it’s all about receiving, and they are right. Giving gifts as a bride and groom has been part and parcel of the wedding machinery for quite some time, and as a best man who’s had to remortgage their trousers for the umpteeth wedding that summer, it’s quite nice to get something back.
Sure, an engraved glass bottom tankard isn’t going to appease your local bank manager, but it’s nice to feel appreciated and recognised on the day. However, that’s where the problems start. When you’re making a groom speech, you have a very limited shelf life before guests start to lose interest. Keep it genuinely entertaining, funny and pacey, and you’ve got 10 minutes maximum, unfortunately many grooms just don’t see it like this until it’s way too late. If you start gassing endlessly about your brand new parents in law, your own parents, siblings, bridesmaids, best man, ushers and wife…it’s going to make Apocalypse Now, look like a TV advert.
But there is one thing that will really send it over the edge; the one drawn out act that will have everyone reaching for their phones, talk amongst themselves, and probably see a few older guests eventually pass away: gift giving. If there was ever one mechanism perfectly designed to destroy a speech, it’s gift giving.
So, just as you’re getting into the speech, people are still interested and everything seems to be going swimmingly, you bring the whole thing to a grinding halt, so that everyone from the best man to the flower girls can traipse up to the top table, stand around embarrassingly waiting for their goody, and then wander back to their seat again. Not only is it unbelievably awkward to witness, but it’s the most pregnant of pregnant pauses…in fact, it’s triplets all by breach birth.
If you add in the fact that now the best man has to wander round for the rest of the evening clutching personalized golf tees, which will almost certainly be found under a chair several days later, then it becomes more pontles by the second. Of course gifts should play a part in the day, but definitely not in the speech. Hand out your gifts in a private, quiet moment on the morning of the wedding…you won’t corrupt your groom speech, and there’s a much better chance of them ending up in the cocktail cabinet of the intended recipient.