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Wedding dilemma: How do I stop somebody giving a speech at my reception?

Our insider answers your most pressing wedding problems

How do I stop someone from giving a speech at my wedding?

"A member of my family said they already started writing one, but nobody asked them. I’m worried they’ll just get up during dinner and start talking, it’s that kind of person! What do I do?" - Anon

Solved:

Wow, I’d really like some statistic on how often this actually happens, because I secretly suspect it’s a lot! But this question seldom comes up during the planning, because - let’s be honest - who can actually anticipate such a thing? Doesn’t a bride have a long enough list of things to worry about already?

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Whether you decided to do the speeches before, during or after the meal (or anywhere else you like), it’s all flowing like clockwork. An extra person getting up and getting all lyrical about your love (best case scenario) or telling everyone why you two shouldn’t get married (worst case scenario), disrupts the whole mood and schedule.

Related: The great guest list debate: Six people you DON'T have to invite to your wedding

So, it’s a family member who wants to do the speech, or at least someone you know well. We can safely assume strangers don’t do such things, except in movies. As you know the person, you could probably figure out quite easily their reason for doing it. Is it your first cousin, who can’t bear not being the centre of attention for even one day? She’s probably going to wear white to your wedding too, ha. Is it grandma who loves you so much, she’s been waiting her whole life for this? Sweet! Is it your grumpy uncle who hates your other half? Uh oh.

Whoever it is, don’t feel like you have to hold back. Go hang out with that person immediately, and ask them the following question in the nicest and most positive way possible: ‘hey, I heard you’d really like to do a speech at my wedding. True?’

If they planned a surprise, you just eliminated that possibility, so chances are they won’t do it anymore. If they didn’t plan a surprise, they’ll now either deny or confirm. If they confirm, then take your next step very carefully. If it’s the grandma, then what harm would there be in letting her say a few words? She probably loves you to pieces. If it’s anyone from the grumpy, competitive or disruptive brigade, say, ‘I’m sorry, I wish I could arrange this, but the thing is, I’ve already got everything timed to a tee, and more speeches means cold dinner. Would you like to do a reading in church instead?’ They wouldn’t dare say bad stuff in church (or at the registry office!). It’s just too serious a place.

Basically, be brave, blow the topic open and suggest an alternative. Done.

Have you a wedding problem you need help with? Let us know! Mail editor@thevow.ie with your pressing issue, and our wedding insider Anna will endeavor to get back to you with a straight forward solution.