Here’s A Toast To How Tacky I Am

by admin on July 10, 2012

One of my best friend’s got married a few months ago and I was in the wedding party, I was also asked to give a speech. As I had known the bride and groom together as a couple longer than anyone else there (I was there the day they met), I was asked to speak about them as a couple and how they met. There would be two other speeches, a friend of the groom’s, who would be mostly talking about him and the bride’s father. The bride, I’ll call her J, and her father have a strained relationship, but he’d asked to give a speech and she had agreed, requesting that he talk mostly about her childhood. She figured it would be nice to have the speeches be about her, her husband and then my speech about the two of them together.

It was a very small wedding, less than 50 people, and had a very intimate feel to it, so she didn’t want too many long speeches. The wedding ceremony was beautiful and elegant and my friend looked radiant. The friend of the groom’s speech was wonderful and funny and very touching.

Then it was time for the father of the bride to speak. He didn’t talk at all about his daughter as a child, instead he told the story of how he met his future son-in-law, N. He talked about how N was introduced to him as friend of J’s and they were going on a trip together (with other friends) and how he, FOB, asked J about her boyfriend and she confirmed that they were still dating and that she and N were friends. FOB then followed this up with, “Next time I met N, he and J were telling me that she was pregnant,” to pretty stunned silence from everyone in attendance.

J looked like she was about to cry and her mom was furious (her parents are divorced). FOB ended his speech there, saying nothing positive about his daughter at all and it was my turn to go up. I quickly revised my speech to do as much damage-control as I could, explaining how N had been there for J when she broke up with her boyfriend, how they went from friends to more over a period of time and how well they dealt with an unplanned pregnancy and how perfect they were for each other, but her father’s speech still cast a shadow over the whole day and I felt so bad for J. 0709-12

Father of the bride has a relational death wish.  There is no way such a poor “investment” into the relationships with his daughter, son-in-law and other family members will yield positive results.   The only loser at the wedding was Father-of-the bride.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimstu July 10, 2012 at 11:29 am

Takeaway: Letting somebody with whom you have a “strained relationship” give a speech at your wedding is always fairly risky. Especially at a small gathering, it would have been perfectly reasonable to decline with thanks the SOB’s, sorry, FOB’s offer to speak on the grounds that only the groom’s friend and the bride’s friend (LW) were giving the toasts. I don’t blame the poor bride for kindly acceding to her father’s wishes but I wouldn’t have taken the chance myself.

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StephM July 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

Good on you for thinking on your feet. There was nothing you could have done to erase the damage of FOB’s horrific speech, but building on it the way you did was wonderful. You turned such a negative comment into a lovely story and probably eased a lot of tension. I hope the FOB realizes what he did and begs his daughter for forgiveness one day.

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Hemi July 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm

Completely inappropriate and beyond rude.

For a father to pick his own daughter’s wedding as the place to run off at the mouth is… I don’t even have the words. If he had issues with the B & G’s relationship or how they met, the wedding reception is not the place to voice those issues. I am surprised the Bride would allow the speech since she had a strained relationship with her father. If he is this thoughtless all the time, we know why that relationship is strained…

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OP July 10, 2012 at 12:10 pm

*Picking my jaw up off the floor.* Well there goes that father/daughter relationship. Good for you, OP, for doing damage control.

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Cat July 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Th first thing that came to mind is for the bride to limit what is said to dear old Dad. What he does not know, he cannot repeat.
I have a relative who considers herself “the family newspaper” and feels it is perfectly acceptable to broadcast anything and everything even when she has been asked to keep something (that she had to be told about) to herself. I have limited her to talking about the weather and about her health with me. I will not speak on any other subject with her.
You did well with how you handled what had been said, but his words will live in his daughter’s heart forever. My father died when I was twenty-five and the only kind thing he ever said to me in his life was that the reading that I had chosen for my mother’s funeral was nice. Some people are just toxic.

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Melly July 11, 2012 at 8:18 am

My MIL has no filter, she shares everything with everyone. So, like you I tell her only those things which I would be fine with her sharing with all her friends, coworkers, etc. Needless to say, when she asked how my recent childbirth went, she was spared the details, so that I could be spared future embarrassment.

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justme July 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

wow–what?!

That’s why I’ve always been a little uneasy about reception speeches–too many chances for an inconsiderate person to embarass someone, use the speech as their own personal soapbox, or make everyone generally uncomfortable. Shame on your friend’s father for doing all of those things (and good on you for the damage control)!
If he disapproved of his daughter’s marriage so badly, he could have stayed home. Specifically asking to give a speech with the sole purpose of embarassing his daughter and son-in-law is a sure way to ruin his relationship with the whole family.

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Drawberry July 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Somehow I don’t think the bride would have ever expected such passive aggressive nonsense to come from her own father at her wedding. This feels like something he’s thought negatively about for some time and the bride thought he had worked passed or put aside for the sake of their relationship as father and daughter.

I can only imagine the absolute heartache she would feel having her father in essence, calling out her sexual activities for judgement with her closest family and friends. The implication was there that she had an affair (which based on the OP’s accounts is untrue, and even if it was fact is none of his business) and got pregnant via her now husband, and he made it clear that he disapproved of her behavior. Behavior that is none of his business!

This can only be the final nail in the coffin for their relationship and all anyone can do is remind her of all the good loving people she has in her life that support her.

Sometimes blood is not thicker then water :/

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Angel July 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm

What a sad story. This is why there should not be speeches at a wedding reception at all IMO. We had the traditional Best Man speech but that was it. I don’t think my dad could have spoken at my wedding at all, it was such an emotional day for both of us. I couldn’t imagine him saying nasty things like that though.

My husband’s brother was his best man. At the time he was going through a particularly acrimonious divorce. But even his speech was not as negative as that. Although he did get a few shots in at his ex-wife’s expense (who by the way, wore white to our reception LOL). I was lucky in that much of my side of the family had no idea what was going on.

Hey, OP, as long as your speech was positive, talked about the couple and how good they are together, and contained no profanity, you did a good job. You are not tacky ;)

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Original Poster July 10, 2012 at 6:19 pm

OP here. The funny thing is her dad had never said anything negative about her relationship with N before that day. Her mother had, but her father had actually been supportive of her pregnancy. She and her father had been close up until his acrimonious divorce with her mom and she figured that the bad blood could be put aside for one day, her wedding day, and it seemed to mean a lot to him to give a speech, so she’d agreed.

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June July 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Wow, that’s sad.
When people make a conscious decision to behave badly, I sometimes wonder how they think it will end. You’ve just publicly insulted your daughter on her wedding day. Do you think this will improve your relationship? Are you expecting people to applaud and agree with you?

Clearly, he wasn’t considering the consequences.

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startruck July 11, 2012 at 9:39 am

iam constantly amazed at people like this and how they expect to have a good relationship with their family after such bad behavior. my step dad is like this . he is rude to everyone and yet doesnt understand how the family does not care for him. i just dont get it. i really dont.

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just4kicks July 11, 2012 at 10:30 am

I feel for the bride, something like that can ruin her carefully planned day, and her “father” can’t be that naive to think it wouldn’t ruin the day for her. My story is more funny (not at yhe time) my husband’s brother was his best man and another brother graciously filmed our wedding (he had a video business) as his gift. Anyway …after dinner, he went down the head table asking everyone to send good wishes to us. My husbands brother and best man looked right into the camera, paused and said “Well…I am just waiting for the marriage to go into the toilet so I can have her!” Seated next to him was my dad who to this day, I have never such a look of rage and anger on his face as is on my wedding video. I thought my dad was going yo kill him. Thanks brother-in -law. Btw, my hubby and I have been married for 16 years, have 5 great kids and are still going strong.

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gourmetwowwies July 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Am I the only one who thinks that the “damage control” speech wasn’t much better?

Why would you talk about the bride’s ex boyfriend and an unplanned pregnancy AT ALL?

Gracious, this is exactly why I didn’t have this at my wedding!

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violinp July 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Well, the OP was trying to smooth everything over and say something positive about the bride to expunge in some way the hurt the FoB did. It was about the best she could have made of a bad situation.

I think that, in the main, wedding speeches and toasts are wonderful, because it allows your nearest and dearest to express their thoughts on this happy day they’re sharing with you. However, there will always be jerks who just don’t get that is not and never will be about them, like the FoB.

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clairedelune July 15, 2012 at 12:51 am

I wondered about that, but of course, we didn’t hear the speech–it might’ve been something general like “N and J have always been such strong and supportive partners, even as they’ve faced the transitions and challenges that [father] mentioned.” My personal preference is to avoid awkwardness, so I probably wouldn’t have addressed the matters that the father’s speech brought up, but I can also understand the philosophy that you can’t move past the elephant in the room unless you first acknowledge that it’s there.

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Original Poster July 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm

I hadn’t planned on it in my original speech, but it was just lurking there in the room and I didn’t want the false impression lingering. I started my speech (as planned) with story about the day they met, I explained that I watched them become best friends, told a story about when I found out they were a couple (which happened at an occasion was a huge moment in my relationship with them anyway and is a story that highlight hows wonderful they are for personal reasons), and then commented that I’d watched them be friends, fall in love, become great parents and now were going to be husband and wife. I didn’t actually use the words unplanned pregnancy, but, to be fair, everyone knows that part.

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Megan Amy July 14, 2012 at 3:11 am

Wow! My father and I always had a “strained relationship.” He asked (tried to bully) me if he could make a speech at our wedding and I said no. I didn’t think he’d say anything hideously hurtful, but I nearly didn’t invite my parents to our wedding at all. I didn’t think either one of them deserved to be making speeches when I didn’t have other random guests giving speeches.

Now, I am even more appreciative of my decision to tell him no. My father behaved in other unanticipated rude ways during my wedding and I realize that his speech could have been even ruder than I had feared when I said no.

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Olga October 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm

I’ve also seen something similar happening. Several years ago I was as a guest at friends wedding. I also was somewhat familiar with this friend’s parents and generally knew that they had some difficulties before wedding with their relationships but of course I do not know everything. Around here the speech of brides father is kind of assumed to happen, almost always if possible. Even if there are no other speeches, fob usually makes one. And as you could imagine, commonly those speeches consist things like how the father is proud of her daughter and what a beautiful woman she is today, funny stories from her childhood and so on. I’m sure you know.

Well, in the wedding there was first one speech, I don’t remember anymore who made it but I think it was quite basic congratulation speech. After that it was announced that now it was time for bride’s father’s speech. FOB climbs on the stage, takes the microphone and basically says nothing more than welcomes guests to wedding and announces that food will be served soon. That is not a speech. It was clear statement in sense of him not wanting to say anything about or for his daughter at her wedding day. And I think refusing to make the speech beforehand would still be relatively polite and okay. But to walk in front of all the guests and just underline that to everybody… I think the bride looked as she was slapped.

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