Sunday, 25 May 2014

Weddings and speeches

In Britain it is traditional to have speeches at weddings. At a certain point during the reception the Bride's father and the groom's best man will give a speech. A lot of thought and preparation is given to this. The Best man usually tells daring tales and reminisces on the past misdeeds of the groom. One of my friend's said her father couldn't sleep for months before the wedding because he was so worried about his speech. He had been told not to worry and that. all he had to do was make a few jokes and say something about how much it cost. He stood up and started his speech at the wedding and telling us that he had been given this advice, but he was from Yorkshire and he said that Yorkshire men never joke about money. This raised a lot of laughs, the way he said it. For a long time the most popular start to a speech was for the person giving it to say that a speech had to be like a Woman's skirt. Long enough to cover the subject but short enough to be interesting, we always dutifully laughed. The same with the Frenchman saying that by now women and men had achieved equality between the sexes. The difference was very small. Then the punch line "Vive C'est petit difference !""  Again, dutiful laughter..
My own personal mention in a wedding speech was when I couldn't attend because I was about to have a baby. We sent a telegram which was read out at the wedding. the Best man gave the apologies of Mavis and Angela. My dad quietly corrected him and told him why we weren't there. The Best man then announced to the whole party that Mavis and Angela were having a baby..
At my niece's wedding the speeches were in English and Hungarian. The groom's sister from Hungary impressed us all as she gave a wonderful speech in perfect English. She started off by saying that her brother looked stunned and the bride looked stunning.

In Italy we always have my brother giving speeches at weddings. He is very good at it, although he doesn't think so, which makes him, of course .. perfect.  Also my sister-in-law as my daughter's godmother gave a brilliant speech in Italian. It is an occasion to express your affection and solidarity for the couple. My brother's latest godfather speech seemed to have been inspired by the in- flight  magazine from British Airways. From where I was standing I couldn't hear a word he said, but I caught the punch line  All you need is love.
In Italy it is not traditional to have speeches at weddings. One of the reasons might be because the prayers and speeches are all done in church. Often the bride and groom's mothers will say special personal prayers along with the brothers and sisters or best friends. In fact any one who wants too can say a special prayer for the couple. Or it might be because Italians aren't so enthusiastic about having a best man stand up and say something like "The first time I met John he was wearing a wig and a leopard skin thong in the student's union..."
Wedding card

Gifts are given to all the guests at Italian weddings. These are hand made booklets

The essential ingredient for a happy marriage

Kissing clouds

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