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This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

This post is a little different to the things I typically write about (how to plan your wedding and how to be an epic wife), but it’s been on my heart for a while now. In the two short years I’ve been married, I’ve heard a lot of jokes about marriage. Most of these jokes were shared in the context of a wedding (crazy, right?).

If this is the first time you’ve thought about it, I’d like to share with you why I think we should take marriage more seriously and stop joking about it [and how we can start speaking about marriage in a better way].

Photo credit: Hayley Takes Photos

Weddings are a celebration of marriage

As a former wedding coordinator I’ve heard my fair share of marriage jokes shared in wedding speeches. Here’s one that really makes me cringe:

Marriage is like a deck of cards. In the beginning all you need is two hearts and a diamond, but in the end you’ll wish you had a club and a spade. 

I see what you did there, but I really don’t think that’s funny. Jokes like this teach us that the happiest day of your life is your wedding day, and that afterwards it’s all downhill. We learn that spouses should come to resent each other to the point of wanting to hit each other over the head with a club. Sound pretty? Not really.

If you are tasked with the job of MCing a wedding or delivering a wedding speech, please do us all a favour and avoid tasteless wedding jokes. You are not speaking at a 21st, so don’t think of this as the perfect time to roast your best friend. Use this as an opportunity to honour your friend, to share lighthearted (and funny) stories that make him or her look great. If you are married, tell the bride and groom how much they have to look forward to. Encourage them that marriage is a beautiful thing.

Related: How To Choose Your Wedding MC

Mutual submission is beautiful

Hear me out. I consider myself to be a bit of a feminist. I believe household chores should be shared. I believe that women are strong and often shushed. My husband brings this out of me and encourages me to speak my mind, and its awesome. That said, I also believe in submission. Mutual submission.

This is my all time worst wedding joke and I’ve heard it many times:

New husband, put your hand on top of your new wife’s hand. Take this moment in and remember it forever, because this is the last time you’ll have the upper hand. 

Essentially what you are saying is that your friend’s wife is going to boss him around and nag him all the time. Jokes like this feed the lie that we’ve been told by the media: wives run the household and tell their husbands what to do. In return, husbands resent their wives for taking control. Sound like a lovely picture of marriage? Nope. But this is what we’re constantly sold in movies and TV shows, and now in wedding speeches.

Mutual submission is about trusting each other. I trust my husband with my life, my finances, my heart and my future children. I don’t feel the need to nag him and boss him around, because I trust him to do a good job. He shouldn’t have to feel like I have the “upper hand”, because that is not what marriage is about.

Related: How To Write A Winning Wedding Speech

Spouses should honour one another in private and in public

Friends, you will not hear me joking about my husband and moaning about him. You won’t hear stories about his embarrassing habits and you won’t hear me mocking him in any way. Why? Because he’s my husband and best friend and I simply won’t dishonour him.

To my unmarried friends: don’t encourage your married friend to complain about her husband. This is never okay.

Your husband should never be the butt of your jokes. Ever. Instead of joking about him, find ways to praise him in front of other people.

Related: 7 Day Relationship Enrichment Challenge

To help you out, here are a few ways you can speak of marriage and spouses in a way that honours and cherishes them:

  1. Tell your unmarried friends how beautiful marriage is. Married friends, share stories about the blessing of marriage.
  2. Be wise about who you confide in. Maybe a friend could provide a fresh perspective on something specific, but that can be discussed without publicly flogging your partner. Choose someone you trust before entering into a conversation like this.
  3. Spend time with people who already honour each other in marriage,  and their habits will rub off on you.

Related: Get to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Related: Nine Prayers To Pray For Your Husband

How To Avoid Long, Boring Speeches At Your Wedding

I coordinated a wedding recently and had an experience I’ve never had before. It came to that time where guests were being ushered inside for speeches. Personally, I love wedding speeches and I love hearing about how loved the bride and groom really are. Well, one of the guests at this wedding was not excited about the wedding speeches. She came up to me and said “Are we being shuffled inside for speeches? They’re probably going to go on and on and on, so can I wait outside?”. I thought, “How rude!” and then realised that this lady has a good point. When the speeches go on and on and on, they can be really unbearable.

So, in today’s blog post I’d like to give you a few helpful tips to make the speeches part of your wedding something that everyone will love.


Rule #1: It’s all about how you ask

If you go up to your favourite uncle and say “Could you please make a speech at my wedding?” he’s probably going to prepare a speech that shares a lot of stories and special tidbits of information about you. If you had to say “Could you please make a toast at my wedding?” you’re looking at something short and sweet.

Rule #2: Be specific

To build on from Rule #1, you could say to your favourite uncle “Could you please make a toast to my parents at my wedding?”. Getting more specific gives each person a goal. If each person is tasked with toasting to someone in particular, you’ve got shorter speeches that are each full of something special that makes your close friends and family feel loved.

Rule #3: A time frame is your friend

I do this often and it sometimes works. It works often enough that it’s worth a try. Tell each person that they have two minutes to do their speech/toast. Two minutes will always become five, but that’s better than a five minute speech that becomes ten minutes, and so on.

Rule #4: Group them up

If you have four bridesmaids who each want to say something at your wedding, don’t give them each a slot. Ask them to do a short speech together.

Rule #5: Split them up

If you are having six speeches/toasts, don’t have them all in one chunk. Have three speeches, serve your main meal, and then the rest of the speeches afterwards. It’s a little easier to sit through speeches when they aren’t all grouped together.

Rule #6: Make sure your guests are comfortable

If your guests are seated – even in a non-traditional sit-down meal manner – and they have just eaten something, they will enjoy the speeches more. Have them standing around with empty bellies and they will start to get bored.

For more tips like these:

How to write a winning wedding speech

How to choose your wedding MC

How To Write A Winning Wedding Speech

We are in the thick of wedding season and you may be feeling a little anxious about a wedding speech you’ve got coming up. Whether you are the groom, the father of the bride, the MC or best man, we’ve got some brilliant tips for you that will help you put together a winning wedding speech!

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Tell a story

The best speeches are those that are personal and include fun facts, interesting stories or special memories that the bride, groom and guests will enjoy. Remember that when telling a story there is a beginning, middle and end. Keep that in mind when planning out the structure of your speech. And for bonus points, end off your speech by making reference to something you said in your introduction – then you’re halfway to being a speech pro!

Don’t Google

Google is great for many things, and a wedding speech is not one of those things. I have heard the same silly jokes told too many times and they can be very cringey. Avoid that altogether and keep all jokes and stories personal and about the bride and groom.

Keep your jokes appropriate

Speaking of jokes, all jokes in a wedding speech should be lighthearted. The subject of your speech will likely be the bride, groom or both, and their wedding day isn’t the day to settle the score with humiliating stories. A funny story about someone should always come with a huge dose of love. With that said, avoid marriage jokes. No-one wants to start their marriage by making a mockery of it. So, no “old ball and chain” jokes or anything that undermines the beauty of marriage.

Related: This Is Why I Don’t Laugh At Marriage Jokes

Don’t wing it

Your speech should be well rehearsed and tested on a trusty friend, but don’t attempt to wing it. When the nerves kick in, everything you have practiced will probably fly out the window. So, take some notes with you. A few keywords should be enough to help jog your memory and will be far easier to follow than a word for word two page document.

Know your style

Are you the type of person who can deliver a moving, tearful speech? Go for it. Are you more lighthearted and in the mood to deliver something funny? Do it. Whatever you choose, do what suits your personality. There is nothing worse than someone who isn’t funny trying to tell jokes.

Short and sweet is always best

As a wedding co-ordinator, I can tell you that it is most often the speeches that cause weddings to run later than planned. If you’ve been given 5 minutes to speak, do your best to stick to it. The bride, groom and guests will be left wanting more, and they won’t get bored while waiting for the festivities to move along.

State the obvious

Ok, everyone has told the bride that she looks beautiful, and everyone has congratulated the parents. Don’t think you should eliminate these facts from your speech because they are boring and you want more time to tell jokes. Make others feel good!

Check that the glasses are full

It is the job of the wedding co-ordinator to make sure this is done before the speeches and toasts begin, but if he/she hasn’t done so, you may want to begin your speech by saying “Please take a moment to charge your glasses…”

Be creative

Not a fan of delivering a toast traditionally? Sing a song, do a dance, read a poem. Salute the bride and groom in whatever way fits best! That said, if you are planning something particularly outrageous, check with the bride first.

A note on wedding toasts

Wondering who should do which toasts? If you are in the mood for something on the traditional side, the list below is just for you. However, there is no hard and fast rule. If your Best Man isn’t a great speaker, you can totally call on your Maid of Honour instead. I have also witnessed some beautiful toasts to the parents of the bride and groom, which included short but lovely stories about them.

Father of the bride: 

  • Thanks the guests for coming
  • Mentions guests who have travelled far
  • Thanks anyone who has contributed financially to the wedding
  • Compliments the bride and welcomes the groom into the family
  • Toasts the bride and groom

The groom:

  • Thanks the father of the bride for his speech
  • Thanks the guests for attending and for their gifts
  • Thanks both sets of parents
  • Thanks his best man and groomsmen
  • Thanks the bridesmaids
  • Compliments his bride

The best man:

  • Toasts the bridesmaids
  • Comments on the bridal couple, mainly the groom
  • Reads any messages from absent friends or family
  • Ends with a final toast to the bride and groom

The bride:

  • Thanks the guests for coming
  • Thanks important wedding suppliers in attendance
  • Thanks her parents and bridesmaids
  • Compliments her groom