The last wedding I went to was a rather traditional affair. There was a church, there were hymns, there was a big white dress and a long veil. It was lovely.
However, when it came to the wedding breakfast and the much-anticipated speeches I found myself listening to ceaseless man-chat as I watched the bride pick confetti out of her tulle skirt.
As much as I enjoyed the longwinded ramblings from the three (or was it four?) best men about the groom's first girlfriend, his ineptitude on the "rugger" field and, of course, the time he lost his mind in Vegas, the person I really wanted to hear from remained silent. It were as if the bride wasn't even there.
Perhaps I was foolish to expect an utterance from the woman in white as she was ceremoniously handed from one man to another. Or perhaps there was no deeper patriarchal meaning behind her muteness and she simply didn't fancy getting up in front of all those people and making a speech. Whatever the motivation, I was still saddened by the absence of a single female voice on the big day.
My biggest concern is I am alone in this sadness, especially when, upon googling the subject I came across this on Staggered.com, a wedding site for men:
"I wasn't going to give a speech," says the bride, wobbling to her feet, "but seeing as you're all here..."
Quite apart from playing havoc with the sweepstake on how long the speeches were going to last, this kind of announcement strikes fear into the hearts of many guests. How much champagne has the bride had? Did she prepare anything to say? Will she - God forbid - cry? Will she cry to the point where she hyperventilates and we all have to politely sit and watch her turn into a 5'3' meringue of emotion?
Oh, and it gets worse:
The fact is, we just don't trust women to speak in public. It's not their job. We don't expect them to be funny, and frankly, without the funny, there is no wedding speech. That's why it's the job of the bride and bridesmaids to sit there and look pretty, and the job of the groom, best man and father of the bride to stand up and thank them repeatedly for looking so pretty.
I'm going to give the site the benefit of the doubt here and choose to assume the article was a joke. However, it does go on to offer up advice to any poor bastard groom whose loudmouth of a future wife is insisting on speaking at his wedding.
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Make of that what you will, but it's still considered controversial when a women, be she bride, maid of honour or - dare I say it? - the mother of the bride gets up to speak.
"Weddings are traditional things," writes one bridal commenter on Wedding Ideas. "Where men play at being men for the day, and women, women. And it's kind of OK for just one day."
Maybe that is OK for some, but it shouldn't be accepted across the board. There shouldn't be a sense of dread amongst guests when the "meringue" clears her throat and clinks her champagne flute.
Additionally, an hour of best men speeches all about the groom and his misdemeanors as a youth are kind of boring. There - I said it.
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