Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My cousin wants to make a speech at my rehearsal dinner or my reception, but there are already four people making speeches and she isn’t in the wedding. I don’t know how to tell her no. Who typically makes speeches at a rehearsal dinner or reception? How do I tell someone they can’t make a speech at my wedding?

Answer: It’s sweet that she wants to honor you and your fiancé this way, but it’s also understandable that you’d want to keep speeches to a minimum. Traditionally, the best man, maid or matron of honor, possibly a parent from each side and maybe one or both members of the couple give speeches. It really is up to the couple, so if you want more speeches, then go for it. Since you don’t however, it’s time to let her know that the speeches are already planned out. First, consider how you’d want to be told this sort of thing, be gentle with her feelings and go into it with a spirit of compassion. Second, be honest. Third, stick to your boundaries. You may want to say something to the effect of, “Thank you so much for asking if you can give a speech. It means so much to us. That said, we have to keep the speeches to a minimum. As usual with this sort of thing, the venue is only available for a certain amount of time and we want to be sure to stay on track for the evening. We are so touched at your thoughtfulness and can’t wait to share our Big Day with you.” Hopefully, this will let her down gently and everyone can move on without incident or hurt feelings. Good luck!



Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.