Wediquette Wednesday: Is it OK to give a surprise speech at my friend’s wedding?

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 friend is getting married next month. She asked me to be in the wedding but I live out of state and wouldn’t have been able to offer her the support and assistance she needed in the planning process. We talked it out and she completely understood. I offered to help with anything she needed the day before, day of and day after the wedding, but would also love to surprise her at the reception with a special toast. She and the groom both mean so much to me and I want to celebrate them on their Big Day. Is it OK to give a surprise speech at my friend’s wedding?

Answer: As pure and lovely as your reasons are for wanting to surprise your friend, as a rule it’s a big no-no to surprise the couple with an unplanned speech. They’ve been planning for months if not years and have a specific timeline in mind for the reception. It’s especially important to stay on track at venues that have multiple events in a given day or that have noise ordinances and other considerations that require specific event end times. It can’t hurt to ask if you can do a toast, that way if there’s time they can add you into the itinerary, but ask with an open mind to the answer being no if the schedule is already set. You can always tell them whatever it is you wish to say either in person before the wedding or via the card you send with your gift. Do be sure to share it with them in another format if they can’t work you into the speeches. It’s never a bad thing to share how much we care. 

Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email

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