Wedding speech comedy boundaries

(January 2016)

We've all got that one mate with a face like a slapped backside, or another pal whose elaborate faux-hawk comb-over does nothing to hide the fact he's as bald as a coot. And while we might trade barbs over each other's appearance down at the pub, it's a different kettle of fish when you're openly making fun of someone on their wedding day in front of an audience.

That's not to say that you can't do it, but if you do want to make fun of someone's looks there are a few things to remember… unless you want to spend the entire speech getting equally funny looks from the Groom's mother. And yes, we did specify the Groom there for a reason. Making fun of the Bride's appearance is never, ever a good idea… unless you want your own mush messed up by the bridesmaids later on. Who knows, maybe you're into that sort of thing:

  1. "It's no secret that weddings can be a stressful, overwhelming time for a groom, but at least Alan won't have to worry about his hair turning grey."

  1. "It's just as hard for skinny blokes like Lee to find clothes as it is for those of a more substantial figure like mine. But if he spills anything on his jacket don't worry; the chap on top of the cake has a spare in just the right size. And as for me, that marquee out there looks a bit snug but it'll do the job."

  1. "Doesn't Gary look great? Not a hair out of place - unless you count the ones on his arse."

These three lines make for good gentle ribbing, as a man with no hair on his bonce is probably well into the acceptance stage of grief after losing his luxurious mane. The second joke also softens the blow by taking some of the flak yourself, but even this may not prove enough if the Groom is a bit sensitive. If this is the case, then you may want to avoid the tone displayed in our next few jokes:

  1. "A lot of people let themselves go after they get married, but as usual Steve's turned up pre-prepared."

  1. "Some people say that Phil is a bit on the small side. But I say no, that's not true. Phil's just fun sized, you know, like those little Mars Bars your mum buys that aren't big enough to satisfy anyone."

These jokes may be a little sharp for someone who has issues with their appearance, but if you're dealing with a cocky little **** or you're writing these in self-mockery for your own wedding speech, then go for it! If not, then try to take aim at things the Groom can change, such as his clothing, haircut or other temporary attributes:

  1. "As you can see, Jack still wears a single earring in his right ear - despite the obvious connotations regarding his sexuality that any teenage boy knows to be true. But one advantage he does have is that his piercing has made him extra-prepared for marriage, as he knows what it feels like to buy jewellery and experience pain.

  1. "Barry thought he'd test Gemma's commitment to her vows to stay with him for richer or for poorer by coming to his own wedding dressed like an out-of-work doorman."

Other suitable topics for mockery include beards, weird shoes, a particularly fruity style of eyewear and of course tattoos - although if the Groom's inked with the name of an ex-girlfriend you may want to avoid this one. And don't limit your scope to things you can see either, because if your Groom has a voice like Joe Pasquale or a propensity to douse himself in cologne like a Poundland James Bond, these non-visible physical characteristics can also be a great source of laughter.

You also don't have to focus solely on the Groom's current appearance, because however dapper he may be today, at some point he and the rest of us have all looked daft in one way or another. Did your Groom once sport a Mohawk? Maybe he once dressed like a member of the Dingle clan during his teenage years. Or perhaps, if he's had some work done, you can dig out an old photo of what he used to look like and mock him for that instead?

  1. "Those of us who've known James as a child see a different man today than the one we grew up with, and that's a testament to the skill of his surgeons. Before the nose job, the ear pins and the jaw-shaving we were worried about him for the same reason we're worried about the wedding photos being taken by Uncle Steve - nobody thought they'd develop properly."

  1. "I have to admit that Richard's hair transplant does look pretty good. It's taken years off him, and this in turn inspired my wedding gift - a turd-polishing machine. Because apparently, you can."

  1. "In a bid to hold back the years for his wedding pictures, I happen to know that Darren's taken to moisturising recently. And in other news, he's also tried bolting the front entrance of a stable in pursuit of a particularly errant equine, boarding a ship well after it set sail, and urinating in the ocean in the vain hope of raising its temperature."

So there you have it. Those are just a few examples of how you can make fun of the Groom's appearance within a wedding speech context and not have your two front teeth punched out. You know your mates better than we do, and there's always a chance that even the most inconspicuous line could cause offence, so think carefully before deciding what's suitable. It's not worth ruining a friend's big day just for the sake of one single laugh - so if in doubt, leave it out.