Apologies From Non-Attendees

There are various reasons why someone might not be able to attend a wedding. For example, I recently refused an invite to the ceremony of my girlfriend's friend because she is objectively a waste of human skin. I despise her with all my being, and I fear I could barely muster up the strength to applaud the grotesque charade that was her marriage ceremony even but once.

There are other, less acerbic reasons too; or so I have been led to believe. Oftentimes, certain absences are so notable or profoundly meaningful that they simply must be referred to within the wedding speech itself. Depending on who this is determines which speech-giver must draw attention to the elusive character. But this announcement does not need to be dry. Humour can, nay, must always be derived from mundane situations. This isn't a public service announcement; it is a wedding day speech. If there's some admin to be done, do it with a smile on your face and jest in your heart. And today, we're going to show you how to do precisely that.

  1. "While I am of course glad that everyone here could make it, my heart does feel the absence of certain people dearly. My Uncle Philip who is laid up in hospital, our thoughts are with you. My Grandmother Phyllis, who sadly passed last year. And my friend John, who is sat in the front row, but after the events of the stag do is so clearly dead inside."

It isn't disrespectful to include a joke in this part of the speech just because someone is dead. People die all the time. You might be dead right now for all you know. Death or illness must never define or overshadow a happy occasion like a wedding if you can help it. And so long as you're not being mean about one of the poor sods who has passed, you're entitled to enjoy yourself as much as you would if they were still with us today.

  1. "I must of course mention without delay my late father Simon. Just to clarify, he is dead, he isn't being tardy. Don't expect him to turn up halfway through looking flustered. If he does, I'll be the one that needs a sit down."

  1. "Sadly, Aunt Judith can't be with us today, and we all miss her greatly. But in all honesty, I think she'd have survived to see our union if she'd known there was an open bar."

The majority of absences at a wedding can be attributed to general life commitments rather than death, and these too can be played with for comic effect in a number of ways. Honesty is one of the best sources of humour, and as this next line shows, if someone isn't there to hear it, you can get away with some pretty sharp barbs at their expense.

  1. "A couple of our closest friends, Ricky and Sara, weren't able to attend today; as much as they wanted to, circumstance simply prevented it. But in their place they've provided us with a wonderful present - the gift of a vague excuse. Honestly, the next time I can't be arsed going to any of your lot's weddings I'm gonna follow their lead and drench my RSVP in mysterious ambiguity."

  1. "Really the only people missing out of our immediate family are Grandma Marge and Grandpa Jack, who are both in their nineties and really couldn't cope with the trip. I suppose I can't be angry at them too much though. Neither me nor Sarah went to their wedding back in 1953. We didn't even get them a gift!"

  1. "It's disappointing, but I kinda knew my cousin Rick wouldn't be able to come today. He's always working and he must've missed every family funeral, wedding and christening we've had in the past five years. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. If that were true, we'd all be madly in love with that flaky sod."

Occasionally, someone's absence can be totally unexpected due to an accident, traffic or some other situation. It is entirely up to you whether to reference to true reasons behind their no-show, as with the right material, both the truth and a few lies can work equally well.

  1. "Uncle Harry was supposed to be here today but he's had to pull out on moral grounds. It's nothing to do with me and Jade. He found out this morning he was switched at birth and he couldn't bring himself to sit behind a stranger's place name and eat their meal."

  1. "My friend Ian was meant to be a Groomsman today but something's come up. As he was leaving the house he fell down the stairs and landed on the hoover. I phoned the hospital after the ceremony, they assure me he's picking up nicely."

As you can see, there are plenty of angles you can take when announcing absent friends and dearly departed relatives. A wedding speech is only as fun and interesting as you choose to make it, and if you can find humour in AWOL aunts and missing mates, the reception you'll receive will more than make up for their truancy.