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Speeches > Greek Wedding Toast Dilemma

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Q.  At the rehearsal dinner last night, the maid of honor sprung on my fiancée and myself that she will be giving a  speech (possibly just a toast) at the reception of the wedding.  In the agenda we had planned,  we had myself (the groom) toasting the bride and then the koumbaro (in  Greek weddings he is the closest thing to a best man).  I am in process of convincing my fiancée's brother to toast his sister especially since her father past away 11 years  ago and to welcome me to the family.  I am somewhat concerned because I don't know if it's proper to have the maid of honor get up a speak at all.  What do you think? 

A. First, congratulations on your wedding.  You must be so excited!  I wish you both much happiness together.

As for the maid of honor speaking at the wedding, in the average American wedding, that would be acceptable.  In fact, I notice that more often I see both the best man and the maid of honor giving a speech and/or toast at receptions.  I think sometimes it's a matter of the bride wanting someone "from her side" to speak -- or her maids wanting this.

At less-formal weddings, often the parents or siblings or other family members also toast or speak, but I know that etiquette gives the first toast to the best man at a wedding reception. (Bride's father traditionally gets the first toast at the engagement party. Groom's father gets the first toast, traditionally at the rehearsal dinner.)

However, I imagine that if you are having a fairly traditional Greek wedding, this might NOT play as appropriately.  Certainly there are cultural issues at play, from what you mention about the plans thus far.   (By the way, I love it when the groom toasts his new bride-- I think it's very romantic and classy-- even though that's not as common in weddings now.)

But since you two must know more about Greek weddings than I do... do YOU think it would be inappropriate in your family/social circle for her to speak? Have you talked to the bride about this?  Does she share your concerns?  Because if she does, it may well NOT be too appropriate for the maid of honor to get up and speak.

If the maid of honor comes from a different background or social circle, it may not be easy to explain why it would not be considered proper for her to speak-- but if you think that it would be a problem, and you and your bride would prefer she didn't, then that's just what you need to try and tell her.  Hopefully, she will defer to your wishes and preferences.

If you are uncomfortable, or think she might not listen to you and respect your wishes, consider having some older family member kindly speak to her-- a woman might be best, depending on the maid of honor's personality and background.  Certainly you don't want to offend her, but if, culturally speaking, she'd be out of line in this setting, it would be better to try and handle the situation beforehand-- rather than have her speech/toast flop because of family disapproval.

It's a touchy situation, and hopefully, whatever you/she chooses to do, everyone else will try to be gracious.

Again, wishing you much happiness and many years together!

Sara Ambarian --Staff expert--
author of "A Bride's Touch: A Handbook of Wedding Personality and
creative consultant/custom bridal designer
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