A woman making a speech at her own wedding…is this really front page news? Ok so this woman – Meghan Markle –
happens to be marrying into the Royal Family – and her fiancée is the 5th in the line to the throne- for the next few months at least at which point he will hopefully be bumped into 6th with the arrival of his new niece or nephew. But really isn’t the idea of the little woman sitting meekly by while her newly acquired husband and his best man shower praise on the beautiful bride – outdated, outmoded and frankly absurd?
The number of women giving speeches at their own wedding is on the rise according to statistics. Research puts this down to the average age women are getting married at 33.8 and therefore having more confidence to deliver a speech on their big day. Well I must have been ahead of the curve because when I got married nearly 11 years ago -it went without question, that I would have a say at my own wedding. But it wasn’t because I was indeed the exact average marrying age for a woman and therefore had more confidence – it was because – well I just simply had to.
You might well say as a news reader the prospect of standing up in front of 200 people and pronouncing forthwith on my new husband would be far less nerve racking for me as I was used to public speaking. But you’d be wrong. It’s one thing reading the news to millions of viewers you cannot see down the barrel of a camera – and quite another revealing your innermost thoughts and feelings to your family and friends about the man you have just committed to spending the rest of your life with. I was, if I’m honest quite daunted at the prospect. But this was my wedding – I’d already have very little if anything to do during the ceremony itself except walk dutifully around my husband 7 times as is the tradition at a Jewish ceremony. In my mind I was marrying my equal in life and love and the very start of a marriage of equality needed to be marked by showing just that. There was simply no way I wasn’t going to say anything!
I doubt my decision to speak up would have come as much of a surprise to any of my family or friends. When you’re given the nickname “gobby” as a child by your own parents you aren’t exactly known as a shrinking violet. I don’t know what the reaction was from those on the “other side” of the wedding party who knew me less well – and frankly it wasn’t a consideration. This was me, this was who I am. And you know what – it was a good speech! I managed to by funny, witty and hopefully entertaining. But more importantly it gave me a chance to say nice things about my new husband and also thank my family and friends – something a bride rarely gets the chance to do.
Although more women are speaking at their weddings A YouGove poll from 2016 found that only 16% of those surveyed thougth the bride should give a speech at her To be honest I find it more shocking the number of women who choose not to speak than the increasing numbers who opt to. I am amazed by the number of friends who are confident, secure and successful who choose to stay shtum. Most women these days certainly plan their own weddings and a large proportion actually contribute towards paying for them as well. We have campaigned hard to be able to work like men, – we want equality at home as well – so let’s start as we mean to go on!
It’s not really a surprise that the uber articulate actress, human rights activist and self- declared feminist Meghan Markle should be taking a stand and speaking at her own nuptials. But this too will be a first for her – addressing her new family and not just any family – one of the most famous families in the world and Britain’s first family! So no doubt she too will have some nerves…
Now if she were to insists on double barrelling her’s and Harry’s surnames to become the Markel-Windsors – now THAT would be worth a headline or two!