Every family tree has several self-proclaimed comedians in the mix, but a sparkling wit doesn't always translate well to a heartfelt wedding toast. While your favorite uncle may feel the urge to give a stand-up comedy routine at your reception, you may not be overjoyed with the idea of voluntarily handing him a mike. Our etiquette experts weigh in on how to keep an outspoken relative from ruining your reception with a cringe-worthy speech.
Your uncle is likely feeling two sentiments in equal parts: overwhelming pride and joy at his niece getting married, and elation at the chance to showcase his comedic stylings at your reception. Before crushing his dreams of reducing your wedding guests to hysterical laughter, gauge how serious your uncle is about giving an off-color speech. He may simply be teasing you to take the edge off your pre-wedding jitters.
If your uncle is determined to give a speech, there are tactful ways of dissuading him from venturing into dangerous territory with his quips. If he responds as well to humor as he doles it out, try causally joking about your concerns over his speech. You may be able to avoid an awkward conversation entirely by cracking a joke about saving his lewd sense of humor for the bachelor party.
Another way of diffusing the situation is to tell your uncle that you're hoping to limit speeches at the reception to a few words from your parents and a traditional monologue from the maid of honor or best man. If your uncle absolutely must have a forum for his work, allow him a five minute window at your rehearsal dinner or post-wedding brunch to minimize the impact of offensive comments and crude jokes. If the worst happens and your uncle cracks a few crude jokes, remember that in a year the experience will simply be a funny story about wedding plans gone awry.