What should be in my best man's speech in Mexico?
October 13, 2004 11:16 AM   Subscribe

One of my best friends is getting married, and I am thrilled to be the best man. I have to write a speech. Now, that's tricky enough in and of itself, but there's an additional wrinkle: My friend is having a pretty traditional wedding in Mexico. My Spanish is somewhat broken, but I have friends and family who can help me translate whatever I write. My question is: what is appropriate in such a speech in Mexico? How long should it be? What can I expect? More inside...

Pretty traditional parts of a best man speech seem to be anecdotes about the groom, a bit of humorous banter, statements about how good the couple is together and how lucky the guy is to have found such a wonderful girl (All true, in this case), then rounding off with best wishes and a toast.

I should probably stay away from the humorous, since it'll be hard to tell what will go over well and what will not. I should probably also thank the parents in the speech? About 1/5 of the guests will be non-spanish-speaking Americans... Should I intersperse English and Spanish paragraphs? Go Spanish only? Do English first, then Spanish?

I am very nervous about this and desperately don't want to screw this up. If you've been to a Mexican wedding, or can help me a bit with some of the cultural differences and expectations, I would be very grateful
posted by kahboom to Society & Culture (2 answers total)
Coming from as far away (Chile) as you can get from Mexico and still be in the same basic chunk of land:

1) Steer clear from humour, doesn't translate well (or at all). Depending on how good your Spanish is, you'll probably come off as unintentionally funny anyway.

2) Be polite, mention the family, how beautiful the city/region/country is, you'll be fine.

3) I'd probably stick to Spanish, and maybe do the actual toast in Eng/Span.

4) They'll love ya anyway, just for making the effort to do it in Spanish.

5) If you need hellp with the translation (and none of your friends and family are native Spanish spearkers), drop me an email.
posted by signal at 1:50 PM on October 13, 2004

Well, I've been to a huge number of mexican weddings but can't offer much better advice than signal.

The reason to avoid humor is not only because it may not come off in cultural translation but also because mexican weddings are more solemn occasions in general. The self-deprecating and/or innuendo humor that is acceptable at american weddings would not go over so well. Besides, as signal points out, your accent and your sincere attempt should draw enough amusement and goodwill (mexicans love it when americans try to speak spanish; they are honored not offended)

Stick with the traditional stuff: Wishing the couple happiness, how beautiful it is that the family(-ies) could all share this moment together, what a great honor it is for you, how beautiful you find the mexican tradition/country etc. (they'll eat this up; its hard to over-compliment) and you should be just fine.

Also, if it really is a traditional wedding then it is highly ritualized. As part of the wedding party you need to know your duties etc. but there's usually a rehearsal beforehand so that this all gets figured out.
posted by vacapinta at 2:37 PM on October 13, 2004

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