Brides often think the speeches are the one bit of wedmin they don’t need to get involved with. Sorry ladies, not so!
Even if you decide not to give a speech yourself – and we wholeheartedly recommend you do – you can still say ‘er, don’t think so mate’ to three blokes reciting clichés and recycled jokes for half an hour at your wedding.
Boring speeches won’t cut it in 2020. But there are plenty of ways to super-style the toasts.
YOUR GUESTS CARE ABOUT THE SPEECHES. FACT.
A great speech has the potential to be one of the few genuinely unique things at a wedding.
Guests generally remember five things:
1. The food – portion size is definitely up for discussion
2. The dress – was it backless/classic/showing a bit of boob?
3. The party – did the DJ play the right mix of Gorillaz and Chumbawamba? How much did a round of tequilas cost?
4. The speeches – the good, the bad and the boring (turns out boring is worse than bad)
5. The person who was wasted before the band arrived
You’ve probably given plenty of thought to the first three and can always rely on number five. The fourth? Probably not so much. And if not, you’re missing a trick.
The truth is that it’s not the colour scheme, the doughnut wall, or even the homemade marmalade favours that has guests laughing and loving a bit more – it’s the speeches.
They’re your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to drop a massive love-bomb on the people that are special to you both. Make the most of them and don’t palm them off on the groom!
So what do you need to consider?
THE LINE UP
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to go with the traditional speech line up of father, groom, and best man – we’re not here to judge. But if you feel like ditching the wedding rulebook, you’ve got this!
Guests love it when women step up to the mic (even nowadays it feels novel) so think about which babes you’d like to hear speak at your top table. Maybe it’s your sister giving a few childhood anecdotes or your nan sharing her humorous tips for a successful marriage.
Of course, you might like to say a few words yourself. Brides shouldn’t feel pressure to do anything they don’t feel comfortable with, but we can vouch for the fact that giving a bride’s speech is actually REALLY BLOODY FUN.
Another great option is giving a joint Mr and Mrs Speech. This takes the pressure off a bit and allows you to perfect your double-act. Guests always love it, it’s modern, cool, and almost always funny.
Feel free to be creative with your speaker line up. Young children always have comedic insights on love, while elderly relatives can often add some hilariously cynical intel. Ask whoever you’d like – but keep their contributions short, quirky and cute.
Speech politics can be a total headache. Stepdad versus dad. The groom’s childhood friend versus his funny mate….
Imagine your dream line up and then decide whether anyone would be upset by not being on it. If the answer is yes, perhaps ask them to instead give a reading (whereby their contribution is more ‘contained’).
Then there’s the bawdy best man. This one’s mostly down to how the groom feels. Don’t push him to drop his mate, but if he’s also nervous about ‘Dodgy Dave’s’ contribution, how about suggesting he recruits a ‘best man squad’ instead? If a few of his mates divvy up the best man duties, it’s legit to put Dave in charge of the rings (or, if you’re feeling brave, the stag) and Sensible Steve on speech-duty.
The speeches have the power to add something amazing to your day, but they certainly shouldn’t feel like an added stress. They don’t need to be Oscar-worthy and you shouldn’t feel responsible for the words coming out of other people’s mouths. Even Dodgy Dave’s.
Rest assured, everyone expects the best man to be completely outrageous anyway.
Help your man. We know it’s controversial – after all, ‘he only has one job’. But before you leave him to it, remember – if you’re not giving a speech, he’s officially your representative. You can’t sit there the day, shouting ‘that so didn’t happen’ and heckling ‘get on with it’.
There’s a lot of pressure on your groom to write a speech that’s sweet, unique and goddam wonderful. He has all the speech ‘to dos’ (thank guests, compliment the bridesmaids and so on) so don’t let him freak out and resort to dodgy templates (though some are quite good)!
Have a chat about the thank yous. All the key people should be in there – the best man, the bridesmaids, and the parents. It’s also nice to pay tribute to any other special folk who’ve been there for you in the run up to the wedding.
Avoid reeling off a mammoth list – guests will either get bored or be offended that they’re one of the few people not on it!
If your fiancé is struggling to come up with the goods, suggest spending an evening dedicated to digging up those funny stories and hunting down the best anecdotes. This is usually quite successful with wine. He’s on his own when it comes to the romantic stuff – that’s one thing you’re not allowed to help him with.
The speeches aren’t the time or place to hand out gifts. It’s a lovely gesture to give the mums flowers and your best women will appreciate their bling but, to avoid awkwardness, deliver your gifts personally rather than in front of a crowd.
One of our favourite speech hacks is to ask guests for their marriage advice when you send out the invites. It always provides great comic material for you or the groom.
Making the speech more interactive will keep guests alert – people love a name check. We’ve seen advice ranging from ‘find a thermostat temperature you can both live with and never change it’ to ‘never do number twos in front of each other’. Funny and wise.
Remember there are no strict rules here. Feel free to pass round the mic and encourage guests to offer some words of celebration between courses.
This works beautifully at boho weddings, where being chill about the speeches fits with the relaxed theme – the advice also generally gets funnier the more alcohol is consumed.
Speechy is a team of ex BBC comedy scriptwriters who create amazing bespoke wedding speeches for clients worldwide. Design My Wedding followers can benefit from an exclusive 25% off any of their services. Visit speecy.co.uk and use DESIGNMYSPEECH at checkout.