Etiquette guides just don’t cut it these days. Do we really need Debrett’s to tell us who to thank or who to toast? Surely we don’t need to address everyone as ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ (certainly not the rugby boys) or read out ‘telegrams’ from relatives we’ve never actually met. So what are the wedding speech rules for 2016 according to the Speechy experts? Well thankfully ‘the rules’ are less about formalities and more about making your speech freakin’ fantastic!
Cut out the clichés
Avoid words and phrases like ‘the one’, ‘soulmate’ or ‘beautiful’. They may be true but they’re also cliches. Think about what makes your love story unique. What first attracted you to each other? Was it the bride’s impressive knowledge of Man U’s season or the groom’s ability to make pistachio ice cream? Did you fall in love when the groom secretly admitted to liking Taylor Swift?
Make people laugh
Yes the expectation may be on the best man but all wedding speeches should be funny, ideally from the get-go. And when it comes to wedding speeches, being funny isn’t about jokes (certainly not any you’d find on a speech template), instead it’s about witty observations.
The wedding itself can create lots of comedy potential. Were you disappointed to discover a ‘naked cake’ was just a big Victoria Sponge? How did the groom handle the challenge of colour-schemes? Did two sane people actually just agree to spend the rest of their lives tolerating each other’s box-sets. The list goes on…
Tell a story
A wedding speech shouldn’t be a long list of thank you’s, a few anecdotes and a toast. A good speech needs to tell a story. It needs to hook people in from the beginning, establish a theme and carry that through to an almighty climax.
One example of a theme is a footie mad groom who started his speech by saying there was only one thing missing from his special day and that was ‘football’. His speech was then a post-match analysis of his courtship and his thanks was a spoof of a FA Cup draw.
It’s all in the detail. We all know the newlyweds love each other but who knew the bride’s got two belly buttons or the groom’s secretly taking singing lessons? Treat your guests to a few revelations that will get them talking. Quirky and cute is what you’re after rather than intimate and embarrassing.
Keep it short
Eight minutes is what you’re aiming for. It’s long enough to be meaningful but short enough to be punchy!
Make it memorable
How can you present your speech in an interesting way? And we don’t just mean using embarrassing photos in a Powerpoint presentation. A lot more people are doing musical speeches and writing their speech to classic tunes (whether it’s the groom doing a romantic number or the bridesmaids murdering Mamma Mia). It takes guts and a lot of rehearsal but it always goes down well.
It’s also worth considering ‘props’. One groom (who was renowned for being a bad cook) surprised his bride by revealing he’d been having secret cooking lessons. He then presented her with his first attempt at her favourite mushroom risotto. It was rather sweet and a definite talking point!
Add some butter to your toast
Traditional toasts have been said thousands of times before so try to make your toast original. For example, one groom decided to conclude his speech by thanking his bride for clicking on his online profile picture before proposing a toast to Photoshop. It got the desired laughs…
Meanwhile one bride opted to take a more romantic route, thanking her parents for ‘proving love lasts long enough to be dancing together 35 years later’ before toasting ‘long lasting love’.
Pretend you’re Kanye West
When it comes to delivering the speech it’s natural to feel nervous but it’s your job to fake confidence. You need to take inspiration from Kanye West and pretend to know what you’re doing. Take a deep breathe, have a drink and smile. Make eye contact with people. Talk slowly. And smile again. It’s amazing how infectious a smile can be.
Remember you’re in front of people you love and who love you. This should be fun. Relish it.
Speechy is a bespoke wedding speech writing service run by TV scriptwriters. Call them if you need help making your speech ‘a bit more blooming brilliant’ on 07971 225 245.