We sat down with Richard Ford, the founder and the power behind Life is a Speech; the ultimate go-to source for all of your wedding speech needs. He tells us how he has honed his craft for speech writing over the last 20 years, the inspiration behind the company and some of his most memorable moments.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your company?
I launched Life is a Speech a few years ago, but really the foundations for writing and coaching on wedding speeches were laid over 20 years ago, when I worked in journalism, media, and film.
I honed my craft in writing, editing, and producing various creative pieces. And I found comedy and drama have always been my sweet spot, as there’s something magical about bringing laughter and heartfelt emotions to life. Those skills shaped my unique approach to crafting and coaching wedding speeches.
In the late 2000s, I took a leap into the corporate world, and was fortunate to climb the ladder to senior positions. It was during this time that I discovered the art of public speaking, coaching, and the power of delivering a message that truly resonates.
Now, as a Wedding Speech coach, I have the privilege of working with incredible individuals from all walks of life. I truly believe that Life is a Speech creates wedding speeches that are far from ordinary – they’re unforgettable, captivating, and tailored to each person’s unique story.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have worked with thousands of Best Men, Grooms, Bridesmaids, Maids of Honours, Brides, and many others who have taken the stage at weddings. It’s an honour to be part of their special moments, helping them craft speeches that leave a lasting impression.
What was your inspiration for starting Life is a Speech?
You know when you go to parties. And people ask you. “So, what do you do for a living?” And you can hear yourself mumbling something before changing the conversation! That was me!
I wanted to be really excited talking about what I do and how I impact people’s lives. I reached a point where I wanted to find a way to combine my business sense with my creative itch, as it were! I had always loved working one to one with people and missed the rapport and the feeling of pride in seeing their achievements.
Something that would really light my passion, and I could use those years of skills to make a difference! Around the same time, a lot of friends were getting married, and I don’t know about you, but one of the things I really enjoy is the wedding speech!
And something that had struck me was the quality of the speeches. Some were ok, but I’d also seen some terrible wedding speeches with lots of cringy ‘cut and paste’ jokes and awkward pauses!
And I thought, what a shame because this is a chance for the Father of the Bride to really celebrate their child’s big day, or a Groom to show in front of everyone how grateful he is. A Best Man to feel like a king or a Maid of Honour to do justice to her BFF.
Then it hit me, why don’t I try to see if I could help?! I had studied Communication Studies and Drama at University, and with my public speaking and coaching background, I set to work.
So I launched Life is a Speech with a clear mission: to save the world from boring wedding speeches, one laugh at a time. Well, maybe not the whole world, but at least the wedding reception.
Joking aside, I received such good feedback about my speeches that I started to think, “What’s next?”So I took a deep breath, and ventured out into the world of weddings. And now I love it.
How has the business changed/developed since first opening its doors?
We’ve undergone remarkable growth and transformation. I started off small, working primarily with a circle of friends and acquaintances. However, as word of mouth spread, our client base expanded exponentially. We now proudly serve individuals from diverse backgrounds and roles, including Best Men, Grooms, Bridesmaids, Fathers of the Bride, and Brides themselves, along with LGBQT+ weddings. I even write for celebrants!
As our reputation grew, so did our services. I recognised the importance of not only writing good speeches but also coaching our clients to deliver them with confidence and flair.
I realised that you could have the world’s greatest words in front of you, but if you delivered it like you were standing in a high school assembly, looking down and flat, then it would fail. So this led me to develop comprehensive coaching programs, encompassing speechwriting, public speaking techniques, and performance strategies.
And now online, with Instagram and my website, I connect with clients worldwide, and one of the most significant developments has been my commitment to staying ahead of wedding trends and styles.
Overall, Life is a Speech has grown from a passion project into a thriving business, constantly evolving to meet the needs and desires of our clients. I’m so proud to be a trusted authority in the realm of wedding speeches, helping individuals create unforgettable moments on their special day.
What customers expect from Life is a Speech? Tell us about the process and what makes you different.
Our customers expect a personalised and exceptional experience regarding their wedding speeches. I know all my customers have unique stories, relationships, and visions for their speeches, so I’m committed to bringing those elements to life in the most meaningful way.
I try to be in the business of creating unforgettable moments, raising the bar for wedding entertainment, whether that’s with sweet spots or making sure your Aunt Mary snorts Prosecco through her nose!
Normally, clients DM or email me with an idea for their speech, or they can purchase a package direct on my website. Then the process begins with a thorough consultation, where I take the time to get to know our clients, their personalities, and their desired speech outcomes. Definitely, a collaborative approach, so I can understand the overall tone and vibe they want. And make them sound like them on their best day. Because for them it is their best day!
I don’t believe in cut and paste jokes, or generic sentiment. I make sure it’s personal to you and believe in striking the perfect balance between sentimentality and entertainment, ensuring that the guests and wedding party are captivated throughout the speech.
Another key aspect that makes us different is our commitment to coaching. Life is a Speech doesn’t only provide speechwriting services but also equips our clients with the tools and techniques to deliver their speeches confidently.
Through our coaching sessions, we focus on speech delivery, body language, vocal projection, and overcoming any stage anxiety, ensuring that our clients shine on their special day. We go above and beyond to exceed expectations and make each wedding speech an unforgettable experience.
Ultimately, our customers can expect a seamless and enjoyable journey with Life is a Speech.
Out of all speeches that you have helped on (Groom, Best Man, Father of the Bride, Bridesmaids, Bride, etc), which is your favourite to help with and why?
While all speeches have their own charm, I particularly enjoy working with Maid of Honours/Bridesmaids when it comes to crafting wedding speeches. Because speaking in that role is still relatively a more modern thing, it means it’s unchartered territory, so it’s exciting seeing and working with one. It’s like being the ultimate wingwoman for the bride’s big day!
It allows you to have a great deep emotional connection, reflecting the unique bond between the Bride and her closest friends. So while it allows heartfelt stories, cherished memories, and words of love and support.
You can also be a bit more cheeky. Because unlike maybe the pressures of a Best Man to knock it out of the park with their humour, there aren’t any expectations on the Bridesmaid to be hilarious. So it’s really great to think outside the box and be light-hearted, sharing funny anecdotes and inside jokes, that reflect the playful side of their friendship!
Can you tell us about one of your favourite or most memorable client speeches that you have helped with?
That’s like choosing my favourite child. They are all my favourites! Joking aside, I feel grateful that I’ve worked with celebrities, politicians, and even a couple of Hollywood stars.
One memorable one was with a Bride. Often, they will approach me wanting to be witty but not sure how. She wanted to infuse her speech with laughter and create a light-hearted moment during the reception. So, I crafted a speech that included funny anecdotes about her journey with the Groom, including the very funny story when she got locked out her holiday hotel room…with nothing on!
I think it’s so important for Brides to speak on their big day and let their personality shine. I managed to coach her, so she gave a witty delivery that had everyone in stitches, making it a truly unforgettable and laughter-filled speech.
Another one was a Maid of Honour/Chief Bridesmaid, who requested an emotional and heartfelt speech. She shared a touching story of how she and the bride became friends after meeting in the hospital via chemotherapy treatments. I worked with her to emphasise that unbreakable bond and the support they provided each other during challenging times. She spoke about a difficult moment in the Bride’s Life and how the bride’s strength and resilience inspired her. Not a dry eye in the house!
And finally, a wacky Groom speech for one guy, who wanted to use props, visuals, and a Star Wars theme and then surprise everyone with a funny dance routine!
The thought of making a speech at a wedding can be nerve-wracking. What are your three top tips for the day?
- Embrace the Butterflies. It’s completely normal to feel nervous before giving a wedding speech. Instead of fighting those butterflies in your stomach, embrace them almost like a cheerleading squad. So, in your mind, when you feel sweat or your tummy grumbling, just tell it that it’s its excitement, and you can’t wait. And remember everyone there is on your side!
- Practice, Practice, Practice. Rehearsing your speech is essential. I know, like reciting in front of a mirror, filming it, or asking a trusted friend…well, it can be cringe. But it’s worth it. The more you practice, the more confident and polished your delivery will be. Don’t try and wing it!
- And finally… Don’t get too drunk!
What is your favourite part of the job?
Just witnessing the transformation that happens when someone overcomes their fear and delivers an amazing speech. Seeing the tension, nerves, and anxiety leave them and then seeing the buzz and reviews they give me afterwards.
It’s a great feeling to empower individuals to express themselves authentically, connect with their audience, and create lasting memories through their speeches. It’s a privilege to be a part of their special day and to help them make a meaningful impact with their words. The satisfaction that comes from knowing I’ve made a positive difference in someone’s wedding experience is truly priceless.
How can customers book your services?
Anyone can reach out to me on my website https://www.lifeisaspeech.com/weddingspeeches or email me at [email protected] even for a chat. Once I receive their message, I’ll promptly respond to discuss their needs and provide more information about my services. From there, we can schedule a consultation to further discuss their wedding speech goals and determine the best package that suits their needs. I strive to make sure everyone feels comfortable and supported throughout their journey with Life is a Speech.
Anyone reading this, I always say like to hit our tag line of “You won’t be left speechless but everybody else will…”
Life is a Speech’s website can be found here
Life is a Speech’s Instagram can be found here