As the evenings draw in and the leaves start to fall, most people mourn the end of summer. Not us. At Great Speech Writing we breathe a sigh of relief. Because summer means weddings. And, for us, weddings mean one thing. Words. Lots of words.
This summer alone, our team of writers have churned out around 500 wedding speeches. We’ve written for everyone – brides and grooms, best men and best women, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers, sisters. We’ve written for best friends, old friends, friends of the family. We’ve written for long-lost uncles and third cousins twice removed.
And because each and every speech we write is bespoke and unique, we spend hours talking to our clients, making sure we fully understand the idiosyncrasies of the bride and groom. We find out about both sides of the family and we get to the heart of what each audience may – or may not – be expecting. All this before we’ve even started writing!
By the time we’ve crafted – and delivered – the finished speech, it’s almost as though we’ve gatecrashed the wedding, shared a glass or three with Great Uncle Johnny and had a giggle with the old crowd from school. In other words, we know ALL about what today’s loved-up couples want from their wedding speeches.
Here’s what we’ve learnt
Rules? There are no rules
Couples used to be obsessed with wedding ‘form’. They stuck rigidly to the traditional speech format – even if it made no sense or had no place. But over the past few years we’ve noticed a big shift. People seem less bothered by the so-called ‘correct’ order of ceremony. If a groom wants to speak before dinner, fine. If the mother of the bride wants to give a speech, great. Most couples opt for their own set of rules – and their wedding is all the better for it.
Toasts are toast
Wedding speeches used to be littered with toasts. But we’ve noticed that today’s brides and grooms prefer to scatter their toasts more sparingly. This gives the remaining toasts far more impact and, more importantly, keeps the speech flowing without constant interruptions.
One becomes two
Brides and grooms aren’t the only pairing on the big day. More and more often, we’re asked to write a joint speech for two best men. Sometimes a group of friends wants us to write something for them to deliver together. We’ve even written a few joint father- and mother-of-the-bride speeches. Why? Because the happy couple often find it hard to pick just one person. And because nervous speakers are far more comfortable sharing the load.
Male-dominated wedding speeches are finally – thankfully! –a thing of the past. This summer we had more enquiries from brides, bridesmaids, sisters and mothers of the bride than ever before. Hurrah!
We find that lots of wedding speakers now want to accompany a speech with slides or videos – even short films. We’re often asked to weave a speech around a series of images, or incorporate clever links to memorable bits of footage. This can work really well, but we always make sure that the speech has standalone appeal too – just in case there’s a power cut!
Putting it into practise
Wedding speech form may be changing but some things never go out of fashion. Here are our top timeless tips.
1. Keep it original. The odd predictable line is fine but steer clear of stock phrases. Your speech will just sound like an internet cut-and-paste job.
2. Keep it brief. Avoid rambling paragraphs in favour of short, punchy, deliverable sentences. You’ll find it easier to deliver – and you’ll have more impact too.
3. Find out who the other speakers are and what they are going to say. In other words, you don’t want to be thanking, talking about or toasting the same people.
4. Tell stories. Anecdotes and memories will paint a picture of your subject far better than clichés or hyperbole.
5. Practise, practise, practise. The wedding may be a relaxed affair but this is no excuse for a poorly prepared speech. Make sure you know what – and how – you’re going to say long before the big day.
With peak season over, we’re already starting work on next season’s weddings. If you’d like help editing, writing or delivering your speech, get in touch with Great Speech Writing Call +44 (0) 20 8245 8999 or fill in this form