Like a free bar stocked with craft beers and Bollinger, giving a speech at your wedding is a sure-fire way of impressing not only your guests, but your husband too. By Speechy speech guru Heidi Ellert-McDermott.

We understand. Who wants to add another ‘to do’ to the ever growing list? Especially one that’s not ‘traditionally’ on it. But here’s the thing – a bride’s speech totally ROCKS a wedding and it may just be the coolest thing you can add to your day. Here’s why…

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It’s still unusual

Only one in five brides give a speech meaning it’s unusual enough to surprise people, especially if you manage to keep it a secret until the day. It instantly creates a standout moment and, because you’ve written it yourself, it’s guaranteed to get guests more excited than the actual ‘I dos’. Your speech is one of the few things at your wedding that won’t have been on another bride’s Pinterest.

You get to have your say

Why should your husband speak ‘on behalf’ of you unless he’s helping you into a taxi after a night out and you’re feeling ‘tired and emotional’? Giving a speech means you get to say what you want, how you want. There’s no traditional etiquette to follow so a bride’s speech is the Burger King of speeches – you can decide if it’s cheesy, spicy or simply delicious.

It means you can relax

We all know the bride is the star of the day. You are the Taylor Swift of the marquee and everyone wants a piece of you. Giving a speech means you can address everyone in one audible hit and chill out later. It means you can avoid the ‘thank-you-for-coming’ marathon that can so easily swallow up a bride’s evening and it allows you to get on with the more important job of negotiating a shiny dance floor in remarkably high heels.

Your husband will love it

Of course he will. You’ve taken a bit of pressure off him and spilt the thank you list. You’ve stood up in front of his mates and got them all giggling. You’ve just reminded him why months of table planning and colour scheme debates have been well and truly worth it.

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Here’s a little secret. Giving a speech is fun. Remember this is one of the few chances in life where you get to shout about how lovely your husband is. Relish it.

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The guide

Speak to your fiancé

Before you get the laptop out, speak to your fiancé, decide who you both want to thank and divvy them up. You may want to thank both sets of parents individually but it makes more sense for you to thank the bridesmaids rather than the groom, for example. You may also want to discuss the main themes of each of your speeches to avoid repetition. Is one of you concentrating on your first date and the other talking about how you’ve learnt to live together? You don’t need to spoil the romance of the day by revealing absolutely everything, just the key areas. You also need to decide on the order of speakers. We recommend going early in the line-up so you can sit back, have some champers and enjoy the other speeches.

Work out a structure

  • A bride’s speech is totally free range. There’s no restrictions or rules to follow but you may find following a structure helpful…
  • Hello and thank everyone for coming. Make the guests feel special – remind them you wanted to share one of life’s good moments with your favourite people.
  • Pay special thanks to close friends and family. Be honest, be sincere and make sure you remember the in-laws.
  • Be lovely about your husband. Try to explain the million and one things that make him your perfect man. Tell your favourite stories about your time together, the silly ones and the sweet ones too.
  • Raise a toast. Why not? It’s a chance to sip the bubbly after all.

Keep it short

Short and sweet is what you’re aiming for. Try to keep it less than five minutes long, especially if the three traditional speakers are all giving speeches too. Remember what’s important. Your speech shouldn’t be a long list of thank yous, instead it should concentrate on the love story that united everyone in the room. Try to give an insight into why your relationship works, even if it is just a shared love of Game of Thrones and tolerance of each other’s music tastes.

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Resist the urge to show off

Be careful when you’re paying tribute to your husband that it doesn’t sound too smug-married. Be sure to leave that until your Golden Wedding Anniversary. Rather than talk about what a wonderful couple you are, talk about what a great bloke your husband is. Try not to use romantic clichés like ‘the one’ or ‘soulmate’ and instead look for ways to compliment your man in a genuine and unique way. One bride said she knew she’d met her future husband when she realised ‘he was the only person I could tolerate smelling after a weekend in Glastonbury’. Now that was strangely romantic.

Be funny

Be soppy, be romantic, be profound if you want, but try to be funny too. You don’t need to go into competition with the best man but we all love people who can laugh, especially at themselves. If you’re struggling to find anything funny to say, don’t be tempted to Google jokes or use speech templates. Just think of the most ridiculous things you’ve worried about in the run up to the wedding. Surely that will supply some material.

Write a toast

There’s no traditional toast for a bride’s speech so you can decide who you want to toast. Your wonderful guests, your gorgeous groom or maybe even your parents who prove couples can still enjoy dancing together after 35 years of marriage.

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And finally, deliver your speech!

Gulp! A few bits of advice:

  • Use notes – no matter how much you rehearse your speech it’s good to have the safety of printed notes when you’re faced with an audience of people staring at you. As long as you give good eye contact it’s absolutely fine to use cue cards on the day.
  • Make sure people can hear you – order a microphone in advance if you need to.
  • Have a glass of champagne – but no more than one.
  • Try not to cry – but don’t feel embarrassed by a tear or two.
  • Feel free to hug your man – he’s your husband after all.

For more fabulous information visit Speechy!

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