As a groom, making your speech can be one of the most daunting parts of the wedding planning journey. There is a lot to consider including the length of the speech, the structure and who to thank. With this in mind, we spoke to Adrian Simpson from All Speeches Great and Small, to find out his thoughts.
Adrian explained how a good groom speech combines a number of elements "A great groom speech should be a really good dollop of entertainment and fun, whilst at the same time acknowledging what a very special moment this is. It’s your chance to stand up and acknowledge the people who have brought you to this point and of course to talk about the person you’ve been lucky enough to marry."
Image: The Studio Without Walls
You're probably wondering how you go about getting that perfect combination - luckily Adrian has shared his top tips for delivering an incredible speech.
Make it a warm and inclusive introduction but most importantly don’t forget to thank the father of the bride for the speech he’s just made, however, don’t be tempted to detail his financial contribution. A reference to his generosity should be sincere but in general terms.
Humour is the most important ingredient of any speech, and the groom's speech is no exception. There’s a lot of emotion on the big day and making people laugh with some wedding jokes or amusing stories is the best way to balance that out. Make them laugh and they’ll love you for it, and will listen to everything you have to say. If you simply make a dry procession of thanks, you’ll struggle to keep their attention.
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It can make or break a speech. Too short and people are going to be wondering why you bothered and your brand new wife will be wondering if she’s made the right decision. Too long and nobody will be listening. Keep it to a ‘stand up to sit down’ time of 10 minutes - that’s a talking time of around 8 minutes, and the rest will be taken up by laughter, applause and heckles.
There are potentially four toasts: a general one at the end, one to the bridesmaids, one to both sets of parents, and depending on family circumstance one to those no longer with us. Don’t make people stand for them; you’re looking to corrupt the flow of your speech as little as possible.
There are lots of people to talk about and you should deal with them one at a time and avoid repetition. So resist the urge to launch straight into how beautiful your new wife looks and then pepper the speech with references to her. She is the star of the show and the latter half of the speech should be a dedicated to her and what she means to you.
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Detail really slows a speech. A great speech demands the very least from the guests in order for them to enjoy it, so now is not the time to recount exactly how you know each of the ushers in real time. A good guide is to aim for a total word count of around 1350 words, if you’re edging well over that, then it’s time to strip out some of the content.
This is pretty much the only chance to thank them publicly for a job well done, and also to thank your new in laws for welcoming you into the family. Don’t fall into the trap of waxing lyrical about your new parents in law for several paragraphs and then dismissing your own parents in a sentence. They should both be given equal measure.
Image: Emma Hall Photography
There are enough people to acknowledge and thank without including the people and organisations you’ve paid handsomely to help create the perfect wedding. So, my advice is to keep the acknowledgments to the friends and family who mean the most to you.
The aim of the game is keep everyone’s attention and never give them an excuse to talk amongst themselves and allow their focus to divert from you. Inviting bridesmaids and ushers etc. to the top table to receive gifts offers precisely that opportunity. So instead I always suggest presenting them in a private moment on the morning of the wedding. It’s more personal and avoids those lengthy interludes in a groom’s speech.
You don’t need to list the amazing places you’ve been, the holidays you’ve enjoyed or indeed the website address of her start up business. This is the opportunity to let everyone know what makes her special and why you love her so much. So tell us in a natural and meaningful way – having a few funny lines is always a good idea as it can break up the more profound sentiment and let things breathe a little.
Image: LC World Photography & Videography
Tradition says that you should end on a toast to the bridesmaids and a little aside to the best man. I’ve never found that this works – in my opinion the focus of the speech should be exclusively on the bride, that’s why I suggest toasting the bridesmaids earlier in the speech and making the final words all about the bride. You should have talked about the best man earlier in the speech but there’s no harm in having quick one liner referencing him at the end but make sure it’s after the final toast.
Hopefully Adrian's advice has given you plenty of ideas for your speech but if you're still not feeling totally confident, make sure you read our guide to overcoming wedding speech nerves.