While wedding speeches can certainly be an emotional – and hilarious! – addition to the day, they can sometimes be seen as a bit of a drag by wedding guests.
For many, the traditional wedding speech set-up of the groom, father of the bride and best man can be old hat and overdone. In response to this, we’re seeing increasing numbers of bride speeches and maid of honour speeches, as well as speeches from loved ones that fit outside the usual trio.
While we reckon mixing it up with who gives your wedding speeches is a great place to start, we also think shaking up the content and delivery can really make your speeches stand out. To help you turn your wedding speeches from drab to fab, we chatted to Marc Blakewill, TV script writer, author and founder of All Write on the Night, who shared some alternative wedding speech ideas.
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1. Reverse the Timeline
Many speeches begin with telling the story of how they met their other half, but Marc advises switching up the old format and starting with the present day: “When telling your tale, why not reverse the arrow of time? Start from your wedding day, then travel back in time to the planning, the proposal then into your favourite stories about your fiancé(e) until the moment it all started - love at first sight or love at first swipe. This way you can really build expectation about what you first thought and felt when you met.”
2. Add Some Music
You know that feeling when a song comes on the radio and immediately takes you back to a specific time in your life? You can totally make that happen with your speech by incorporating some backing hits into your story: “Transport the guests to a moment in time with a few seconds of well-known music from the year of the story. Then set the scene with some headlines. 'Yes, it’s 2008. Barack Obama is elected US President, Madonna turns 50 and – biggest news of all - my daughter is cast in the school nativity play.' Then you’re straight into the story.”
3. Write a Spoof Song
Ok, so re-writing a popular hit to fit your narrative may seem daunting but Marc reckons it’s easier than it sounds as long as you don’t get carried away: “Take a well-known tune and change the lyrics to make it about the couple: how they met, how their love conquers toilet seat squabbles, etc. To get those endings sounding like the original, Rhyme Zone is a great resource.
“Do leave enough time for the rest of your speech though. The speech and song combined shouldn’t really go much over 10 minutes. So, maybe not Bohemian Rhapsody or Wagner’s Ring Cycle.”
4. Quiz the Bride or Groom
A fun way of including some funny anecdotes or character quirks of the bride or groom is by creating a quiz designed to bring out unexpected and hilarious answers!
“Include a quick-fire quiz round as the speech centrepiece. The bride or groom’s Chosen Specialised Subject can, naturally, be their life and times. Mix up the difficulty of the questions so they’re able to answer some and you can give them the embarrassing answers to the others” says Marc.
READ MORE: 33 Genuinely Funny Best Man Speech Jokes
5. Create a Photobook
If the wedding budget allows, providing guests with a photobook to illustrate your speech is a great way of holding everyone’s attention and adding a visual element. This idea could work for any kind of speech, but Marc reckons it’s a great choice for a parent of the bride or groom.
“Introduce each section of your son's or daughter’s life with memorable photos in a photobook (a nice keepsake for the guests too). As you reach a new story, prompt the guests to flip to the relevant photo: 'We now turn the page to her teenage years…'.”
“To prevent early browsing, keep the photobooks hidden on or under the tables. You could also make a joke about not flicking ahead. 'We don’t want her to grow up too quickly.'”
6. Write a Fairy Tale Parody
Even if you think your love story is far from fairy tale material, this idea could work well for you. After all, the more non-traditional your story, the funnier the joke will be!
“One style that goes down well is the fairy tale. For example, you could describe the bride or groom in mock-heroic terms: how they won the hand of their beloved by overcoming unimaginable obstacles… such as battling the traffic on the A303 to be with them.”
7. Write a Mock CV
Marc suggests creating a mock CV speech set-up as a way to refresh the traditional best man speech format: “The setup is straightforward: the bride or groom has applied for the prestigious position of the husband or wife so let’s see how their CV stacks up. Each anecdote is then introduced by the sort of category or skill you’d see on a CV or profile.
“Let’s say the groom often falls asleep on the last train and misses his stop. The skill could be “Likes to travel” or “Always goes the extra mile”. One of his biggest gaffes could be introduced by “Strategic Planning”. And, of course, “Marital Status” leads you neatly into meeting his partner.”
8. Create a Police Charge Sheet
Another idea that works well for the best man is to create a charge sheet, highlighting the groom’s most embarrassing traits: “It’s your role as the best man to see if the groom is a fit and proper person to marry their other half. Of course, he’s not and it’s your job to tell everyone. You then relate all your stories but link each one to a “crime”.
Here are some examples:
- Does he always dodge his round? No intent to supply
- Is he rubbish at organising flights? Booking without due care and attention.
- Is he a bad singer? Assaulting an audience’s ears while in possession of a microphone.”
Struggling with where to begin? Check out these wedding speech introduction examples.