Writing your wedding speech is an important part of the wedding planning process. Whether you’re the groom, father of the bride, best man or a bride who wants to say a few words, it can be hard to know where to start.
Perhaps you’ve got so much to include that you’re not sure how to fit it all in or where to begin. Maybe you’ve got the opposite problem and can’t think of anything to say! Planning is key, even for the most confident public speaker who loves an audience. We spoke to some speechwriting experts to get their advice on writing the perfect wedding speech.
Image: Leslie Choucard Photography
We all know the old saying ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ and that is certainly the case when it comes to your speech. Adam Cockering from Adaptable Speechwriting suggests you start by making some notes:
“Prepare your thoughts first. Split each area of the speech into sections and brainstorm each part. For example, if a father of the bride wants to describe an endearing feature of his daughter, start with the feature and think of everything you can say about it and jot it down.”
This also helps in keeping it concise. You may have a lot you want to say but Adam says you don’t want your audience to get restless:
“The longest part is making it short! It can be the best speech in the word but if your message has lost engagement due to its length, you may as well have said nothing!”
Consider Your Audience
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Chris Dance is a professional speechwriter and says it’s really important to think about your audience:
“You might be the funniest person in the pub every night, but the things that make your mates roar may well send elderly relatives rushing to phone a taxi. It’s highly likely you won’t have met a lot of the guests before, so unless you’re being best man to Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown and the wedding guests are all from his fan club, try to steer clear of sensitive subjects. Smut, filth and politics should be avoided wherever possible. Particularly Brexit. Don’t mention Brexit.”
If in doubt, always leave it out or run it by someone else to see what they think. Make sure you ask someone trust-worthy, we're thinking a sensible bridesmaid, rather than the guy from the stag do that lost his passport!
Image: Damian Burcher Photography
Whether it’s a father of bride sharing a funny tale about his daughter as a child or the best man telling embarrassing stories about the groom, everyone will be waiting for the jokes! You may find the old stories hilarious but how can you make sure that you get some laughs from the wedding guests?
Chris says jokes needs to be original and honest:
“Try to resist the temptation to scour the internet for jokes. That’s fine for a bit of inspiration, but if you lift a joke straight from Google, it’ll have been used thousands of times before and heard by millions – including half your audience. They’re much less likely to laugh if they heard all of your jokes at another wedding last month.”
It can be tempting to share private jokes but they don’t always go down well as Chris explains:
“Try to avoid in-jokes: while it may be part of your role to poke fun at a particular member of the wedding party, don’t do it in a way that alienates most of the room. If the groom’s parsnip phobia is really so crucial that it warrants a mention, tell everyone the story behind it; don’t just casually wave a parsnip about and leave a hundred people wondering why the blokes on the table at the front are wetting themselves.”
Make it Personal
Image: Heni Fourie Photography
Whilst it’s a good idea to pick up tips from the internet and take inspiration from other speeches you’ve heard, Adam believes you should ensure your speech is as honest as possible:
“Make it personal. Your guests have probably been to lots of weddings and may have heard your wedding jokes before. Be authentic. Practice it through after you've written it, does it come naturally to you? Would you engage with people that way outside of a wedding reception?”
Ask for Help
It’s totally fine if you don’t feel confident in your speechwriting ability – it’s very common for people to be nervous but there’s so much help available. We have an extensive collection of example wedding speeches which will give you plenty of ideas!
To get a sense of the sort of speeches you like and the style you may like to follow, spend some time exploring many of the weird and wonderful speeches on YouTube, maybe taking inspiration from some of the most popular celebrity wedding speeches.
Image: Sarah Elliott Photography
Finally consider enlisting some help in the form of a professional speechwriter. They can help put together a fantastic speech and fill you with confidence for the big day! We have some fantastic speechwriters in our suppliers directory.
Now you are armed with an amazing speech, make sure you stay as calm and relaxed for the delivery, with our article on How to Overcome Wedding Speech Nerves.