It’s the day you’ve been waiting for all your life. You’ve married your beautiful bride, tucked into the delicious food, and now all that is left to do is relax before the evening reception. Wait, don’t forget about your speech!
For many of us, speaking in front of a room full of people is probably pretty nerve wracking. After the act of actually getting married, giving the Groom speech is probably the second most nerve-wracking thing every man has to face on his wedding day, and it’s easy to see why.
To help you out, we’ve talked to some industry professionals to get their expert advice. Below, we have outlined everything you need to mention in order to make your speech a hit.
Thank your guests
Coming to a wedding is a big expense for everyone involved. Your guests pay for a good amount of petrol (or even flights), a hotel room, and your gift. Therefore, it is important you make sure they know they’re appreciated.
The first way you can do this in your speech is by thanking them. On the other hand, if you make your whole speech relatively short, they can get on with drinking and dancing. Trust me, everyone will appreciate this!
Toast absent friends
Toast to those who couldn’t make it, as well as those who are no longer alive. All guests should be thanked, even ones who are not there. Don’t be afraid to show your sensitive side here. It’s a nice touch and it will definitely be appreciated.
Big up your best man and your ushers
Your best man has been with you every step of the way with this wedding, so thank him for this. Don’t forget your ushers, either. Your boys have done you a big favour by playing a part in your wedding day (even if all they did was roll out of bed and put on a nice suit), so don’t be afraid inject a little bromance in your speech.
And, of course, make some jokes at their expense. After mentioning deceased friends and relatives, this is a good time to lighten the mood. Furthermore, your best man probably mentioned some embarrassing anecdotes about you in his speech, so get him back!
Just remember this speech isn’t all about you and your mates
“But please do this briefly,” says Seb of Great Speech Writing. “One regular complaint from wedding guests is that they came to listen to stories about the bride and groom, not the groom and his best man. Don’t forget who you are marrying and why you have asked people to come and celebrate.”
Don’t forget everyone else. Tradition dictates you mention the bridesmaids and flower girls as well. They played a massive role in the day and have likely also acted as important support for your new wife. Especially if your wife isn’t speaking, make sure they know they are appreciated.
Others who have lent a helping hand
This is not school speech day; however, you should still acknowledge those who’ve made your day the wonderful occasion it’s been. For example, consider the person who set you up with your spouse, or the venue manager. If you haven’t given them a nod yet, do so here.
Be careful of rattling off a list like an Oscars speech, though. “It is important to thank those people who have helped you on the way to this special day but there is always a risk of simply standing there and reading a list of people to whom you wish to show your appreciation,” says Kevin of Speeches For You.
Seb of Great Speech Writing agrees. “You don’t want you speech to become a long list of thank yous,” he points out. So just keep it to the really vital people. Everyone else can get a thank you note.
Your new in-laws and your own parents
This is your moment to gain some serious credit with your new wife’s parents, so don’t throw it away. Thank them for all they’ve done. If they paid for the wedding, sing their praises to the rafters. Thank them for raising the woman of your dreams and for accepting you into the family. And, even if they haven’t quite accepted you yet, that doesn’t matter right now! Get your now legally-binding relationship with them off to the right start nevertheless and make them feel appreciated.
When it comes to your mum and dad, only you know what to say. They raised you and, hopefully, have supported you through good times and bad, so make sure they feel the love.
Last, but absolutely never least, your new wife is the star of the show on your wedding day. Therefore, make sure the longest and most heartfelt part of your speech is all about her. It’s cliché, yes, but if you don’t mention how beautiful she is, how lucky you are, and how you’re punching well above your weight with her, you won’t have done your job with your speech.
Then, talk about your relationship in as genuine and real a way as you can muster. If you both have a good sense of humour and you like joking around, let that come through here. But, nothing is worse than a groom who spends his speech reciting bad one-liners he found on the internet.
If you do tell some jokes or a funny story about your new wife, think hard about what tales to go for. Some jokes are best left just between you two. That being said, a couple of funny and endearing stories can go a long way.
Make your speech memorable for all the right reasons
It’s up to you to break the ice, but keep it simple
“Weddings always have a large mix of people and not many know one another,” Kevin of Speeches for You says. “You and your wife will probably be the only people who know everyone in the room. Including some shared memories will have guests talking to each other after the meal and will make for a much more pleasant atmosphere in the evening.”
Maybe you’re the type of guy who doesn’t really wear his heart on his sleeve, and for whom saying a lot of cheesy, lovey things during your speech would feel alien. In that case, don’t force it. It’ll feel and look awkward and disingenuous.
Bear in mind that the most important thing during this part of your speech is to stay true to yourself and to represent your relationship honestly and with love, and no one can dictate to you how to do that.
Other things to bear in mind
This part of your day doesn’t have to be scary if you don’t let it be. As long as you’ve written a speech that is authentic to you and your relationship, you really can’t go wrong. Be as funny or as serious as you typically are in your everyday life; forcing either one will make for a boring or robotic speech that will be forgettable or even embarrassing.
Timing is key
When it comes to timing, try to keep it to 5-10 minutes. According to Seb, as much as your guests love that you’re happy and in love, they’re mainly there to party. And, before you think that’s untrue or harsh, remember the last time you sat through speeches at a wedding. As for the toasts, keep it down to two; one to the bridesmaids and one to your new wife. Any more than that and your speech could turn into a drinking game.
And if you are left totally blank? “Just remember to thank the parents, the best man for his help, and the guests for coming, and say how beautiful your wife is,” Seb says. That’ll guarantee you say what needs to be said with as little drama as possible!
So, go ahead and write an amazing speech (or ask for help from Seb or Kevin). Wow your guests and, more importantly, your new spouse. We also have speech writing advice for the Father of the Bride and the Best Man. Good luck.