Take their breath away
Firstly, can we just say: don’t panic. Yes, writing the most important thing you’ll ever have to say in public is pretty scary. Terrifying even.
But what you have to remember is that it’s an opportunity to say some seriously heartfelt things after a year of planning, saving and having most of your conversations revolve around table settings. (Oh the politics, the politics!)
With all the wedding prep, the stag festivities and the million-and-one things to do in the lead up to the Big Day, it’s rare you get a chance to sit down and tell your bride how much they mean to you.
So the speech is a moment to take stock and let everyone in the room know how much you appreciate them. Don’t worry – with our few choice tips – and a nip of whiskey – you’ll nail it.
Time/ Length of Speech
Guessing the length of the speeches has become as integral a part of the wedding as the ceremony. This is why it’s good to be prepared.
No, you don’t need to learn the speech by rote, but you do need to have some sort of rehearsal that is timed so you don’t go waaaaay over the mark.
You know everybody in the room will be making bets, let them be making bets for the right reasons. A few run-throughs in your head, timed with a stopwatch and you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache.
Actual time recommendations? Can you put a limit on love? Yes. Fifteen minutes if you’re really bricking it, 30 minutes if you’re an effusive type. After the 30 minutes, you’re going to screw up the rest of the speeches.
Funny. But not too funny. We’re talking light-hearted reminiscing– not calling out trigger issues or anything too blue, too revealing, too personal, too dry, too cerebral. Easy, breezy anecdotes that lovingly recall a memory or person or trait.
Not a character assassination for the laughs,or a comic re-telling of the time you landed in jail, or how much you dislike your mother-in-law. Nothing too close to the line. And if that’s how you roll, maybe consider a straight-style speech and leave the stand-up act for another time.
The thanks are important – the best man will thank the bridesmaids. The groom thanks the parents, but also the bridesmaids, his best man and groomsmen.
Don’t waste precious time by calling out every single thank you. Get through these quickly, so you can turn your attention to: The Bride.
Most importantly, you thank the bride – it’s a love letter to your wife, your future partner and the bulk of this speech is thanking her for actually agreeing to put up with you.
This part has to be soppy and meaningful and heartfelt and poignant and if you nail all that, then you can throw in a few chuckles...And don’t cut into your time thanking your bride with anecdotes about your best mate – it’s not the time.
This sounds obvious – don’t drink before the speeches – but you would be surprised how many “nips” of whiskey it can take to knock down a groom.
A groom who, most likely, has very little in his belly, has ran a marathon of errands that morning, and possibly was on a detox the month before the wedding.
Of course, a few sips here and there are obligatory – part of the ritual. But just keep an eye on them. Slurring the speech is not a good look.
Are you going with social media or not? If it’s a no-go, the speech is a good opportunity to remind your guests not to post – the most sensitive way to state this is that the bride and groom would like to be responsible for posting the first picture of themselves.
If you’re all ABOUT that social media, the speech is a reminder to use the hash tag!
Don’t wing it. Just don’t do it. It’s absolutely not worth it. No matter how gifted a public speaker you are or how much you can nail a work pitch, the wedding speech is an entirely different beast altogether.
You would be surprised how wedding jitters can take the most confident guy by surprise and reduce you to a quivering wreck in the blink of an eye.
You do not need to be running around like a headless chicken, the morning of the wedding, trying to recall romantic moments and pitch-perfect anecdotes.
In the month leading up to the wedding, take a few moments once or twice a week to jot down some thoughts and ideas somewhere safe.
Let them percolate until a speech starts to form and in the last week before the wedding, put them into a concrete structure and practice timing. And once you’re under the 30 minute mark, get up there, give it socks and don’t forget to smile.