So you want to write a funny wedding speech? Well that’s a start.
Speechy firmly believes all wedding speeches should be funny. Yes they can be sentimental and sweet but they’ve got to be funny too.
Of course, writing a funny speech isn’t about Googling gags (bet you’ve already seen some stinkers). It’s actually about looking inwards rather than out there. It’s about looking at the characters at the Top Table and playing with the personalities of the newlyweds.
If that sounds a bit like hard work, don’t worry, we have the Cheat’s Guide to Crafting Comedy below. Be warned though, it may result in the grans weeing their knickers.
First Things First - Recognising a joke
The definition of a joke is ‘a thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter.’ This means your jokes shouldn’t make your guests groan. People don’t want to hear internet gags or wedding clichés (and if they do, they can buy a Jim Davidson DVD).
People love observational humour and that’s what guests want to hear at a wedding. They want an honest insight into how the newlyweds tick.
Between the two of them, we bet there’s plenty of quirky habits, eccentricities and general madness to exploit.
How to Write A Funny Wedding Speech
STEP 1 - SELECT YOUR TARGET
Whatever role you have – groom, father of the bride, best man, whatever – you have to find a comedy target.
The groom’s focus could be himself, his bride or he could set up the notion of a traditional double act (straight bride vs daft husband). A father of the bride might choose his ‘drama queen daughter’, the ‘hard-done father’ or the ‘dubious groom’ as the focus of his humour. You get the idea.
Once the target is selected, think about their standout qualities; the characteristics that define them. Is it their obsession with the gym, their bossiness, their lack of hair?
Turn your target into a comedy character. Think about the classic sitcom characters – Basil Fawlty (the hotel owner who didn’t like tourists), Doc Martin (the doctor who was scared of blood), Del Boy (the hapless businessman). Exaggerate your target’s qualities and push their weaknesses to the extreme.
STEP 2 - CRAFT YOUR COMEDY
There’s loads of ways of finding a laugh…
- Play with contrasts – is the bride obsessively tidy while the groom can’t change the hoover bag? Does the bride balk at Primark prices and the groom spends like a Kardashian? Couple contrasts always generates good material.
- Tell us something we don’t know – Do you know a secret about the bride or the groom? Nothing downright embarrassing but if the bride used to fancy Ed Milliband or the groom won a Butlins Talent Contest as a teenager (his twerking was genuinely amazing!) then now might be the time to mention it.
- Exaggerate – if the bride or groom have a reputation for something, then have a laugh with it. Is the groom pretty rubbish at golf? Fair to say then that ‘the only hole in one he’ll get is in his Primark boxers’. If the bride loves her spinning class you could say ‘her legs have done more rotations than the best man’s head when the bridesmaids walked in’. You get the idea.
- Be the butt of the joke – Yes even if you have another comedy target, make sure you laugh at yourself too! People immediately like you more if you do.
STEP 3 - PACE YOUR LAUGHS
People relax once you’ve made them laugh so try to script a funny line within the first 20 seconds.
A good opener is something like ‘Can you believe it? (The Bride) has finally given up holding out for Ryan Gosling and decided a kebab-munching, golf-obsessed Project Manager from Basingstoke is a better option instead.’ It’s simple but it’s original.
Of course, the opening is just the first hurdle. Your speech needs to be peppered with humour throughout.
Funny Wedding Speech - Do's & Don'ts
- Ask friends and family for stories – It’s not cheating, it’s research
- Start writing early – ideas will keep popping in your head once you get going
- Cut your first draft in half – having three average jokes does not add up to one big laugh
- Read it out loud – you’ll work out your pacing and hear what works and what doesn’t
- Get advice – Read it to a trusted mate. If you have to explain a joke it ain’t working
- Feel you need to include every random funny anecdote in the speech – some just won’t add to the overall story you’re telling
- Resort to Googling jokes – if you found that quip then others will have too
- Be rude, overly embarrassing or go further than innuendo – never appropriate even if you know the ‘rugby boys’ would love it
- Include ‘in jokes’ – your humour needs to be inclusive
- Forget to leave room for the laughs on the day – don’t spend months worrying about the speech and then swallow up the laughter by delivering your speech too quickly
- Panic – either have a glass of vino & chill out or let us slog our guts out on your behalf.