1 – CUT THE CRAP
Hmm, not very romantic but let’s face it, there’s a lot of waffle in your average groom speech. Old fashioned etiquette is partly to blame for making so many speeches generic and boring – so save yourself a job; ignore all the etiquette guides you may feel compelled to look at.
The only people you need to thank is
- everyone for coming
- both sets of parents
- the entourage (best men, ushers, bridesmaids etc)
- any special people like children or grandfolk
Don’t get sucked into thanking specific people who’ve travelled far or anyone you’ve paid (like the caterers or the venue). A long thank you list turns a good speech bad.
Don’t give out gifts during the speech. It will interrupt your flow and it’s dull for guests to sit through if they’re not one of the lucky few getting a gift. Deliver any gifts personally earlier in the day.
The only other big ‘to do’ is consider a toast to the dearly departed. Read our guide to raising a toast to absent loved ones if this is something you want to do.
2 – START BY MAKING PEOPLE SMILE
Don’t go overly formal or feel you need to address your friends and family as ‘ladies and gentleman’ just because you’re wearing a fancy suit.
Prioritise humour at the top of your speech and get people smiling ASAP. You’ll relax as soon as they do.
Having said that, don’t resort to generic wedding gags. Remember the adage ‘it’s funny because it’s true’. Have fun with the reality of the day and the people there… for example
‘We’re so pleased you could join us on this rather special day. It took a lot of planning, negotiation and a few tears… but we finally found someone who was willing to sit beside (best man).’
‘Can you believe it? (Bride) has finally given up her dream of marrying Ryan Gosling and realised a short, follicly-challenged Project Manager from Aberdeen is the man for her!’
Your opening lines don’t need to illicit a belly-laugh but they do need to make people smile.
Check out our Funny Guide for more tips on how to nail the humour in your speech.
3 – PROVE, DON’T TELL
Make sure your groom speech stands out from the usual fodder and your marriage will get off to a great start.
A heart-warming tribute to your bride should be the focus of your speech but remember every groom thinks his bride is gorgeous, kind and generally amaaaazing.
The only way for your compliments to sound genuine is – prove, don’t tell.
Stories say more than words. Recount the anecdotes that show your bride’s qualities in action.
- Don’t just say she’s ditsy. Tell everyone about the time she called the police to report her car stolen only to discover she parked it somewhere different.
- Prove she’s kind, by naming all the stray cats you now house.
- And show how talented she is by retrieving her ‘Butlins-Beatboxing’ medal from the attic.
You get the idea…
4 – NAIL THE ROMANCE WITHOUT BEING CHEESY
It’s hard to express how much you love someone without resorting to cheesiness and meaningless Insta sentiments. ‘The love of your life’ and ‘the one’ are phrases that have been overused and should be avoided at all costs.
What brides want to hear from your speech is that you’ve noticed, and appreciate, all the unique things that make her special to you. A great groom speech hack is simply to list them ala Harry Met Sally i.e.
“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve..’ I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
Harry’s epic declaration of love is simple but incredibly effective.
The only thing we recommend is substituting ‘love’ for ‘like’. It’s counter-intuitive but somehow it makes what you’re saying sound more genuine and romantic as a result.
5 – FIND A KILLER QUOTE
The ultimate hack. Totally a cheat’s game but a legitimate one.
As long as you acknowledge the author of a quote then it’s not plagiarism and you still get to benefit from their wit, insight and poetic words. Whether it’s Homer or Homer Simpson, a clever quote can nail the sentiment you’re after.
Of course, try to think of people or lyrics who naturally mean something to you as a couple – Beyonce to Maya Angelou, Winne the Pooh to Jerry Seinfeld, Noel Gallagher to Voltaire – take your pick.
We’ve compiled the Best Quotes for Grooms for you to check out.
Romantic, funny and quirky quotes to choose from. And none of the usual suspects.
6 – MAKE A PROMISE
Yes, you’ve said your vows but what does getting hitched mean on a practical level? What promise can you make your bride which will show her she married the right bloke?
Can you promise to turn up the heating? Listen to Justin Bieber? Make her favourite eton mess once a week? Learn to put up a tent?
Whatever it is, make it something that only she would really appreciate and it’s guaranteed to provide a memorable finale to your speech.
The only tricky bit? You’ve got to stick to the promise.
7 – GET YOUR MRS INVOLVED
Ok – this is the ultimate cheat. But it makes sense too!
There’s a big trend this year for Mr & Mrs Speeches (where the bride and groom deliver a joint speech). It’s also a lot of fun, adding a real moment to the day.
Of course, a bride doesn’t have to do anything on her wedding day that she doesn’t fancy but suggest it to her. It means she gets to personally thank her friends & family and it also allows you to develop your double-act routine.
For advice on how to write a joint speech, check out the joint speech guide. The good news is it involves wine!
8 – KEEP IT SHORT
Write your first draft, then cut it in half.
As Ernest Hemingway said ‘The first draft of everything is shit’.
The maximum wordcount for a groom speech is 1300 words but there’s nothing wrong with a speech that’s 800 words.
Stories and jokes are better if they’re punchy.
No one ever listened to a speech and said ‘if only it was longer’.
Here’s a great little app to Estimate your Duration.
9 – PREPARE TO DELIVER
A great speech can be ruined by poor delivery so make sure you nail it like a pro.
Check the acoustics of the venue & hire a mic if necessary (so many speeches are ruined simply because the guests can’t hear them).
Try to memorise the speech but don’t be afraid to use notes on the day (your brain will be scrambled).
Talk slower than feel natural (makes you immediately sound more confident) & leave pauses for laughter (sometimes people need a moment to ‘get it’).
The simplest hack is to smile (scientifically proven to be infectious) and laugh at your own jokes (again, laughter breeds laughter).
Avoid alcohol before the speech. As much as we love the stuff (we so do), the idea of Dutch courage is a complete myth. Booze has been proven to increase the stress hormone.
Finally, try to enjoy delivering your speech on the day. Remember you survived the stag do. You’ve got this.
10 – CONSIDER THE ‘SILVER BULLET’
Supposedly there’s no silver bullet when it comes to writing your groom speech. Well, this used to be the case.
Probably the best hack for those grooms with a looming deadline…take inspiration from our American counterparts who increasingly view wedding speech services as a savvy investment.
Sure, all blokes want to deliver an original, honest and heart-warming speech but not all of us are natural writers. Speechwriters are there to help bring out the eloquent genius lurking inside every groom.
And there’s plenty of ways they can help. Speechy have developed a groom speech template that’s a bit different to the norm. It relies on your input so takes a bit of thought, but it results in a unique speech that still sounds like ‘you’ (only a bit wittier).
Speechy is staffed by a team of ex-BBC scriptwriters so you can also hire them to edit your speech or you can commission them to write your own bespoke speech from scratch. We’re essentially wordsmiths for hire.
Find out more about how we work…