How to nail your joint speech
Whether it’s a bride and groom speech or a same sex speech – joint speeches are a wedding trend that’s set to stay. It’s a great way of saying, BOOM, we’re a team. And who doesn’t love a double act?
It also makes a lot of sense – you both get to thank your friends and family, and you can practise without feeling the need to hide away in a cupboard.
Lots of our clients have said their joint speech became the epicentre of their wedding day. One even said their speech became more meaningful than the ‘I dos’ (though we’re pretty confident it didn’t impact their tax status).
Of course a joint speech is a tricky thing to pull off. That’s why the BBC trained Speechy team (find out about their TV credits here) have put together the ultimate guide to rocking it.
*If you feel the need for a bit more hand holding, check out our bespoke joint speech service and find out how you can work with a TV scriptwriter to craft your dream speech.
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Joint speech etiquette
A joint speech follows the same etiquette principles as a groom speech. You’ll want to thank
- everyone for coming
- both sets of parents
- the best man & ushers
- the maid of honour & bridesmaids
Of course there may be others you want to mention (children from previous relationships?) but resist the urge to read out half the guest list. Nothing kills off a speech quicker than a tedious thank you list, esp if you’re one of the few guests who doesn’t get a mention.
With each of the thanks, one of you should lead it and the other throw in a comedy line at the end. Of course with the parents it’s worth you both paying a tribute to each (always good to keep on the right side of the in-laws)
If you’re planning on giving thank you gifts to any of the wedding party we recommend giving them personally earlier in the day so the process doesn’t disrupt the flow of your speech and the guests aren’t tempted to start checking their whatsapp messages. Joint speeches are complicated enough without factoring in presents too.
How to write your joint speech
STEP 1 – Gather your material
Right this needs to be fun. Get a bottle of wine, a big sheet of paper and have, what they referred to in the 90’s as, a ‘brainstorm’. Think about…
- Your stories – conduct a courtship autopsy and see what you have to play with. Think about the big events; meeting each other, your first date, when you knew they were ‘the one’. We’re not looking for the soppy stories, we’re looking for the stories that show you’re both as bonkers as each other.
- Themes – how would people describe you as a couple? Are there any common bonds or are there clear differences? Play up to your relationship dynamic. This is how you will make your speech funny and help create a narrative.
- The Thank Yous – Get them agreed (remembering the ruthless rule) and decide who does who (sorta speak).
Step 2 – Block out the main sections of your speech
Let’s say you both happen to be teachers, your theme might be ‘the lessons you’ve learnt from each other’. Your structure might look something like this…
- Hello and Welcome
- Thank everyone for coming – and set up the theme e.g. ‘two teachers getting married today…bet you’re wondering who gets detention first…’
- Lesson 1 – What not to say on the first date (anecdote about weeing himself / big fan of Kardashians etc)
- Lesson 2 – How love makes you do stupid things (example of losing car etc)
- Lesson 3 – How to share a house with someone very different (ping pong table does not count as furniture)
- Lesson 4 – How grown adults should not compete for a dog’s love
- Lesson 5 – We really rather like each other (secret sections where we say why)
- The Thank Yous
Step 3 – Get Writing
Yep, this is the hard bit, and may or may not prove to be your toughest relationship challenge to date. You thought table planning was tricky?! Nothing compared to writing a joint speech together.
So our advice? Avoid it!
Yes we suggest one of you write the first draft and the other one improves it. Even this will require some negotiation but at least you won’t be debating words as you write.
The basic principle is you should divide the speech so you each have small sections to deliver (2 – 6 sentences) and alternate throughout. You want to establish a clear flow and support each other’s narrative… e.g.
- GROOM – Yes it was a surprise finding out we were going to have baby. Neither of us had changed a nappy in our lives. Neither of us had a clue about the variety of goo that can lurk in those things or the challenges that lay ahead. We’d never watched a minute of Nickelodeon, let along three hours of it back to back.
- BRIDE – We had absolutely no idea. We couldn’t have imagined a time when being up at two am didn’t involve drinking beer and passing out under someone’s table.
- GROOM– And we could never have imagined the tantrums that can result in daring to feed a toddler with the wrong coloured spoon.
- BRIDE – But of course the one thing that we had absolutely no idea about was how… absolutely amazing having XXX would be.
Like all good comedy duos you need to work together so each of you can deliver comedy ‘ad libs’. Of course if your relationship dynamic lends itself, one of you can play the straight man and the other the fall guy. It’s up to you to play with what you got.
Joint Speech - Do's and Don'ts
Keep the joint speech a surprise – Guests will love it
Make the thanks yous meaningful – Don’t just talk about what people have contributed to the wedding, thank them for what they’ve contributed to your life (even if it is just an appreciation on malt whiskeys).
Make the toast unique – even if it’s just ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’.
Talk slower than feels natural – It’s what those authoritative people do to make themselves seem more intelligent
Thank the caterers, the venue, people who have travelled far etc – It’s unnecessary.
Resort to clichés – Yes you can thank your in-laws for ‘raising such a wonderful daughter’ but try to make it personal too. Thank your mother in law for the extra inch added to your waistline since you first sampled her Yorkshire Puddings.
Talk over laughter -You’ve worked hard for those laughs – don’t rush them. Always wait until your guests have settled down before continuing with your speech.
Interact – Smile, roll your eyes, look at each other; remember you’re a double act
The 5 rules to writing a great joint speech
Rule 1 Keep Something Back
Have a bit at towards the end of the speech that allows you both to say something rather lovely that the other one hasn’t heard before. We don’t want to miss out on that moment where we’re genuinely touched by what the other has to say.
Rule 2 Don't Get Too Soppy
Giving a joint speech already tells us a lot. You guys really like each other and you get on so well you can negotiate speech-writing together. Don’t then, bleat on about how much you love each other too much. You might make the singletons cry.
Rule 3 Be Funny
Of course being funny isn’t about finding good jokes on the internet (if only it was that easy) but rather making witty observations about your relationship. This involves nailing each other’s individual characteristics and exaggerating them for maximum effect.
Rule 4 Less in More
Just because there’s two of you it doesn’t mean you should talk for longer. You’re aiming for about ten minutes for a joint speech (or less). Remember no one ever said ‘if only it was longer’. Once you write your first draft, edit it down to half the length. We promise it will make it a hundred times stronger.
Rule 5 Prepare to Deliver
You need to practise A LOT to deliver a joint speech confidently – especially if there’s ‘ad libs’ to interject. Check the acoustics of the venue and get a mic if necessary. Also, remember to smile. It’s scientifically proven to be infectious and those scientists know stuff.
A Bit About Speechy
The Speechy team includes James, Heidi, Roger and Claire. Between us, we’ve been included in the Edinburgh TV Festival’s ‘Ones to Watch’ and featured in the BBC Hotlist. During our telly careers, we’ve worked with people such as Richard Hammond, Sharon Osbourne, Dan Snow, David Mitchell and Mel Geidroyc. Get us!
Of course, we love helping people write amazing speeches (our favourite are the joint speeches!) and we still get excited when our clients tell us we’ve added a special moment to their day.
We’d love to help you create a lifelong memory!
Your Joint Speech - Let Us Help You!
Speechy is here to help couples in need. As professional TV scriptwriters we’re programmed to entertain and get the best out of people.
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