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. Guests love seeing a couple in action and hearing both sides of the story. 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 together 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 bride and groom speech became more meaningful than the ‘I dos’ (though we’re pretty confident our speeches don’t impact your tax status).
Of course a joint speech is a tricky thing to pull off. That’s why the Speechy team have put together the ultimate guide to rocking it.
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 saying you’ll be ‘personally handing them out later’ 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
Right this needs to be fun. Get a bottle of wine, a big sheet of paper and collectively 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.
Then block out the main sections of your speech. For example
- Hello and Welcome
- How it all began
- What we learnt about each other
- Relationship crisis point! (Cue the dog)
- The Happily Ever starts here
- Thank yous
Depending on your relationship dynamic is may make sense for one of you to write the first draft and the other to improve upon it, rather than attempting to write your bride and groom speech together. The basic principle is you should divide the speech so you each have small sections to deliver (4 – 8 sentences) and alternate throughout. It should be relatively obvious who delivers what.
Like all good comedy duos you can 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.
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.
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).
Toast something meaningful – 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.
Joint Speech Help
Speechy is here to help couples in need. As professional TV scriptwriters we’re programmed to entertain and get the best out of people. We sweat the hard stuff so you don’t have to.