Speeches are hard enough to write, but a global pandemic on top of it? It’s tough.
Not only do you have to acknowledge the reality of the world we’re living in at the moment (and its impact on your wedding), but you also, somehow, have to do it in a way that’s hopeful, makes people smile and allows you to quickly move on to talking about love and the really juicy stuff.
Here’s how you can make the most of your lockdown experience in your wedding speech.
If you want to make this feel real and personal, then start by writing a list of all the things that characterised your (and your partner’s) lockdown experience. Big or small, get everything down. Endless Zoom quizzes. Boxset binges. Arguments over biscuits. Screaming obscenities at Joe Wicks. Putting your back out doing yoga with Adriene. Or, and we presume this is a universal experience, not wearing trousers for 12 solid weeks.
This list serves two purposes: it stops you staring hopelessly at a blank page by getting the ball rolling, and it’s a great starting point for material. This should get your creative juices flowing by forcing you to remember all the fun, and not so fun, experiences.
Now you’ve got your list of lockdown experiences, start categorising them. Split them into groups to see which stories fit together.
The aim of this task is to find consistent themes, so really, you can categorise them however you like: funny stories, arguments, sad moments, ways you entertained yourselves, Covid obstacles, acts of kindness.
This should give you stories and experiences that fit naturally together and, perhaps more importantly, you’ll have found the ones that seem to be odd outliers.
This allows your speech to be thematically consistent, which is a fancy way of saying ‘not a bonkers, rambling mess’.
You’ve got your stories, you’ve got them in groups, now it’s time to fit them into a structure. Now, you don’t need to be over-complicated, there’s no need to turn this into the wedding speech version of Inception.
Instead, stick to a simple movie-style structure like this:
SET UP Your life before Covid-19. Tell us about yourselves as a couple. Set the scene.
OBSTACLE When the pandemic hit, how did your lives change? What challenges did you face?
OVERCOME How did you both overcome these challenges? Was it simple, or was it littered with sourdough-based breakdowns, badly self-shaved heads and thoughts about making your partner live in the shed.
Then, at the end, a spinning top that signifies how life is merely a dream within a dream within a dream, and we are all stuck in the never-ending loop of distorted reality. Or not, up to you.
While undoubtedly the funny stuff in this speech will come from the variety of disasters, mishaps and issues you’ve faced, for the show-stopping, tear-jerking finale, you’ll want to end on a positive note.
Ask yourself what you’ve learnt from this process. Has it highlighted how much you value the company of friends and family? Has it shown you the strength and resilience of your relationship?
Has it shown you that you can find true happiness while curled up on the sofa, eating out of date Easter eggs and watching another repeat of ‘Joe Swash: I Believe in Ghosts’.
Us Brits aren’t well suited to being earnest, but now’s the time to give it a whirl. Tell everyone how much you care, and how their small acts of kindness helped you through. And once you’ve done that, move onto the final stage…
Bonus Tip: Pour yourself a large gin, whip your trousers off and go to town on a pack of chocolate HobNobs. You’ve earned it.