1. Have the best man or groom print old photos on to A4 and tape them under some of the seats, then ask key guests to unpeel their pictures and hold them up at funny or poignant moments in his tale.
2. Ask your mum-in-law for your man’s old school reports to read out funny comments in light of your new life together, i.e. ‘must try harder in domestic science…’, ‘shows an aptitude for painting…’ or ‘needs to work on his figures…’
Read more: Wedding speeches – everything you need to know
3. Pre-record a few bars from songs that have romantic meanings to you as a couple (your first date, dance, kiss) and tell your story through music.
4. If your dad is nervous, suggest an emotional prop to give him a distraction. Any father of the bride who holds up a copy of My First Fairytale to remember his baby girl is guaranteed a chorus of ‘awwws’.
5. Suggest the best man share the limelight with groomsmen by calling on different friends around the room to suddenly stand up and tell the next bit of a funny story.
6. Ask friends or family who couldn’t attend the wedding to record short messages – anything from jokes to memories to sentimental wishes for the two of you – then edit together the best bits into a video collage to play as a bonus toast.
7. Play around with the traditional wedding running order so that speeches become the welcome or a surprise component of the pre-reception drinks. Also consider splitting them up so they break up the evening rather than following one after the other and losing your guests’ attention.
8. Let the girls in on the action. You, your mum and your maids can bring the house down with sweet memories, tears or raucous laughter to rival the guys.
9. Play to your bridal party’s strengths: if dad or groom isn’t a confident speaker, let them off the hook with a quick raising of a glass, then nominate someone more comfortable in the limelight (an uncle, usher or old friend, perhaps) to step in.
10. At a loss for embarrassing anecdotes about a goody-two-shoes groom? His best ‘mates’ could always create a This Is Your Life spoof using film clips or fancy dress re-enactments to take the mickey out of his royal excellency (think the birth of Simba in The Lion King).