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The joint wedding speech: How to nail it

Here's some expert advice on doubling up on your speech for twice the impact - and half the stress.

The idea of best men doing joint speeches has been around for a while but couple speeches are now officially ‘a thing’. This is when the newlyweds team up to write and deliver a joint speech as a couple – instead of the traditional groom’s speech. So it would involve thanking everyone, their parents, the bridesmaids, best man, friends etc. as well as adding humorous anecdotes about each other and members of the wedding party.

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A joint speech will make your wedding more unique and show your personality as a couple without the formalities and high emotion of the ceremony itself. It should make for great wedding video content and give your guests a speech that’s far more memorable than the typical “my wife and I …”-type groom speech. And it particularly makes sense if you’ve already written your vows together!

Wedding speech toasting
Photo by Alasdair Elmes on Unsplash

For opposite-sex couples, it’s also a departure from the somewhat archaic tradition of the groom speaking on the bride’s ‘behalf’, she can thank her family and loved ones personally. Yes, you could each give separate speeches, but combining both also means people don’t have to sit through yet another speech, which can lead to guests – and their little ones – becoming restless (especially if you’re not serving dinner until afterwards!).

Also writing and rehearsing the speech together can be a fun distraction from all the logistics-led (and often political) ‘wedmin’ of table planning and who to invite to the reception versus evening do etc.

Fancy giving it a go? The award-winning comedy writers at Speechy have offered some advice how to write and deliver a joint speech so that it doubles the impact, not the stress! Guys – over to you …

There’s something comforting about coupling up – and these days we’re seeing less of the traditional speech line-up, and more wedding parties sharing the load.

Yes, joint speeches look set to stay, and it’s not just newlyweds – there are plenty of best man double-acts, bridesmaid tag teams and parent pairings bringing the house down. But there is a knack to it. Below are some ways of tackling any kind of joint wedding speech …

The Happy Couple

A joint newlywed speech is a great way of saying, ‘boom, we’re a team!’

It also makes a lot of sense, especially for same sex couples – you both get to thank your friends and family, and you can practise together without having to sneak around whispering in cupboards.

So how exactly do you write a great joint speech?

1 Gather your content

Get a bottle of wine, a big sheet of paper and have a brainstorming session. Think about the big events in your lives together, such as the first meeting, first date, the moment you knew they were ‘the one’ etc.

Reveal the little things you like about each other, and gently poke fun at the stuff that frustrates you! Having a laugh about your differences is often a great source of comedy, and counter-intuitively, can actually prove how well suited you are. Isn’t it wonderful that you’ve finally found someone who knows how to load the dishwasher ‘properly’ and actually understands pensions!

Gay wedding ceremony celebration party

2 Think about your thank you’s

Nothing kills off a speech quicker than a tedious thank you list, especially if you’re one of the few guests who doesn’t get a mention. So keep it tight. (Caterers, wedding planners, anyone ‘professional’ can be thanked in person later.) With each of the thanks, we suggest one of you lead and the other throw in a comedy line at the end. But of course with the parents, it’s worth you both paying tribute (always good to keep on the right side of the in-laws). If you’re planning on handing out thank you gifts, why not give them personally earlier in the day so you can avoid disrupting the flow of your speech. Joint speeches are complicated enough!

3 Find your theme

Rather than just a list of thank yous and random anecdotes, a great speech should have a narrative; a thread that holds all the content together.
Let’s say you both happen to be paramedics; your theme might be ‘emergency call-outs’, so your structure might look something like this:

Thank everyone for coming – and set up the theme, e.g. ‘two paramedics getting married today… it’s unusual for us to be the only ones panicking in a room…’ 

Chest pain – You knew you were falling for her when she went off on holiday with her friends and you missed her so much it felt like a sumo wrestler was sat on your torso

Choking – Recount the useless but adorable way he kept bottling it but eventually told you he liked you

Diagnosis: love – Yes, unfortunately it’s a contagious disease with some really weird symptoms, like blue flashing lights in your eyes and sirens in your ears (anecdote about first realising it was love over your shared enjoyment of ‘really nice veins’)

Prognosis: marriage – As medical professionals we’re trained in giving bad news, so here goes – you’re stuck with me for life

The support team: the thank yous

Toast

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4 Get writing

Thought table planning was tricky? That was nothing compared to writing a speech jointly – agonising over every sentence together. Our advice? Avoid it. Instead 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.
Divide the speech, so you each have small sections to deliver (two to six sentences) and alternate throughout. Make sure you establish a flow and support each other’s narrative.
Like all good comedy duos, you need to work together and deliver comedy ‘ad libs’. If it feels natural, 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 Best Mates

The best things in life come in twos: Ben and Jerry’s, gin and tonic, Chris and Liam Hemsworth…
However, there’s no safety in numbers – all good wedding speeches need to be meticulously planned. The principle is the same as the couple’s speech. So get together, drink wine and brainstorm ridiculous stories and embarrassing anecdotes – it’s all fair game.

You’ve got ten minutes to play with (about 1,300 words), which once you start writing your speech, you’ll find quite tight. But just because there’s two of you, it doesn’t mean you’re allowed to double the length. Remember, no one ever said ‘if only it was longer’ after listening to a speech – no matter how brilliant it was. The skill in writing your speech is knowing what to leave out. Don’t feel compelled to squeeze in every funny anecdote. Three average jokes isn’t as strong as one corker.

Of course, a good joint speech isn’t just a speech that you divide up. You have to write it so you play off on each other – lots of back-chat and banter between you both.

Joint best man's speech
If you both play an instrument, why not mix it up with a musical number?

It often works if you take on roles – for example, one of you could give a romantic overview of the couple’s relationship, and the other could give the cynical reality. Or one of you could be the ‘glamorous assistant’ – adding the props to the speech.

Once the speech is written, multiple rehearsals are crucial (and fun!). Remember when printing your speech, colour-code the text to make it easier to follow and ensure you don’t talk over each other.

The Parents

Whether you’re the proud mums of two gorgeous grooms, or you’re a wife giving the father of the bride some extra support, joint speeches from the parents are always heart-warming.

There are no special rules here, but we recommend keeping it brief (less than 1000 words). Take turns to say a few lines, perhaps playing on one of you being the disciplinarian and one of you the big softie.

Make sure you rehearse as much as possible together in advance, and think about the technicalities of potentially using a microphone.

Finally  

Enjoy it!

Remember you’re there to support each other. Luckily, wedding guests are much more accepting of a ‘joint speech’ not quite going to plan. In fact, if you end up cracking up, unable to deliver a line, the guests will end up laughing even more.

Speechy is a bespoke speech writing service, helping couples around the world make their day extra unique.

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You’ve got the speech sorted, now what about the vows? Here’s our essential guide to aceing them.