If your big day is looming and you’re looking for expert advice on how to boss your wedding speech you’re in the right place. We’ve answered all of your burning speech-related questions AND gathered advice directly from the experts. It’s ok, you can thank us later…
We get that standing up and saying a few heartfelt words in front of a room full of family and friends is pretty daunting, but if you follow our guide you’ll have the best possible chance of blowing their socks off.
Lucky for you grooms out there, when it comes to wedding speeches you have one of the easiest jobs: to say thank you and talk about how fab your bride or groom looks! Generally speaking it’s the Best Man’s job to get the room laughing, but we think it’s always a good idea to keep things light-hearted and we’ll show you exactly how to get the balance in our handy guide.
From keeping your nerves in check to delivery tips and all of the points you should cover in your speech, we’ll take you through the process step by step making sure you miss nothing and give a speech that won’t have you cringing when you look back at your wedding video!
Your wedding speech is your one and only chance to address the room and speak about your new spouse in front of everyone and is just as important as selecting the right wedding suit or the perfect wedding flowers, so we think it’s worth investing plenty of time and thought in.
Grab a cuppa and a notebook and pen, you’re going to want to jot down these fabulous tips for a groom speech that will be remembered for all the right reasons! We’ve spoken to Daniel Kingsley, Director and Principal Trainer for Presence Training and Heidi Ellert from modern speech writing experts, Speechy, so you’re in great hands.
When do I give the groom speech?
Wedding speeches are usually given at the wedding reception after the wedding breakfast although many couples choose to place speeches before the meal so that they can relax and enjoy their carefully selected menu!
Traditionally the father of the bride speech kicks off proceedings and the groom speech follows, this is especially important if the father of the bride has contributed heavily to the wedding financially. The choice is completely yours however and with a bride’s speech becoming an increasingly popular option and bridesmaids and maids of honour often getting in on the act too, you can arrange speeches around what suits you.
How do I handle nerves in my wedding speech?
Practice makes perfect and we recommend spending plenty of time rehearsing your speech at home alone as well as in front of a trusted friend, such as your best man. The more familiar you become with your speech the more confident you will feel on the day.
Make sure you get to know the venue well too, check where you’ll be seated where the microphone (if you’re having one) will be. You’ll feel a lot more confident knowing where everything is and being able to visualise where you will be speaking.
Finally, remember that everyone will know you’re likely to be nervous and will be rooting for you, “They are your friends and family. They love you, they are really happy for you and they want you to do well in your speech. (They have also probably had a drink or two, which helps as well!)” Says Daniel.
How much should I talk about the bride?
Quite a lot! While it’s definitely a nice idea to poke fun at your best man and groomsmen and of course say thank you to your parents, the groom speech should be about the bride. Funny stories, mentioning how you met and first impressions are always a good idea and it is, of course, essential to mention how beautiful she looks! Make sure you address at least some of the speech directly to her to make her feel extra special and get everyone else in the room feeling the romance.
Heidi says, “The best way to compliment your bride is by describing her; recognising her for the awesome person she is. Rather than the sort of bride she is, describe the sort of person she is. Is she a computer geek, an Insta-queen, a hip hop girl? Make everyone in the room see you really ‘get her’.”
Who do I need to thank in my groom speech?
Traditionally the groom thanks the guests for attending, his parents, his new parents-in-law, his best man and groomsmen and the maid of honour and bridesmaids. It can be tempting to thank a host of other guests, but try not to spend too much of the speech on this. Heidi advises prioritising close family members, “Open with a genuinely thoughtful thank you to everyone for coming and leave the specific thanks to family, the friends you truly love and those who have been crucial to the day. Parents and in-laws get at least a paragraph of thanks each.”
How do I make my groom speech funny?
While the aim of the game certainly isn’t to embarrass your new spouse, you’re definitely allowed to mention a few funny moments or weird habits – chances are their friends and family will know exactly what you mean and be in stitches!
“Don’t be shy about taking the mick out of your wife – affectionate teasing is always lovely to witness, especially if you’re about to drop a romantic love bomb on her later in the speech.” Says Heidi.
Self-deprecating jokes also work well, comments such as settling for you and giving up on Idris Elba will always induce a giggle from your guests. You can also make yourself the butt of the joke while bigging-up your spouse, making them feel special without getting too soppy!
How should I finish my groom speech?
Traditionally the groom finishes his speech speaking about his wife, Daniel says: “In terms of how to finish I’d suggest something like ‘I feel like such a lucky man to have a bride like her, and to have you with us on our special day to celebrate with us. (But use your own words). It’s traditional for you to end with a toast to your new wife.”
Top groom speech tips from the experts
- “Prove, don’t tell. If you think your wife is funny, tell the stories that show she is. If she’s kind, provide the evidence. This will bring your speech to life and make it truly engaging.” Heidi
- “If you are speaking about someone, make sure you are in eye contact with them (At least most of the time) as this feels more personal.” Daniel
- “Get a laugh in the first 15 secs and you’ll be fine. You’ll relax and the guests will relax too.” Heidi
- “A good way to calm yourself down at the start of the speech is to take 2 or 3 breaths where the outbreath is twice as long as the in-breath (i.e. breathe in for 4 and out for 8). Once you’re speaking, aim to keep your breathing even and relatively slow. If you feel yourself getting light-headed it really helps to feel the sensation of your feet on the ground as a way to counteract this.” Daniel
- “Keep your word-count under 1,300. Once you start writing your speech, you may be surprised by how much you have to say, but remember there’s a skill to editing your speech. Keep it punchy. Leave them wanting more, rather than checking their Whatsapp messages under the table!” Heidi
- “Remember it’s really OK to feel nervous, especially if you are not an experienced speaker. Even experienced speakers experience nerves. Excitement is actually just nerves with a bit of extra breathing!” Daniel