What to say

The following is based on my experience of everyone else’s reaction to the speeches i have seen. I have combined this with my own thoughts based on listening and seeing […]

The following is based on my experience of everyone else’s reaction to the speeches i have seen. I have combined this with my own thoughts based on listening and seeing 0ver 150 wedding speeches a year.

The Father of the Bride’s Speech

Increasingly, it seems that the FoB sees it as his role to be the Bride’s Best Man. I have seen FoBs doing slideshows and passing round embarrassing photos etc. This is not their job.

FoBs – Tell your daughter how beautiful she is, and always has been. How you loved bringing her up and how much joy she has brought to you. Say how happily you have been married (if appropriate). Tell a couple of amusing anecdotes that amplify these feelings. Don’t embarrass her. Offer the newly married couple some advice. Be genuine, heartfelt and true to yourself and your daughter. It is important to remember why everyone is gathered there today. You have just placed your daughter into the care of another man. This is an important moment in all your lives. Your speech should reflect this.

The Groom’s Speech

The Groom has the easiest job. He has to thank everyone for coming and everyone involved in helping organise the wedding. He then has to tell you how much he loves you and maybe tell everyone how you met and/or got engaged. All Grooms say loads of ‘thank yous’ but i have heard several who have not said a single nice thing about or to their new wife. I often think that this is because such Grooms dont like public displays of affection or are just embarrassed to say these things in front of so many people.

Grooms – Thank everyone you need to thank. Tell everyone how you feel about your wife by telling her. Look at her. If you are using notes, try not to read this bit. If you are worried or embarrassed about ‘being soppy’ in front of everyone imagine how bad it will be if you dont say the right thing. Man-up and speak from the heart.

The Best Man’s Speech

The Best Man has the hardest job. This is mainly because he is the one who is supposed to make everyone laugh. For many BMs this is the beginning of the end. In a panic, they turn to the internet and roll out a pre-fab speech that does no one any justice. The pressure to perform and be funny often result in the BM losing sight of his role. Yes, tell us all some funny and/or embarrassing stories about the groom. This is expected and accepted. But also say some nice stuff about the Groom and his new wife. Here are some things to consider…

  • Slide shows. Lots of BMs use slide shows. It can help structure the speech and if you aren’t the strongest speaker this can really help. The main issue is that very often the screen isnt visible to everyone or it’s too small etc. Check with the venue before the wedding so they can help you set it all up.
  • Showing photos. If you are going to show single images from the front then they need to be big. At least A1. If not, people at the back wont be able to see them. You’ll have to show fewer photos and it will be more expensive than a slide show but probably a better option.
  • Photos on each table. This sometimes works well because it is interactive. The only problem is that you lose the impact and punchline of the photos as people always look through them all even if you ask them not to. This option requires most effort but can work really well.
  • Make your stories accessible to all. In-jokes are really boring for those on the outside.
  • Dont go on about how many times you have been drunk together. Everyone knows that this is the sub-plot for almost all the anecdotes you will tell.
  • Dont mention that you went online to help write this speech. It shows a lack of imagination.

One of the best speeches I have seen was by a seemingly shy and unassuming BM. He handed out various noise making items (whistle, horn, bell etc) assigning each a role. The bell was to be rung when something funny was said. The whistle was to be blown when the BM was deemed to have overstepped the mark, the horn to be sounded when the BM said something soppy. As a result the resposibility of being funny was transferred to those holding the items and their interpretation of what the BM was saying. Needless to say it was open to great abuse and the whole thing was hilarious. In between he said all the right things but wasn’t once funny himself. At the end he just held up a sugn that said ‘CLAP’ and everyone did. A lot.