It’s fair to say that, as a full-time wedding videographer, I get to hear my fair share of wedding speeches.
Not only on the day it’s self, but also in the editing suite after I bring the footage and the audio into the studio.
As a wedding filmmaker, speeches are key content when it comes to building an edit, and I use key moments from each speech as narrative audio for all of my wedding films.
Not only does this provide that all-important story that drives the film, but it also gives me a way to incorporate an important and treasured part of the day so that everything is unique and personal to each of my couples.
All of this gives me a unique perspective when it comes to writing the perfect wedding speech (an insight that I wish I’d had when I wrote my own wedding speech!) so I’ve decided to share a few of my insights on the topic across a series of blogs.
If you’re following tradition, it’s likely that you’ll be having three speeches at your wedding; Father of the Bride, The Groom and The Best man (although, I do encourage the breaking of this tradition and including a speech from the bride....this doesn't happen enough).
So In this series, I’ll be covering all three speeches, starting with the Groom’s speech.
But first, check out these beautiful words from Mo about his bride, Charlotte. in just 40 seconds, he sums up exactly what I’m trying to say in this blog:
Mo's emotional groom speech
1: Google is NOT your best friend.
When faced with writing a wedding speech, we’ll all do the exact same thing. Google it.
Every. Single. One of us.
I know I did, and that’s totally fine. You’ve never written a groom’s speech before, so how are you supposed to know what you should be saying?
It’s fine to look up other speeches for general information, but try not to get bogged down in templates or overly formal etiquette that makes your speech seem less personal or genuine to who you are.
The danger here is that you could end up delivering the same speech as some other groom, just with the names and locations changed.
And definitely don't copy any intros or jokes. Every groom ever has started their speech with “On behalf of myself and my wife, I’d like to thank you all for joining us...” to rapturous cheers and applause from the room. You’re better than that .
By all means, have a quick look on google, but then completely disregard what you’ve seen and try to write something that is uniquely YOU.
2: Tell your Story.
Point number one tells you what NOT to do, so I should probably back that up with what you should definitely do.
And that’s to tell the story of your relationship and your journey together.
By all means, Thank all of the important people and compliment the bridesmaids, but don't make this the whole body of your speech.
Tell a few stories from your relationship. Maybe the anecdote of how you first met or how the proposal went down?
Maybe there’s a story of something cute that your new wife did that perfectly illustrates why you fell for her or why you love her.
Maybe the wedding planning journey itself holds some stories worth sharing? Although...try and steer clear of “The great thing about being a man, is that weddings seem to plan themselves...”. You’ll get some polite laughs, but it’s just not a classy line.
The added bonus here is that you’ll provide some killer content for me to work with, and If I can edit it in a way the brings out maximum emotion and tears, the credit will forever be yours.
A good example of this personal story telling can be seen in Amy & Peter’s wedding film, in which Peter explains how he won Amy over with a trip to nando’s:
3: Saying Thanks.
Try not to let your speech turn into one huge wedding thank you list.
There are definitely some thanks to being said, so if you want to absolutely nail who the key guests are that need thanks, maybe ask your bride for some input. Two heads are better than one, and you’ll be able to whittle down the thank you list between you, whilst making sure to keep it punchy.
The temptation would be to say your thank you’s at the beginning of the speech, but you should definitely hook your guests in with some emotional stories first, then move on to thank the guests that you both agreed on, before moving onto your final, and most important thank you...
4: The Bride.
This is your chance to turn the room into putty in your hands and get those water works well and truly flowing.
Don't be embarrassed or afraid to open up and tell your bride exactly how much you love her and how much this day means to you.
I know that in some cases, this is easier said than done, but the key thing to remember here is that you’re in the safest room you’ll probably EVER be in. A room full of all of your closest family and friends who are here to celebrate the love between the two of you.
They’re all on your side, so take advantage and go for the killer blow!
Take some time to write down what you love about your bride and why.
How happy she makes you, how your life wouldn't be the same without her, how much you’re looking forward to spending the rest of your life with her.
This is your chance to be uniquely you and really put your love into your own words.
Tears all round. You’ve just blown away you the room and your new wife with how emotionally articulate you’ve are. Mic drop. Nailed it.
Also, more killer content for me to work with!
5: Keep it Punchy.
Getting the length and timing right of any speech is a bit of a skill in itself, and if you’ve not written many speeches before, you’re forgiven for not knowing how to pitch this.
How long should a groom’s speech be? too short, and you’re in danger of looking like your speech is a bit of an afterthought and too long and you could be subjecting your guests to more than they bargained for.
Roughly speaking, between 5 to 10 minutes or around 1,300 words is perfect.
Like with anything though, content is king, so by keeping your speech unique and personal, your guests will forgive you if you’re delivering a speech that is slightly longer but still engaging.
By preparation, I don't mean dutch courage.
Dutch courage is a myth and you should definitely keep the drinking to a minimum before your speech. One drink max (sorry!).
How do you get to Carnegie hall? Practice.
Make sure you’ve written your speech with enough time to run through it at least 2 or 3 times by yourself.
You definitely don't want to be saying everything for the first time as you deliver the speech otherwise you risk tripping over your words and losing your place.
Run through it, by yourself or with your best man at least 2 or 3 times (if not more) before the wedding.
Also, print it out on an A4 piece of paper and definitely do NOT have it saved on your phone.
By having it printed out, you can make sure that the font is nice and big. If you have it on your phone, its way too easy to lose your place, and reading your speech from your phone just looks kinda tacky from a visual point of view.
You’re better than that!
I hope this has helped in someway.
There are, of course, plenty of online resources that will help you structure your wedding speech, but the most important thing you should take from this, is that you should just keep it relaxed, natural and unique to who you are as a couple.
And remember…try not to get too nervous…you’re in a room full of people that love you and who are all on your side!
Thank for reading.