The date is set, the venue booked, invitations are out, the stag weekend in the diary. Just the small matter of a speech to write. All my general speech-writing advice found elsewhere on the site still applies, but here are ten more specific tips to ensure that writing your groom speech goes as smoothly as possible:
Keep it original. It’s fine to include the odd predictable line (‘my wife and I’ for instance), but don’t go overboard or your speech will sound like an internet cut and paste. It’s better to sacrifice humour for originality than the other way round.
Thank your new in-laws (particularly if they are hosting the wedding). Your bride might not get the opportunity to thank them publically for all they’ve done for her, so it’s up to you to do it on her behalf – and they’ll love you for it.
Mention your own parents. And not just for contributing the flowers. Looking back over decades of parenting, it is unlikely that their contribution to the wedding is actually their finest moment. Thank them for lifts to school when you were ten, freezing afternoons on the side of a muddy sports field watching you make a fool of yourself, or for helping you learn to drive; anything that demonstrates the love and support they have provided for so long. Unless they haven’t of course.
Don’t forget this is a celebration of love. It isn’t an opportunity for a ten minute comedy stand up routine, so try to balance your hilarious one-liners with a good dollop of sincerity. What is it about your wife that you love? How has your life changed (for the better!) since she’s been in it? Which of your bad habits does she have to put up with? Most importantly, make your guests feel that they have sacrificed an entire day of their lives (with all the associated costs) for a damn good reason.
Don’t spend more time building up the Best Man than the Bride. Although it’s nice to reference the Best Man and poke a bit of fun at him, remember that your wedding day is about your relationship with your Bride not your best mate. I jest not. I receive countless drafts by email where the bride appears to be no more than an excuse to have had a damn good stag do.
She’s your ‘wife’ so feel free to mention it! Nothing gets more of heart-warming cheer than the line “my wife and I…”. Yes it’s predicable and a little bit cheesy, but the novelty of hearing it for the first time never fails to please your new bride, or your guests for that matter. And that cheer will relax a nervous speaker no end.
Mention how she looks. Beautiful, gorgeous, stunning …. however you chose to say it, make sure you remark on her appearance. This is a once in a life time opportunity to tell your wife in front of a large collection of your friends and family that you fancy her. Unless you don’t. And even then, this is probably the one time in your life that it’s worth lying through your teeth.
Leave out the ex-girlfriends. However ‘relaxed’ your wife is about your past, there’s a time and a place for referencing the exes and the Groom’s speech isn’t one of them. I’m a big believer in a speech ‘riskometer’ where anything that could cause offence to anyone is edited out at source.
Talk to her. The more sincere elements of your speech may be far more powerful and personal if, when you’re talking about your wife, you actually look at and make eye contact with her. And address her as ‘you’ rather than ‘she’.
Liaise with her Dad. Assuming he is speaking before you, it’s worth checking that you are not going to be duplicating too many thanks or anecdotes about your bride, how you met, or the proposal.
And if you’re still not feeling particularly comfortable, then please let me know and I’ll write it for you!