It is no secret that every speaker at a wedding will have people to thank. And I am asked regularly to suggest who should be thanked, by whom, and how best to word them.
The biggest issue in many cases is ‘listing’. The thanks can be endless, suffocating the speech and bearing the wrong sort of comparisons with the worst Oscar acceptances.
The best speeches weave the necessary ‘who to thank’ around their more creative elements so the audience hardly realise you’re running through a list at all. Here’s a quick summary of the key ‘thanks’ that should be included if yours is a standard wedding with a relatively orthodox set of speeches.
1. The guests – particularly those who’ve travelled a long way
2. Your wife – for organising the day/ bringing up your daughter/ putting up with you!
3. You may also want to mention your other children, the vicar or equivalent and any friends who have helped with the organisation of the day
1. The Father of the Bride for his speech (and kind words about you if appropriate)
2. The guests (ensuring it ties in with what your father-in-law has said)
3. Your new-in-laws for producing your wife!
4. Your Bride – for saying yes!
5. Your own family
6. Any elderly or ‘special’ guests
7. The Best Man and Ushers
8. The Bridesmaids
Your list may overlap with the Father of the Bride, so it is worth trying to share them between you. You may also want to mention guests who can’t be there and thank anyone from the wedding planner to the flower arranger (although I suggest that you restrict your thanks to volunteers rather than paid professionals – including your speech writer!)
The Groom (for asking you to be his best man/for being a good mate)
This list is short and sweet. Yours is the speech with most room for creativity and fun and less need for thanks. Your role is to provide amusement rather than sincerity. However, it is still worth checking with the Groom that he doesn’t want you to take any of them off his plate. This can be particularly useful if there is a thank you that will tip him over the edge!That’s the high level summary. Please don’t assume anything and always check with the other speakers that you are not going to cover the same ground. Good luck, and please feel free to call me at any time if you’d like some help turning your ‘tick list’ of thank yous into something that resembles an entertaining speech rather than a school register.