As the nights draw in and the air grows chilly, we are less and less likely to be spending our weekends at weddings. That might be a cause of regret or relief! If it’s been a bumper year, we’ll have a variety of memories to colour how we feel about nuptials. If we have to think back a few years to the last one we attended, only the particular highs and lows will stick in the mind. Particularly when it comes to the wedding speeches!
So, are you itching for one last bash in 2023, perhaps even trying to persuade friends of the virtues of a winter wedding? Or are you glad to see the back of the season, and counselling couples in your orbit to give it another year or three before doing anything hasty? Will a last-minute wedding invitation conjure up warm feelings involving good food, drink and bonhomie? Or the dread of awkward encounters and desperate clock-watching?
It won’t surprise you to learn that at Great Speech Writing, we believe the quality of the speeches makes all the difference. Not that it’s the only thing that matters. But a good speech can brighten the dreariest of affairs and give everyone something to smile about. And a bad one can taint an otherwise fabulous occasion, and even – unforgivably – wipe the smile off the bride’s face.
So, what’s the secret of a good speech? Well, the best speeches are always original and tailored to the situation, which means no two great speeches are alike. The bad ones are easier to lump together. And if the thought of another wedding speech makes you shudder, the chances are you’ve sat through one of the following.
The CV-toting father of the bride (primary wedding speech killer!)
It’s great that Dad is proud of the blushing bride. But nobody needs a comprehensive list of her achievements from nursery school to university and beyond. And nobody remembers that 50m swimming certificate anyway. Just the mind-numbing boredom and slowly ebbing will to live!
The groom’s shopping list of thanks (well-meant ruin of so many wedding speeches)
We get it. There are lots of people to be thanked, mentioned in passing and buttered up. But if you can’t weave all that into something a bit more compelling, your audience will not thank you for it. “And now to my second cousins twice removed…” Please, make it stop!
The best man’s cringe-inducing stag stories
This one is not exactly boring. If only! In fact, the less socially aware stags might even chortle along to the strip club story. But no one else wants to hear it. By all means include a little something to make the groom blush. But if everyone is uncomfortable, you’ve gone too far.
We should acknowledge that all these examples are male. We actually help lots of brides, mothers of the bride and maids of honour with their wedding speeches. Maybe women are more sensible, or maybe they just haven’t been speaking at weddings long enough for characteristic mistakes to emerge – watch this space! – but so far the only recurring blunder we’ve noticed among women is one shared with male speakers. Namely, a simple lack of preparation!
Preparation is key to the success of any speech. That might mean working with a speechwriter, or just getting a draft down early and soliciting some discreet feedback on it. But whether you work hard and nail it or leave it to the last minute and end up with rubbish, people remember wedding speeches. Maybe not the details, but how it made them feel.
So, if you’ve been asked to speak at a wedding next summer – or at any point between now and then – do us all a favour. Make sure that this time next year, your audience remembers the wedding with fond feelings. And that they won’t cross the street when they see you coming!