How NOT to Deliver Your Wedding Speech

A wedding speech in the BBC's Him and Her
Getting it all wrong!

With BBC re-running the ‘wedding’ series of ‘Him and Her’, what better moment for Great Speech Writer Will Noble to offer a crash course on how NOT to write and deliver your wedding speech?!

Over to you Will:

Just as it’s vital to know how to write and deliver a wedding speech, it’s pretty essential to be well-versed in what NOT to do, too. Great Speech Writing offers sage advice on how to create and deliver the perfect speech. But for a diluted crash course on car crash speeches (Father-of-the-Bride, Groom AND Best Man), we recommend watching episode 4 of BBC sitcom Him & Her. In the space of just 30 minutes it tells us exactly what to steer clear of.

The Father-of-the-Bride Wedding Speech

As soon as Father-of-the-Bride Nigel (Ralph Brown) opens his trap, it’s evident he’s cribbed his speech wholesale from the internet. “Whether you’re friends, family or free-loaders, loved ones or loathed ones, people we like or people we HAD to invite, whether you’re here for a free meal…” It goes on, we’ve heard it all before, and even people who’ve never been to a wedding in their life could tell Nigel hasn’t written this stuff. Credit where credit’s due, Nigel DOES single out those who’ve travelled a long way to come to the wedding (a nice gesture). And Nigel DOES correctly make his daughter Laura the focus of his speech. Unfortunately, his gags about her predilection for sex are trite, repetitive and WAY beyond the pale. N.B. the word “anus” should never feature in a Father-of-the-Bride speech. Ever.

The Groom Wedding Speech

Paul Parker (Ricky Champ) isn’t in the best place when he launches into his Groom speech, as his new wife has just discovered about his gay affair with a sixty-something fella. Nonetheless, his speech is repetitive (you don’t need to KEEP thanking people for coming) and his delivery is flat and unenthusiastic (the right emphasis on words can make or break a speech). Another thing Paul does that makes us at Great Speech Writing let out a whistle of despair is his handing out of gifts mid-speech. This is guaranteed to break the flow and put you off-kilter. Finish your speech first, then do the pressies. One final thing we learn from Paul’s speech; if you’ve trashed someone’s house in the past – now probably isn’t the time to apologise for it.

The Best Man Wedding Speech

The Best Man arguably bears the brunt of the pressure. He’s expected to be funny without overstepping the mark, sentimental without being sickly. And he’s got to sum up the Groom’s life in 10 minutes or less. In Him & Her, Best Man Steve (Russell Tovey) isn’t in for an smooth ride. The Groom isn’t exactly a best friend, and the MC and the Bride’s dad have it in for him. Even so, Steve doesn’t make it easy on himself. Copy-pasting one-liners from the internet instantly lands him in trouble – as he repeats one of Nigel’s earlier jokes (a risk everyone takes when they go for cheap and cheerful).

Innuendo and slightly risqué jokes aren’t necessarily a no-no, but you must know your audience and where to draw that line. Steve, alas, gets carried away, and turns things far bluer than is comfortable. He also falls into the trap of telling inappropriate/incriminating stories (the time Paul torched his teacher’s car). Ribbing the Groom IS absolutely permitted – in fact, at Great Speech Writing we encourage it. But make sure you don’t go OTT like Steve, who chooses the wrong time to reveal to the Groom that some people refer to him as ‘Mr Ugly’. To round off a perfectly horrific Best Man speech, Steve delves into the stag do for material. Believe us, people don’t want to know about the overweight stripper, the cling film or the laxatives.

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