There’s a lot of advice and groom speech templates out there but most of it’s pretty outdated, so we asked the wedding speech-writing team at Speechy how to write a modern groom speech.
Don’t get laden down for etiquette guides and feel you have to be overly formal. Yes, thank the important people but it’s fine to start your speech with a ‘Well hello everyone’ rather than addressing your guests as ‘ladies and gentleman’ (chances are they’re not!).
Begin your speech with a few stories about you as a couple; maybe an anecdote from when you started dating or an insight into how the wedding prep perfectly illustrated your differing personalities (who would have thought you’d be the one insisting on colour co-ordinated cufflinks?).
Make your speech unique rather than a cut-and-paste job inspired by Google.
Clichés are our bugbear. Avoid over-used words like ‘soulmate’ and resist the urge to say your spouse is your ‘best friend’. Platitudes add nothing.
Remember, every groom thinks his partner is gorgeous, caring and generally amazing, so think about what makes her unique. Is she a fitness fan who lives on Ben & Jerry’s, a library-lover or the hip-hop queen of Harrogate?
Make sure you prove, don’t tell. If she’s ditzy, don’t just call her ‘forgetful’, provide the evidence! Remind people of the time she thought her car was stolen only to find she had parked it somewhere else.
Step away from the Googled jokes. Yes, it’s tempting but wedding one-liners are just not on these days.
Find the humour in the reality of your relationship. Ask yourself lots of questions. When does your wife make you laugh? What do you regularly ‘debate’? What do you do that annoys her?
Remember the old adage ‘It’s funny because it’s true’.
If in doubt, feel free to use quotes by people funnier than you. As long as you credit the author, it’s not plagiarism.
Don’t turn your speech into one long thank you list. Yes, get input from your bride but resist the urge to namecheck half your guests. You certainly don’t need to thank people who’ve been paid for their help.
Never start your speech with the thank yous. Hook your guests in with good stories first and then get to the thank yous later.
There’s a skill in keeping your speech short. A groom’s speech should be between a thousand and 1,300 words generally.
Stories and jokes are also stronger the punchier they are. If an anecdote is particularly complicated then drop it.
No one even sat through a wedding speech and thought ‘If only it was longer’.
A confident delivery is key, and sadly, Dutch Courage is a myth. No more one than one drink before the speech.
Using notes is fine (on thick quality paper, never your phone) but you need to know your speech beforehand.
In the run-up to the day, use your phone to film your speech, watch it back and understand where you should put more emphasis or slow down.
As a general guide, talk at half the speed you would do in normal conversation. It seems odd, but it makes you sound more confident. Channel Obama.
On the day, maintain as much eye contact with the guests as possible, and of course the people you’re thanking. Remember to smile. Prepare for good-natured heckling and make sure you pause where you expect laughter (it will come, promise).
Finally, try to enjoy it. You’ve only got the first dance to do until you can properly relax!