A little bit sexist, obviously, but wedding speeches are still predominantly made by the men, so if there’s a wedding coming up and you’re the father of the bride, the groom, or the best man, take note — nobody is going to find your underprepared rambling charming.
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day — and that goes for writing speeches too. Ideally start making notes as soon as you know you’ve got the job. Don’t try to convince yourself it can be done the night before — inspiration will not arrive if you have not given it the time and environment to flourish. So stop implying that it’s manly to leave writing the speech until the last minute and instead try doing it well.
Do Your Research
You’ve got a lot more to do than simply write a speech, so the likelihood is you’ll forget a few things. Maybe send an email or two asking people if they have anything to add, so you don’t miss any treasured moments. If you really don’t know where to start, try asking at the stag party. As people reminisce about childhood, university and the usual, it’s a good time to start making notes. Ideas and anecdotes may occur while you’re on a night out, reading old messages or flicking through Facebook. Jot them down and you can start to turn your notes into short sections of the speech — it will soon come together.
Work in Progress
Once you’ve started putting notes together, don’t try and write the whole speech, it’s meant to be a work in progress. Focus on writing a paragraph or two – think about what you want that paragraph to say, whether it’s how much you love someone, how funny they are, or if it’s telling a little story to illustrate the point you’re making. Once you’ve written a few paragraphs you can then whittle everything down into a succinct, meaningful speech. Keep tinkering with the structure and refine any stories before condensing it onto cards.
Keep it Snappy
A short, sharp and impactful speech is as good as it gets. Even the best man’s speech, can easily be wrapped up in under 10 minutes, and 99 percent of the time it’ll be better for it. While it’s bad etiquette to simply rise, mutter a few words and scurry off to the bar, fall into the trap of letting your speech go on too long and you’ll risk interruptions from snoring grandparents. Keeping it short and sweet is a good rule of thumb — aim for five to 10 minutes.
Practise Makes Perfect
Don’t worry about trying to memorise your whole speech. It’s perfectly acceptable to rely on cue cards, or print off your whole speech to avoid having a mind blank. People are very forgiving and it’ll mean you won’t forget any important details — like the bride or groom.
A Blushing Bride
Chose your content carefully. If you deliver a couple of laughs, then the love stuff will have a much greater impact. But while funny is good, don’t give in to the temptation to include any ‘shocking’ jokes — it will only make everyone uncomfortable. You want to have the guests on your side, so choose something warmingly funny but properly thought out – no clichés. Similarly, if you don’t say anything about the bride, it’s not a good speech. Think about the bride properly, and what you like about her, then say it in an interesting way. No waffling on about how ‘wonderful a person’ she is. Give specifics.
Avoid the Alcohol
Limit your alcohol. By all means, have a glass of bubbly when you arrive at the reception venue, but that’s it. You need to have your wits about you, and being drunk ruins timing. If you do a drunken speech, you’ll regret it. And nobody will ever let you forget it.
Time to Toast
End by toasting the bride and groom — once you’ve raised your glass, you can relax and head to the bar. Cheers!