All good stories are structured around a beginning, middle and end. Clearly, your ‘end’ is more like a ‘to be continued…’ but it might help to think of your speech in three parts:
THE MEET CUTE
You might not think yours is romcom-worthy, but all get-togethers are unique; from the thrilling Tinder match, to the familiar ‘down the pub’ scenario, to the chance eye-lock at a Radiohead gig. How you first met is less important than how you tell it.
It’s in the detail – what were they wearing? Did one of you have an ‘I carried a watermelon’ moment? Maybe you remember one another as snot-nosed, pigtailed, wobbly toothed school kids who didn’t much like each other.
THE MOMENT YOU KNEW THEY WERE THE ONE
Real life is so much cooler and funnier than fiction. Whether yours was love at first sight or a slow burner, admitting when you decided your partner was a keeper is a good opportunity to bring humour and heart into your speech.
Perhaps it was when you realised they were just as psyched as you for the Nintendo Direct. Or maybe before them, you’d never known someone to choose Wu-Tang C.R.E.A.M for karaoke – without needing the lyric cues. It’s fine to tell your partner you knew ‘because you’re my favourite kind of weird’.
If you sat your beloved in the back of a moving Honda CRV and pulled off a fully choreographed flash mob complete with Bruno Mars lip-dub and a suspiciously devoid of traffic street, your speech is probably going to be pretty extra already.
If your proposal was low-key, heartfelt and romantic, this story is just as worthy of being recounted. The Eiffel Tower’s nice, but so’s your coffee table and your dog-eared Scrabble board – plus you get 14 points for Marry Me.
If you’re giving a speech as the one who accepted your partner’s proposal, explain briefly why you said yes. This is obviously an emotional moment, but resist the urge to go mushy.
Humour warms an audience more than displays of earnest soul matery. Feel free to send yourselves up if the big question came on a dog walk where one of you had a poo bag in your hand, for instance.
THE BIG DAY
No worries if you don’t have a fixed date in mind yet. If living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that setting things in stone is a recipe for disaster.
A vague ‘sometime next year’ is acceptable at this stage. Tonight is all about your engagement.