If you’re wondering how to squeeze a lifetime of love into 8 minutes, we think we can help. In our previous life as TV comedy writers, our jobs involved nothing but entertaining audiences.
But if you’re finding it hard to nail those eloquent and all-important wedding speech words, here’s a tip… steal other people’s instead!
Don’t resort to plagiarism or googled gags – instead, use clever quotes to add instant wit and wisdom.
Borrowing from the genius of others is a totally acceptable way of nailing the romantic part without making it cringey. You’ll know the right quote to use when you read it – the one that gives you a spark of recognition, like, god, I thought that was just us!
USING QUOTES – THE RULES
Don’t Go Overboard
Using quotes doesn’t get you off the speechwriting hook – they aren’t meant as a substitution for your own words and should merely complement them. Plagiarism isn’t cool, but quoting your favourite wordsmiths people is a smart way of adding gravitas to your speech.
Don’t overdo it lads – this isn’t book club. Go for a maximum of two as a general rule. We suggest you write your speech first, then consider adding a couple of quotes to make it zing.
Make Them Meaningful
Did you two bond over a book when you first met? Get the giggles over a ‘so bad it’s funny’ movie you saw together in the cinema? Or maybe you have an ‘our song’ that raises your oxytocin levels each time you hear it.
Consider which songs, films, or books mean something to you both, then dig deeper to see if any lend themselves to a great quote.
Quote familiar people (or provide context)
It’s cool to be indie and unconventional but quoting artists your guests have at least heard of will inspire those all-important nods and smiles of recognition.
That said, this is your wedding and your rules. If you’re going a bit leftfield, don’t assume everyone will ‘get it’ and offer some background.
Don’t just use quotes for the sentimental bits. Laughter is a crucial part of what makes us fall for each other. Allow guests those feel good moments with a quote that sends up love and marriage and doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Feel free to add a back reference to put the quote into a personal context, or make it humorous with a suitable ‘ad lib’.
You won’t want to quote them in your speech – but our advice might make your speech a hell of a lot better!
Look no further than your own bookshelves for highbrow expressions of love (unless of course, yours give pride of place to Flanimals and My Booky Wook):
W.H. Auden had a fine line of quotes that can add something to a speech…A great welcome is…
- ‘Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.’ W.H. Auden
To add some comedic romance…
- ‘I will love you forever” swears the poet. I find this easy to swear too. “I will love you at 4:15 pm next Tuesday” – Is that still as easy?’ W.H. Auden
Or some brutal romance…
- ‘We must love one another or die’ W.H. Auden
Baldwin has a wonderfully light touch with words:
- ‘Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.’ James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time.
Fitzgerald is known for cynical representations of love, but he can certainly capture a feeling:
- ‘It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.’ F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night.
We like this dramatic Hemingway line:
- ‘Why, darling, I don’t live at all when I’m not with you.’ Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms.
It might also be fun comparing his unique take on being an author with your own speech writing efforts:
- ‘I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.’
Of course, Oscar Wilde is a gay icon, and for good reason. We love his playful depictions of romance:
‘Who, being loved, is poor?’ Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance.
He also said: ‘Be yourself; everyone else is already taken’ which, incidentally, we think is great wedding speech advice, and ‘Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary’ which would go well ahead of an anecdote about the quirky way your partner makes you feel extraordinary.
Looking at love through a Dickensian lens might not be an obvious go-to for same-sex couples for obvious reasons. But his insightful take on life is beautifully universal. Here are a couple of Dickens maxims we enjoy:
- ‘There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.’– A Christmas Carol.
- ‘Have a heart that never hardens, and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.’ – Hard Times.
Of courses, you could also attribute your husband’s wedding day radiance to this Dickens quote:
- ‘Cheerfulness and contentment are great beautifiers, and are famous preservers of good looks.’
Big Screen Inspo
The best books are turned into well-loved movies. Here are a few iconic lines from the silver screen:
- ‘When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible’ When Harry Met Sally.
- ‘We accept the love we think we deserve.’ The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
- ‘It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together.’ Sleepless in Seattle.
- ‘I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.’ The Notebook.
- ‘Always the years between us. Always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.’ The Hours.
You don’t have to go too profound when looking at quotes. Keep it light with a Pixar classic:
- ‘To infinity and beyond!’ Toy Story.
Music can cut through like no other medium and hit you right in the gut (in a nice way!). Here are a few lines we like:
‘But at your best you are love
You’re a positive motivating force within my life’ Frank Ocean, At Your Best.
‘I hope you don’t mind if I put down in words, how wonderful life is now you’re in the world’ Elton John – Your Song
‘Sometimes it seems the going is just too rough and things go wrong no matter what I do. Now and then it seems that life is just too much, but you’ve got the love I need to see me through’ Candi Staton/Florence and the Machine – You Got The Love
‘I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more just to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door’ The Proclaimers – 500 miles Although this ONLY works if you do it in a Scottish accent.
‘Oh, you’re the best friend that I ever had
I’ve been with you such a long time
You’re my sunshine and I want you to know
That my feelings are true
I really love you
Oh, you’re my best friend’ Queen, You’re My Best Friend.
‘I never imagined that love would rain on me
And make me want to settle down. Baby, it’s true
I think I do and I just want to tell you that…Baby I want you forever
I want to keep you for the rest of my life
All that’s wrong in my world you can make right
You are my saviour, you are my light’ Prince, Forever In My Live.
Wedding Speech Expert
How Speechy Can Help You…
Of course, if you want to create your own memorable quotes – check out our speech template (designed for blokes who like blokes) or our bespoke writing services.
And in the world of Zoom, Whatsapp and Death Wish Coffee, we work with clients around the world. Timezone no problem.
Talk to Us