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A joint speech follows the same etiquette principles as a groom speech.
1 – THANK YOUS: Make sure you thank…
Of course, there may be others you want to mention (children from previous relationships?) but resist the urge to read out half the guest list. Nothing kills off a speech quicker than a tedious thank you list, esp if you’re one of the few guests who doesn’t get a mention.
With each of the thanks, one of you should lead it and the other throw in a comedy line at the end. Of course with the parents, it’s worth you both paying a tribute to each (always good to keep in with the in-laws).
2 – GIFTS: If you’re planning on giving thank you gifts to any of the wedding party we recommend giving them personally earlier in the day so the process doesn’t disrupt the flow of your speech and the guests aren’t tempted to start checking their WhatsApp messages.
3 – THE DEARLY DEPARTED: Any mentions of the dearly departed should be kept till near the end of the speech. Read our guide to toasting absent loved ones.
Right, this needs to be fun. Get a bottle of wine, a big sheet of paper and have, what they referred to in the ’90s as, a ‘brainstorm’. Think about…
First rule, don’t start with the thank yous. Get on with the story first, leave the thank yous till the end.
Then think of the narrative hook that will hold all your random anecdotes and ‘to dos’ together.
Let’s say you both happen to be teachers; your theme might be ‘the lessons you’ve learnt from each other’. Your structure might look something like this…
Yep, this is the hard bit, and may or may not prove to be your toughest relationship challenge to date. You thought table planning was tricky?! Nothing compared to writing a joint speech. So our advice? Avoid it!
Yes, we suggest one of you write the first draft, and the other one improves it. Even this will require some negotiation but at least you won’t be debating words as you write.
Divide the speech, so you each have small sections to deliver (2 – 6 sentences) and alternate throughout. You want to establish a clear flow and support each other’s narrative… e.g.
Like all good comedy duos, you need to work together and try to deliver comedy ‘ad libs’. If your relationship dynamic lends itself, one of you can play the straight man and the other the fall guy. Play with what you got.
Just because there’s two of you delivering the speech, it can’t be double the length. In fact, you’re really only allowed an extra couple of hundreds of words – so between 1250 and 1450 MAX.
No one ever listened to a speech and wished it was longer. Punchy is best – for the overall speech and all the anecdotes & lines within it.
So, the good news is, the sole pressure of delivering your speech is off. The bad news? Delivering your speech has become a bit more complicated.
Yes, the ease of a double act takes some rehearsal. Especially if you want the ‘ad libs’ to look natural.
Read the basics of how to deliver a speech – written by our team of TV directors who know all the pro secrets – and pick up all the presenter tips you need.
Keep the joint speech a surprise – Guests will love it
Make the thanks yous meaningful – Don’t just talk about what people have contributed to the wedding, thank them for what they’ve contributed to your life (even if it is just an appreciation on malt whiskeys).
Make the toast unique – even if it’s just ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’.
Talk slower than feels natural – It’s what those authoritative people do to make themselves seem more intelligent
Don’t thank the caterers, the venue, people who have travelled far etc – It’s unnecessary.
Don’t resort to clichés – Yes you can thank your in-laws for ‘raising such a wonderful daughter’ but try to make it personal too. Thank your mother in law for the extra inch added to your waistline since you first sampled her Yorkshire Puddings.
Don’t talk over laughter -You’ve worked hard for those laughs – don’t rush them. Always wait until your guests have settled down before continuing with your speech.
Don’t forget to interact – Smile, roll your eyes, look at each other; remember you’re a double act
Our Joint Speech Template is the ultimate DIY kit for writing and delivering a great wedding speech.
If you’d prefer a bit more bespoke help, there’s a number of services we can offer, all of which, come with a DELIGHT GUARANTEE.
And, of course, in the world of Zoom, Whatsapp and Death Wish Coffee, we work with couples around the world.
Speechy is a team of speechwriters with a background scriptwriting for the BBC, Sky, C4 and working with the UK’s top TV talent.
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