Gone are the days when the bride’s mum only got up to say a few words in place of a dearly departed dad or a hubby suffering with stage-fright.
More women than ever are stepping into the (well-deserved) spotlight, grabbing the mic and giving an amazing mother of the bride speech. But even mums – who, let’s be fair, know everything – might need help getting the tone right for this all-important speech. And by ‘tone’, we, of course, mean humour.
Laughter relaxes you and your audience, keeping everyone energised and engaged throughout the speech. Humour is key to all wedding speeches – not just the best man’s.
As award-winning TV and radio scriptwriters, the Speechy team are trained in the art of storytelling. Follow our simple mum-of-the-bride advice & write a speech you (and your daughter) will be proud of.
Bear in mind that guests want to hear about your daughter, not some generic perfect bride. Tell the truth about who she really is, in all her adorable, funny, quirky realness.
Think about what makes her unusual; strange habits, secret passions, under-rated skills.
Does she have a photographic memory of the Nandos menu? Can she respond to a text before you’ve even sent it? Does she have a weird aversion to the sound of wine being poured (though is happy enough to drink it once it is)?
It will be these little insights that will ensure your speech stands out from the rest.
TIP 2 – PROVE DON’T TELL
Something we always tell our clients is that it packs far more of a punch for guests to hear why and how the bride is ‘kind’, ‘funny’, or ‘daft’. Set the scene and be specific!
Don’t just say your daughter is clumsy, tell guests about the time she collected her graduation scroll with her gown tucked in her knickers.
Use props if you like – remind everyone how intelligent she is by bringing out her beloved Blue Peter badge or reading a few funny lines from her primary school report.
TIP 3 – THE RULE OF THREE
So this is a comedy writer technique we’re sharing here. The simple rule of three.
The Romans got there first obviously with the Latin phrase “omne trium perfectum” (everything that comes in threes is perfect), and that’s the essence of it really.
If you’re trying to make a point, do it in threes. It makes your speech convincing & catchy and gives your text a rhythm that people like and recognise.
So, if you want to make the point your daughter is a bit of a scatterbrain, think of three examples. ‘This is the girl who lost her car in a multi-story carpark, who once resigned from the wrong job and who chatted to Liam Neeson for a full 10 minutes before realising he wasn’t who she thought he was.’
The rule of three is simple but effective. Especially when it comes to eating HobNobs!
TIP 4 – NAMECHECK OTHER GUESTS
It’s always a buzz for guests to have a cameo in a wedding speech.
Get the crowd involved right from the beginning by reaching out to your daughter’s friends during the writing stage and asking them for their funny memories of her.
Perhaps her new in-laws will have a great anecdote about meeting her for the first time, or her old flatmate has some words of advice for the man who’s going to spend the rest of his life living with her.
TIP 5 – LESS IS MORE
A few well-delivered jokes have more impact than a rambling account of your daughter’s timeline, from kickboxing in your womb to marrying this lovely hunk.
Keeping your speech short will make it more humorous, more persuasive and more satisfying – so cut the waffle or anything that feels somewhat feeble.
Aim for about 1,000 words or less if you can. Remember, no one ever listened to a speech and said ‘if only it were longer.’
DRAW ATTENTION TO IRONY
Personality contrasts are often a great place to find humour. Maybe your son in law is a data scientist who has trouble working out the probability of your daughter waking up on the wrong side of bed. Or perhaps your daughter is a highly organised project manager with a glovebox full of unpaid parking tickets. Pointing out the ironies in our loved ones’ behaviour is very funny when said with love.
CHOOSE A THEME
Instead of a random collection of anecdotes, a great speech should tell a story. You’ve already got the perfect protagonist in your daughter. Say she’s a teacher – your theme could be ‘lessons I’ve learned as her mum’. These might be patience, multi-tasking, and conflict resolution. Each lesson needs a funny tale to back it up. If she’s an illustrator your theme might ‘paint a picture’ of the woman she’s become, starting with a story about her childhood antics with a permanent marker and the family cat.
LEARN FROM OTHER MUMS
One of the loveliest things about being a mum is having the opportunity to learn from the ones who came before us! We’ve hunted down some of the best mother of the bride speech videos for you to check out for inspiration – have tissues ready.
HUMOUR TO AVOID
ANTAGONISM- It might be ok to acknowledge that you’ve not had the smoothest of journeys getting to know your daughter’s partner, now that things have clearly worked out, but tone is very important here. Even well-meaning fun-poking could sound bitter if there’s an adverse history between you. Stick to positive memories!
GOOGLED GAGS- It’s tempting to type ‘mother of the bride jokes’ into google at the beginning of the speechwriting process, especially when faced with an intimidatingly blank sheet of paper. We advise caution here. While there’s some good stuff out there, the vast majority of speech templates draw on the use of generic clichés and tired jokes that will leave guests groaning.
Having said that, Speechy’s templates are intelligently designed to create genuine humour and sentiment, using your material. After all, as her mum, you’re pretty uniquely placed to wow guests with hilarious anecdotes from your daughter’s childhood, teens, twenties, and so on!
IN-JOKES Never advisable at a wedding. Alienating two-thirds of the room with an obscure inside gag won’t win you many big belly laughs. Instead, set up anecdotes by drawing attention to something friends and family already know (e.g. that your daughter is a successful theatre actress/very into amateur dramatics), then tell the story of how this came to be (she showed signs of being a diva aged 2 when she gave a convincing Mariah Carey performance in the frozen food aisle at Sainsbury’s).
DELIVERING THE HUMOUR
So many wonderful speeches have gone to waste because of a bad delivery. Chances are someone will be filming the speeches, so this is your opportunity to shine! Here are our top tips for doing your speech justice:
Stay hydrated– this means have water to hand, and resist getting stuck into the Prosecco until after your speech. You may think alcohol will calm your nerves but science proves it will actually increase your stress levels. Sorry about that!
Smile! – It’s proven to relax you and put everyone else in the room at ease. In fact, facial expressions are super important all-round. Remember to look up at your audience, grin, frown, roll your eyes. It all makes the speech come to life.
Watch your comic timing – Wait till the laughter has stopped before going into your next anecdote. You’ve earned those giggles, enjoy them. And feel free to crack yourself up, there’s nothing more infectious than laughter.
Ad lib with the characters at the top table – Ask the in-laws if their son has always been obsessed with winning boardgames or has your daughter brought out his competitive side. Look at the bride as you finally dispel her childhood belief that chocolate milk comes from brown cows – you might catch a reaction you’ll want to treasure.