Speeches are hard enough to write, but a global pandemic on top of it? It’s tough.
Not only do you have to acknowledge the reality of the world we’re living in at the moment (and its impact on your wedding), but you also, somehow, have to do it in a way that’s hopeful, makes people smile and allows you to quickly move on to talking about love and the really juicy stuff.
This year, the Speechy team have still been writing hundreds of wedding speeches for couples around the world who, although they may be having smaller weddings, still want them to be fun, romantic and truly memorable.
So, to ensure your speeches add an awesome moment to your wedding day, here’s some of our Covid inspired speech advice.
Without the usual wedding traditions, the band, the DJ, the dads getting drunk and showing off their ‘moves’, your speeches are now, officially, the ‘entertainment’.
But don’t let this intimidate you.
As well as adding laughter to the day (the essential bonding juice at any wedding!), a well-crafted speech will add true meaning and poignancy to the day. It will immediately elevate the wedding breakfast so it feels like more than just a posh dinner out.
With such a small guest list you can address everyone there and ensure no one’s left out.
This really is your chance to drop a lovebomb on all the folk who have made it into your select guestlist!
Tip 2: Decide Your Speech Line-Up
Before you start writing your speech, think about who else you’d like to get involved.
Feel free to ditch the traditional speech line up (to be fair, we suggest this at large weddings too!) and instead think, who would enjoy and be good at delivering a speech. Who do you want to hear from on the day?
With a small guestlist you could opt for Scandinavian style spontaneous speeches, where everyone is invited to stand up and propose a short toast to the happy couple. The toasts could literally be 30 secs long but encourage people to be no more than 3 mins. Warn them in advance!
Whatever line up you opt for, guests will want to hear from the couple themselves. Either the traditional groom speech or a bride speech, or even both. Remember you’re the stars of the show and everyone wants to hear from you. Enjoy it!
Tip 3: New Covid Speech Etiquette
So good news, with a smaller wedding, you can go less formal. No ‘ladies and gentleman’ unless you’re delivering it ironically. And no faff with wedding mics. You really can just be yourself.
Address the fact that the wedding isn’t what you were originally planning but you weren’t going to let a global pandemic stand in the way of getting hitched.
Obviously, tact needs to be shown regarding the enormity of Covid but depending on your audience, you can also have some fun about ‘the things you need to do in order to get a booking for 15 people at a restaurant these days’.
Like a ‘regular’ speech, it’s good to include humour at the top and sprinkle it throughout.
And yes, in many ways, your speech will be similar in structure to a ‘normal’ wedding speech. Thank guests for coming, a bit about you two as a couple (a heavily edited, humorous retelling of how you got from your first date to getting married), the individual thank yous, the concluding romantic tribute to your partner and the toast.
Finally, make sure your speech reflects your wedding size. Keep it succinct. No waffle. Ideally less than 1,000 words, certainly no more than 1,300.
Tip 4: Finding Your Funny
What’s good about a post Covid wedding (we’ve got to find silver linings right?) is that it comes with a lockdown guarantee.
You two have literally lived in each other’s pockets more than is humanely endurable and you still want to get hitched. You’ve debated boxsets, argued about missing the Tescos slots and cut each other’s hair – and you still like each other!
This is something to be celebrated! And an opportunity to have add some humour to your speech.
Reveal what you learnt from each other in lockdown. Question your partner’s ability to remain calm on zoom quizzes, point out their habit of screaming obscenities at Joe Wicks or, and we presume this is a universal experience, not wearing trousers for 12 solid weeks.
It may seem like you’re taking the mick, but actually, you’re proving how much you love each other. Or, at least, who has a high tolerance level for the other!
Whatever you do, there’s no excuse for ‘wedding gags‘ – old fashioned, cheesy and no longer fit for a modern wedding.
Tip 5: Get Romantic
It’s worth noting that, in these scary and uncertain times, people seem to be less squeamish about talking about the importance of love.
As a result, your audience will be more open to you ‘going deep’ without thinking you’re cheesy or overly soppy. And seeing as the Rugby lads won’t be on the guestlist, it doesn’t really matter if you are!
If you struggle to articulate your feelings for your partner in any way that makes sense, a good idea is to use quotes. More often than not, a witty writer or wise philosopher has managed to do pin down that elusive sentiment for you already!
While undoubtedly the funny stuff in this speech will come from the variety of disasters, mishaps and issues you’ve faced, for the show-stopping, tear-jerking finale, you’ll want to end on a positive note.
Ask yourself what you’ve learnt from this process. Has it highlighted how much you value the company of friends and family? Has it shown you the strength and resilience of your relationship?
Has it shown you that you can find true happiness while curled up on the sofa, eating out of date Easter eggs and watching another repeat of ‘Joe Swash: I Believe in Ghosts’.
Tell everyone how much you care, and how their small acts of kindness helped you through.
Tip 6: Delivery
At a smaller wedding, hopefully, you’ll feel less nervous. That said, eye contact is even more important so rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, even if you are still referring to notes on the day.
On the day, remember to still be conscious of making sure everyone can hear you down the other side of the table.
If you’re planning to hold a larger wedding celebration at a later date, it’s fine to use ‘excerpts’ of your original speech but the two speeches are likely to have different tones.
The second speech needs more ‘big laughs’, as it is after all, ‘the party speech’.
You can obviously cut back on the original friends and family thank yous and make the thank yous more generic, leaving you more time to have fun in your speech.
If you’re keeping some of the original content, simply make a joke of it. Something like ‘to those at wedding number 1, welcome to wedding number 2. There’s more dancing and boozing at this one, but I’m afraid you will have to listen to my speech for a second time.’
HOW SPEECHY CAN HELP...
If you need help with your wedding speech, Speechy are a team of TV scriptwriters by trade and have written for shows such Have I Got News For You, Dead Ringers and Horrible Histories.These days we team up to help cool couples around the world craft amazing wedding speeches.
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