He’s been there your whole life. Friends from the beginning (well most of the time). And now someone has, for whatever reason, agreed to marry him. Who better to toast him on his big day than his long-suffering sister?
There can be many reasons a sister of the groom is chosen to read at their brother’s wedding. But, most likely, it will be in place of the ‘Best Man’ speech.
However, ignore the gender norms! A sister can be every bit the best man – if not better. You’ve known him longer, you know all the family in-jokes and you’ve probably got considerable dirt on him.
To help you write your magnum opus, here are some of Speechy’s top tips for the perfect Sister of the Bride speech.
(*Or, if you already know you need some expert help – jump to the bottom of the post to check out our Speechy Services which could help you! We’re TV comedy scriptwriters by trade (writing for BBC shows like Have I Got News For You, Dead Ringers & The News Quiz) but we’re wedding connoisseurs heart. )
Step 1: Gather Your Intel
You may know your brother better than anyone but that doesn’t mean you can just improv your way through a speech. The perfect speech requires planning!
At the heart of all wedding speeches are a collection of heartfelt and hilarious memories. So start by just having a good old think about these, noting every one down on a piece of paper.Then getting flicking/scrolling – old photo albums, facebook, instagram – maybe even pay a trip to your family house to go through mementoes. And while you’re here, you can even get together with other family members to share memories.
Of course, your speech is not only an opportunity to tease your brother, you also have carte blanche to make fun of your parents and the way they brought you both up. Remember how they wouldn’t let you watch Hollyoaks or eat sugar after 4 pm? ‘Well, mum, there’s a three-tier cake over there with our name on it, and YOU can’t do anything about it.’
Did you grow up squabbling or were you always as thick as thieves? Was one of you ALWAYS the favourite growing up? If so, it’s time to dish the dirt. Lovingly of course!
Step 2: Structure Your Speech
Hopefully, there’ll be some kind of theme emerging from all your stories. This is likely to centre around that one thing that perfectly sums up your brother – whether its that he’s a control freak, together you’re the perfect partners in crime or he just loves golf far too much.
This will make it easy to decide on a theme for the speech; a narrative thread that will help give your speech some structure.
Although there aren’t really many ‘rules’ as such for something as atypical as a Sister of the Bride speech, presumably your speech will be filling in for the ‘best man’ speech.
Either way, you don’t need to welcome people to the wedding or think about thank yous either. These will be handled by the father of the bride & the groom generally.
Of course, something you DO have to do is compliment your brother’s choice of partner! If helps if this is sincere (but not essential). Again, try to avoid cliches and highlight anything you’ve bonded over (whether it’s a good Merlot or a tolerance of your brother).
Step 3: Get It Write
Hopefully you have a good idea for a theme. If so, it’s ready to start writing!
One way we like to simplify the writing process is to split the speech into sub-headings – the sections you know will make up your speech. For example, if the theme is centred around how you’ve always been partners in crime, you’d break it down into ‘early days’, ‘examples of getting into trouble as grown ups’, ‘learning to be on the straight and narrow’, etc. Then, you’d insert any stories that fit these categories below and simply connect them when writing.
Also, if you choose this theme, bonus points for adding in crime-related language, jokes and similes. And make sure you include a section on their new bride!
Once you’ve tied the stories together and added the flair, keep going over it to ‘punch it up’ as much as you can. Be your own worst critic.
Invite others to read it too, but here’ss the tricky thing – you have to take their feedback on board. If they don’t get a joke, don’t bother explaining it to them. You won’t be able to do that on the day!
Written the perfect speech? Great! Now it’s time to master it.
Practising reading the speech out loud, five times in a row. It’s a simple but effective memory technique. And read your speech just before you go to bed. It sounds ridiculous, but apparently, this is the best time to memorise something – scientifically proven!
Of course, you don’t need to know your speech by heart but you need to be familiar with it.
It’s fine to have notes on the day and using electronic devices to read from is now commonplace as it avoids ‘paper shake’ or faffing about with cards. The need to maintain eyecontact with the guests remains paramount to a good delivery. As does smiling – which is scientifically proven (again) to be infectious.