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Small Wedding Speech

Small Wedding Speech

You’ve bought into the ‘small is beautiful’ theme and maybe even feel smug at the lack of table planning or debt incurred. Here's Speechy's guide to how your wedding speeches can make a BIG impact on your (perfectly sized) big day.

(*Of course, if you’re looking for more than ‘advice’, check out all the different ways the Speechy team can help you write & deliver a great speech. Or check out our new AI-powered team member, SpeechyAI.)

1 – RECOGNISE THE ROMANCE OF A SMALL WEDDING

No need for the googled-wedding-gags. Certainly no need for tradition. And no need to try to cater to a hundred-odd folk with various sensibilities.

Instead, a speech at a small wedding requires intimacy. Giggling. Mini revelations. Interacting and ad libs. And a genuine and heartfelt thank you to everyone present.

And here’s a secret… you might not have the themed decor or the cool DJ vibes of a larger wedding but guests LOVE small weddings. Guests know they’re desperately wanted (nobody is a plus-one at a wedding of 15!) and there’s something extra romantic in two people just wanting to get hitched rather than wait for the huge party to go with it.

You’re delivering a speech to a crowd who you’ve already won over, so have fun with it!

2- OPENING LINES

Forget the ‘ladies and gentlemen’ bit and crack right on.

Remind your guests that they’re literally your favourite people in the world and thank them for coming.

Like any good wedding speech, get humour into your first couple of lines, maybe something like this…

  • Thank you for coming to our slimmed-down wedding. There’s no DJ, no hog roast, but fortunately, no one has to sit next to the Rugby boys.
  • Welcome to our little wedding. It’s not fancy, it’s not expensive but it is a day filled with love and that’s because you’re with us.
  • Welcome to our little wedding day. Now, we may not have a hundred-odd people here to celebrate with us today but please consider it your duty to eat, drink, and dance as if there was. You are our dearest friends and family and we want you to have as much fun as us today.
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3 – SCHEDULING YOUR SPEECHES

Think about scheduling the speeches a bit differently.

Rather than have them all clumped together either before or after the meal, plan them so you have one before the meal, one after the starter and one after the main. It helps make the wedding meal feel more wedding-y and works better in the context of a smaller wedding.

Just warn the waiting staff in advance of your plans.

4 – GO SCANDI

This is a wedding trend that originates from Scandinavia and it works well at small weddings. The idea of spontaneous wedding toasts is to invite any guest to stand up and give a toast if they so desire.

Simply suggest the idea to your guests when you invite them to the day. You can keep the brief wide (‘just feel free to stand up and propose a toast’) or give them a mini-brief (‘we’d like everyone to stand up and give us their best piece of marriage advice before proposing a toast’).

As well as taking some pressure off the traditional speakers, guests generally like to get involved and wish the couple well. The toasts could literally be 30 secs long but encourage people to be no more than 3 mins. Warn them in advance!

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5 – RESIST THE SEARCH ENGINES

Many speakers rely on cliches and groansome googled gags but recycled jokes are never particularly funny and at a smaller wedding, they become even more cringey and obvious.

To win those belly-laughs, you need to create your own comedy. Remember the adage, ‘it’s funny because it’s true’.Obviously, no one is expecting you to give a stand-up routine but, if you’re after inspiration, you could do worse than take a look at how the professionals do it…

Kevin Bridges’ stand-up is rooted in down-to-earth, Scottish working-class wit, while Jack Whitehall sends up his own poshness and privilege to comic effect.

Likewise, there’s no one quite like you or your partner. Capitalise on this and focus on the personality quirks that make you both recognisable and unique – is it a miracle that you found the only woman in the world willing to put up with your preference for coal tar soap? Do you have a secret fondness for his regrettable ‘Magaluf Posse 2007’ tattoo? Find the quirks of your relationship that all the guests will recognise as truly ‘you’.

Check out our guide on how to make your speech funny.

6 – RARE OPPORTUNITY FOR ‘IN’ JOKES

Presumably, the guests who made the final 15 know you and your partner better than most – here’s where we relax our righteous ‘no in-jokes’ rule. A smaller crowd allows you to be a bit more personal with the anecdotes.

Recount the cute but cringe moments in your relationship journey – chances are, half of your guests were there, and the rest will laugh picturing it. Get them in on the storytelling – invite them to contribute to the bit in your memory bank that’s missing through the blurry early days of love.

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7 – GO PROFOUND

With a smaller crowd and no plus-ones, 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 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 pin down that elusive sentiment for you already! Check out our Groom Speech Quotes or Bride Speech Quotes.

8 – EMBRACE THE COSINESS

With a small audience, the energy will naturally be lower but there are opportunities here that you won’t find with a large crowd.

We still recommend standing up to deliver your speech, but with no need for a mic, it’s easier to be expressive and use your hands to reinforce your delivery. Make sure you do!

Of course, the importance of eye contact becomes more obvious at an intimate wedding. Address whoever you’re referencing and your manner can invite them to interact with you at suitably funny moments. An eyebrow raise and a pause should suffix.

When you’re addressing your partner, focus on conveying the feeling as opposed to projecting to the crowd.

For more tips & techniques, check out our guide to delivering your speech like a pro, our groom speech advice or bride speech advice.

The Speechwriting Experts

The Speechy team are TV-trained scriptwriters/comedians by trade & we’ve helped 1,000s of speakers around the world deliver their dream speech.

Our advice has been quoted everywhere from The New York Times to Grazia and from Forbes to The Observer. Our founder has also featured on the BBC Sounds’ Best Men podcast with Jason Manford and written ‘The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches’, published by Little, Brown.

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We’re rated ‘Excellent' on Trustpilot for a reason...

''I had an unbelievable experience working with Speechy. From the moment I got in touch with them I felt supported and come the day of my best mans speech, it went down a storm with a standing ovation.''
''Speechy deserves more than 5 stars. (They) produced a factual, funny Mother of the Bride speech with just the right amount of emotion..... it was ingenious. Thank you so much for the wonderful & priceless memory of having delivered my speech at my daughter’s wedding and nailed it ... and got a standing ovation too. My children were very proud of me, including my new son-in-law! ''
''These Guys are tremendous! One main point is that its not their speech - its yours! This is because it is based totally around what you would like to say, but its the spin that Speechy puts on it, that is the magical bit... Ordinary words become a hilariously entertaining event. There were giggles, applauds, laughs, tears, cheers and standing ovation – all in that order!''
''Feeling anxious or stressed about an upcoming speech? Look no further than Speechy... I just delivered my Best Man speech this past weekend and absolutely crushed it. I was nervous leading up to the moment, but while delivering my speech, I didn't want the experience to end, the room was hooked, and laughing at every joke. Worth every penny... Thank you!''
''Navigating through the wedding industry often feels like you’re stuck on a conveyer belt....Speechy is the complete opposite. They treat you and your wedding like you’re the one and only. I couldn’t recommend them more.''
''Heidi and the whole team at Speechy are an absolute gem! In addition to their talent and extensive experience in speech writing, Heidi had an impressive way of listening to me talk about mine and my partners personal anecdotes, before putting it in such a funny and beautiful way that it felt as though she’d known us for years.''
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