SOUTH ASIAN GROOM SPEECH ETIQUETTE
As speeches are a relatively new addition to the South Asian wedding scene, there is no hard and fast etiquette to follow – just good old-fashioned common sense and a desire to keep everyone happy and entertained (still quite a big ask actually!).
So, first up….
- WELCOME EVERYONE – Don’t confuse this with thinking you need to namecheck half your guests. If you start thanking your second-cousin-once-removed for travelling all the way from Jaipur then you’re going to be there all day!
- THANK THE IMPORTANT PEOPLE – That’s your close family, your bride’s close family and both your sets of friends/family who have played vital roles in the wedding. Don’t feel you need to thank anyone who has been paid for their services. Remember, nothing is as tedious for the guests as listening to a list of thank yous, especially if you don’t get one yourself!
- LENGTH –You may feel you have a lot to say once you get writing your speech but no one ever listened to a speech and thought ‘If only it were longer‘. Speeches are wittier, punchier and more profound when they’re shorter – so make sure your speech is between 1000 and 1500 at an absolute maximum. Take into consideration how many others will be giving a speech (and set them a maximum duration if you think they’re likely to take up too much time on the mic!).
- PAY A TRIBUTE TO YOUR WIFE – Strangely, we’ve seen wedding speeches where the groom has hardly mentioned his wife in his speech! Yes, it’s easy to get caught up googling wedding speech etiquette and thinking your job is to thank everyone – but actually, the core of your speech should be a heartfelt tribute to your new partner. This is a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to shout about the person you love, so don’t miss your chance (or you’ll be in trouble!)
- ENTERTAIN – Yes, as well as the romantic bit, you need to make people laugh. Some people see this as the best man’s job (if you have one) but why would you want him to take all the glory. Any good speech needs to contain an element of comedy, and trust us, any loving relationship provides plenty of material!
- THE GROOM TOAST – Your toast is simply a line or two at the end of your speech that encourages your guests to celebrate your marriage, possibly with a sip of champagne or simply a cheer. Some grooms focus their toast on their new bride but we like to encourage grooms to be a bit more creative. How about ‘Here’s to a life of love, laughter and lots of dancing. Now, let’s kickstart our marriage with the biggest party this side of Panamik. Here’s to celebrating!’
Rules For Writing A Great Groom Speech
- START WITH SOME WIT – Once you get your first laugh, both you and your guests will relax and enjoy the rest of the speech – so get it in early. You’re looking for a witty one-liner but resist the urge to google the usual cheesy wedding gags. Instead, make sure your humour is original simply by observing what you have to play with… an unusual venue perhaps (‘a little of Bollywood in Melbourne’s Toorak’), the guests themselves (‘more Mohun Bagan fans here today than their Kolkata grounds’) or something to do with the extensive wedding planning (‘who knew that you needed so many outfits just to get married, and that the colour of socks could actually be a deal-breaker!’). Here’s some Indian Groom Wedding Planning Inspo for you!
- TELL A STORY – Your speech should be more than a few thank yous, some compliments to the bride and a few more ticked off ‘to dos’. This is your chance to add an awesome moment to your wedding and considering the spectacle you’re likely to be competing with, your speech needs to be truly memorable.
- The focus of your speech should be love and your relationship, so spend time thinking about what brought you two together, what you’ve achieved over the years, and what great memories you now share. Don’t resort to the obvious stuff or show off about romantic you are. Yes, how you met is important but the proposal? Less so. Unless, of course, it went wrong and it provides you with a funny story!
- CUT THE CLICHES – Try not to google too much wedding speech advice (yes, strange recommendation coming from a wedding speech blog!). If you read too many of the free templates you’ll just end up resorting to the same old cheesy cliches and platitudes. ‘Soulmate’, ‘beautiful’, ‘the one’ – all the same words and phrases that every groom uses.
- Instead, try to look at what makes your bride and your relationship truly unique. Is your bride a nerdy library-lover, is she an insta-obsessed gym queen or is she the only woman in the world who makes you want to dance to Shah Rukh Khan tracks? Find her individual qualities & quirks, and show you love her for the distinctive, wonderful person she is.
- BE ORIGINAL – And it’s not just your bride who deserves a bit of thought, it’s anyone you want to thank. Rather than thank your in-laws for ‘helping with the wedding planning and raising such a wonderful daughter’, thank your mother-in-law for her exceptional gulab jamun and your father in law for appreciating the comic genius of Kapil Sharma as much as you do. Make it known you appreciate them as individuals as well as the parents of the woman you love.
- GET EXPERT HELP – When you’re hosting a large wedding (and let’s face it, even small Asian weddings are generally on the chubby side) it pays to invest in your speech. If you’ve already started writing your speech, you may have already discovered it’s hard being witty, insightful, and talk from the heart! And that’s why more and more couples are choosing to work with professional wordsmiths such as the Speechy team. And if it’s writing credentials you’re after, you really can’t get better than a team of (BBC trained) TV scriptwriters who have been rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot.
Delivering Your Groom Speech
- REHEARSE – And rehearse as much as you can! Of course, it’s fine to use notes on the day but you need to be really familiar with the flow of the speech, where to put emphasis and where to pause for effect. The better you memorise the speech, the more you can concentrate on your delivery.
- Scientific studies have proven that writing out your speech helps cement it into your memory, as does reciting it three times just before you go to bed!
- FAKE CONFIDENCE – Even if you’re not a natural public speaker, when it’s time to deliver your speech, stand up and smile! It seems too simple to be effective but even a fake smile tricks your body into relaxing. And if your guests think you’re enjoying yourself, they’re more likely to relax and enjoy themselves too!
- AVOID ALCOHOL – Sorry to disappoint anyone but Dutch courage is a myth. Even a couple of glasses of champers is more likely to stress rather than relax you!
- ROADTEST YOUR DELIVERY – A great speech can be ruined by poor delivery so why not get a bit of sneaky expert delivery coaching in advance? The Speechy team has directed numerous celebs – from Sharon Osbourne to Top Gear’s Richard Hammond – so we know the tricks of the presenting trade.