Wedding Speech Q & A

I don’t trust the best man to give a decent speech. I’m sure it’s going to be filled with inappropriate stories and rude jokes. Help!
You can certainly get the groom to remind the best man that there’ll be grannies and children at the wedding but that’s likely to fall on deaf ears. The most effective guidance is stipulating a time limit of no longer than ten minutes per speech. At least that way you know your suffering will be limited! Ultimately be prepared to grin and bear it. Everyone understands that the best man is traditionally embarrassing so listen with good humour if you can. A glass of champagne always helps!

My dad and stepdad are both special people to me. How do I decide who gives a speech and more importantly, how do I break it to them?
A really common dilemma these days. A good idea is to suggest one of them gives a reading during the ceremony. Make sure they know it’s truly meaningful to you. Another idea is to side-track the issue by getting the mother of the bride or some other special person to give a speech instead! Of course make sure your dad and stepdad are both thanked in either the groom’s speech or your own if you’re giving one.

I’ve got loads of funny friends and family. How many speeches can a wedding cope with?
We’d recommend no more than four if you’re having traditional scripted speeches. However if you’re up for a bit of fun then how about ‘spontaneous speeches’? It’s an idea that allows everyone to get involved if they want to. Your invites should explain that you’re not having formal speeches but would ‘like our friends to feel free to call for silence and say something (nice!) or read a verse, or just say Hooray or raise a toast’. This idea takes the pressure off the traditional speakers and is also a lot of fun on the day.

I suspect a couple of the speakers will go on a bit. How do I stop guests getting bored?
A cool idea is scheduling a speech between each course of the wedding breakfast. This avoids the ‘speech clump’ and gives guests something interesting to talk about throughout their meal too. There’s also ‘speech bingo’ (where guests mark off wedding clichés or comedy phrases related to the couple) or a ‘speech sweepstake’ (where guests bet on the length of the speeches) if you want some sense of involvement.

My partner’s dad recently passed away. How can he pay a tribute to him within his groom’s speech?
As much as it’s heart-breaking that someone so important can’t share your day it’s important to remember that a wedding speech is a celebration and not a eulogy. Keep all mentions of the dearly departed till the end of the speech and frame it with affection as opposed to grief. If your partner can talk about his father fondly without the threat of tears then he can simply include stories about you and his dad meeting and how much you both enjoyed each other’s company. If mentioning his father still reduces him to tears then a more subtle reference at the end may be more suitable, for example, ‘Please raise a toast to not only the love of my life, but my father who loved her too. To love… ‘

Wedding speech dilemma… should I attempt a musical speech?
Sure! Singing your speech to a classic tune is getting more popular and musical speeches are a lot of fun (just check out youtube for evidence). A few crucial reminders… don’t feel you need to sing the length of the song; a couple of verses is usually enough before the joke wears thin. Rehearse a lot and make sure the sound system works.

Do I need to memorise my speech?
No. Rehearse it as often as you can and familiarise yourself with it but why give yourself the pressure of not having cue cards? As long as you maintain good eye contact with the guests, using notes is completely legitimate, especially on a day when everything is so overwhelming and your brain is a little bit frazzled.

My fiancée is very nervous about giving a speech, how can I help him?
Guide him to a good speech writing service who will help him create a speech that he’ll actually look forward to giving. Alternatively offer to be his speech side-kick. Mr and Mrs speeches are becoming more common and are really fun too. You immediately become a comedy double act and you get to work as a team. It takes the pressure off the groom and it also allows you to have your say. Win-win!

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