Your Groom Speech

As soon as the table plans come out, most blokes panic and dive headfirst into googling etiquette and wedding gags.

This result is the usual fodder; a speech that’s clichéd, boring and just a bit blah. The standard compliments to the bride, the usual thank yous to the parents and a few cursory anecdotes do not add up to a great speech.

Actually, a good wedding speech is about good storytelling. Granted, the Speechy team are BBC scriptwriters by trade, so we’ve got a head-start on you but follow our advice, and you’ll create a speech that’s so good, your wife will want it framed.

*Of course, if you want more than ‘advice’ check out our groom speech template, speech edit service or our bespoke speech writing service. We’re rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot for a reason. 

Groom Speech Etiquette

The first rule of groom speech etiquette is – don’t get tied down with it. A lot of it’s outdated and well, blooming dull.

There’s no need to address your friends and family as ‘ladies and gentlemen’ (chances are they’re not), and you don’t need to toast the bridesmaids (though it is essential you say they’re gorgeous even if they’re already on their second bottle of Pinot).

The thank yous are, of course, important. Your marriage is frankly doomed if you forget to thank your mum in law.

The groom traditionally thanks

  • everyone for coming
  • his parents
  • his in-laws
  • his best man & ushers
  • the maid of honour & bridesmaids

Of course, there may be others you want to mention (children from previous relationships?) but resist the urge to read out half the guest list. Nothing kills off a groom speech quicker than a tedious thank you list. Keep each individual thanks to less than 50 words and include a sense of fun throughout.

If you’re planning on giving thank you gifts we recommend saying you’ll be ‘personally handing them out later’ so you don’t disrupt the flow of your speech and the guests aren’t tempted to start checking their WhatsApp messages.

If you want to know what everyone else is covering – check out Debretts, Hitched, or Confetti’s etiquette guides. Only necessary if you’re the swotty sort.

Five speech rules

So we all know this is how you’ll be judged. Here are the basic rules.

A heart-warming tribute to your bride should be the focus of your speech by every groom thinks his bride is gorgeous, kind and generally amaaaaazing.

The only way for this to sound genuine is – prove, don’t tell. Resist too many adjectives and recount the anecdotes that show your bride’s qualities in action.

Cut the clichés and concentrate on what makes your bride unique. Avoid words like ‘soulmate’ or ‘beautiful’, anything that’s overused.

Is she a library-lover, a technology fiend, a devoted foodie? Nailing her individual and quirky characteristics shows you ‘get her’ and her friends and family will love you for it.

All speeches should be funny. No one’s expecting a stand-up routine but try to get everyone chuckling within the first 20 secs. It relaxes everyone, including you.

Check out our tongue in cheek Boris Johnson groom speech spoof to get a sense of our humour.

As you’ll see, being funny isn’t about finding jokes on the internet – it’s about making witty observations about your bride, yourself and your relationship.

Whatever you do – avoid Groom Speech ‘Jokes’. You want to make your guests laugh, not groan. Remember the adage ‘it’s funny because it’s true’.

Right, this is the important bit. Rather than just a list of anecdotes and thanks yous, your speech should tell a story.

Yes, it’s made up of lots of different elements but it needs to hook people in from the beginning, establish a theme and carry that through to an almighty climax.

One basic example might be a teacher who talks about the lessons his wife has taught – the good, the bad and the ability to now name the Kardashians.

Another theme might be the groom’s interpretation of his marriage vows (e.g. man flu does indeed count as ‘sickness’).

Turning your speech into a story makes it easy to follow and entertaining. Find out #whatsyourstory

A maximum of ten mins allowing for laughter and ad-libs. You might feel you have plenty to say but be strict with yourself.

Once you write your first draft, edit it down to half the length. We promise it will make it twice as good. No one ever watched a wedding speech and thought ‘if only it were longer’. It’s the same with jokes; they’re better if they’re punchy.

Ernest Hemingway said ‘The first draft of anything is shit’. This is both true and reassuring.

The edit-process might mean cutting some of your favourite bits but you need to wipe out the waffle and cut out the cliches. Lots of sites offer quick estimates of your speech duration based on your wordcount.

A confident delivery is half the battle. Check the acoustics of the venue & get a mic if necessary (so many speeches are ruined simply because the guests can’t hear them).

Try to memorise the speech but don’t be afraid to use notes on the day (your brain will be scrambled).

Talk slower than feel natural (makes you sound more confident) & leave pauses for laughter (sometimes people need a moment to ‘get it’).

Keep your posture relaxed and remember everyone wants you to do well so make sure you smile. It’s scientifically proven to be infectious and scientists know stuff.

Read our Delivery Guide for more tips.

Speech Do's

Check with the bride

If she isn’t giving a speech then you’re speaking on behalf of her too. If nothing else, make sure she’s happy with your thank you list.

Make the thanks yous meaningful

Don’t just talk about what people have contributed to the wedding, thank them for what they’ve contributed to your life (even if it is just an appreciation on malt whiskeys). Keep each thank you less than 50 words.

Make your toast unique

Drink to ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’ or consider a #Tequilatoast

Practise your speech and film it on your phone

Watch it back, promise yourself you’ll do something about your gut and spot where your speech can be improved.

Feel free to use clever quotes

But make sure you credit the author or someone else will! Check out our Quote Inspiration guide.

Speech Don'ts

Don't thank the caterers, the venue, people who have travelled far etc.

It’s unnecessary.

Don't resort to clichés

Yes you can thank your in-laws for ‘raising such a wonderful daughter’ but try to make it personal too. Thank your mother in law for the extra inch added to your waistline since you first sampled her Yorkshire Puddings.

Don't ignore the feedback of friends

It’s always worth testing your speech on a mate, but this means you have to listen to them. If someone doesn’t get a joke, don’t waste your time explaining it as you won’t be able to do that on the day.

Don't talk over laughter

You’ve worked hard for those laughs – don’t rush them. Always wait until your guests have settled down before continuing with your speech.

Don't get overly soppy

Get the balance right between sweet and just showing off. Leave the pet names at home and keep anything overly gushing for the bedroom.

Groom Speech - let us help you!

If you want to deliver a legendary speech, work with us.

We’re rated ‘excellent’ on Trustpilot and that’s why we offer a DELIGHT GUARANTEE on all our bespoke services.

And, of course, in the world of Zoom, Whatsapp and Death Wish Coffee, we work with grooms around the world.

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