Your Couple Speech
Whether it’s a bride & groom or a same-sex wedding speech – joint speeches are a wedding trend that’s set to stay. It’s a great way of saying, BOOM, we’re a team. And who doesn’t love a double act?
It also makes a lot of sense – you both get to thank your friends and family, and you can practise without feeling the need to hide in a cupboard.
Lots of our clients have said their joint speech became the epicentre of their wedding day. But, of course, a joint speech is a tricky thing to pull off. That’s why we’ve written the ultimate guide to rocking it.
Joint Speech Etiquette
A joint speech follows the same etiquette principles as a groom speech.
1. Thank Yous
Make sure you thank…
- everyone for coming
- both sets of parents
- the 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 speech quicker than a tedious thank you list, esp if you’re one of the few guests who doesn’t get a mention.
With each of the thanks, one of you should lead it and the other throw in a comedy line at the end. Of course with the parents, it’s worth you both paying a tribute to each (always good to keep in with the in-laws).
If you’re planning on giving thank you gifts to any of the wedding party we recommend giving them personally earlier in the day so the process doesn’t disrupt the flow of your speech and the guests aren’t tempted to start checking their WhatsApp messages.
3. The Dearly Departed
How to write a joint wedding speech
STEP 1 – Gather Your Material
Right, this needs to be fun. Get a bottle of wine, a big sheet of paper and have, what they referred to in the ’90s as, a ‘brainstorm’. Think about…
- Your stories – Conduct a courtship autopsy and see what you have to play with. Think about the big events; meeting each other, your first date, when you knew they were ‘the one’. We’re not looking for the soppy stories; we’re looking for the stories that show you’re both as bonkers as each other. Find out #Whatsyourstory?
- Themes – How would people describe you as a couple? Are there any common bonds or are there clear differences? Play up to your relationship dynamic. This will help create a narrative.
- The thank yous – Get them agreed (remembering the ruthless rule) and decide who does who (sorta speak).
Step 2 – Structure Your Speech
First rule, don’t start with the thank yous. Get on with the story first, leave the thank yous till the end.
Then think of the narrative hook that will hold all your random anecdotes and ‘to dos’ together.
Let’s say you both happen to be teachers; your theme might be ‘the lessons you’ve learnt from each other’. Your structure might look something like this…
- Hello and Welcome
- Thank everyone for coming – and set up the theme, e.g. ‘two teachers getting married today…bet you’re wondering who gets detention first. We’ve certainly learnt a lot from each other over the years…’
- Lesson 1 – What NOT to say on the first date (anecdote about weeing himself / big fan of Kardashians etc.)
- Lesson 2 – How love makes you do stupid things (example of losing car etc)
- Lesson 3 – How to share a house with someone very different (a ping pong table does not count as furniture)
- Lesson 4 – How NOT to propose
- The Thank Yous
- Dearly Departed (if any)
Step 3 – Get Writing
Yep, this is the hard bit, and may or may not prove to be your toughest relationship challenge to date. You thought table planning was tricky?! Nothing compared to writing a joint speech. So our advice? Avoid it!
Yes, we suggest one of you write the first draft, and the other one improves it. Even this will require some negotiation but at least you won’t be debating words as you write.
Divide the speech, so you each have small sections to deliver (2 – 6 sentences) and alternate throughout. You want to establish a clear flow and support each other’s narrative… e.g.
- GROOM – Yes it was a surprise finding out we were going to have a baby. Neither of us had changed a nappy in our lives. Neither of us had a clue about the variety of goo that can lurk in those things or the challenges that lay ahead. We’d never watched a minute of Nickelodeon let along three hours of it back to back.
- BRIDE – We had absolutely no idea. We couldn’t have imagined a time when being up at two am didn’t involve drinking beer and passing out under someone’s table.
- GROOM– And we could never have imagined the tantrums that can result in daring to feed a toddler with the wrong coloured spoon.
- BRIDE – But of course the one thing that we had absolutely no idea about was how amazing having a child would be.
Like all good comedy duos, you need to work together and try to deliver comedy ‘ad libs’. If your relationship dynamic lends itself, one of you can play the straight man and the other the fall guy. Play with what you got.
Step 4 – Get Chopping
Just because there’s two of you delivering the speech, it can’t be double the length. In fact, you’re really only allowed an extra couple of hundreds of words – so between 1250 and 1450 MAX.
No one ever listened to a speech and wished it was longer. Punchy is best – for the overall speech and all the anecdotes & lines within it.
Step 5 – Rehearse
So, the good news is, the sole pressure of delivering your speech is off. The bad news? Delivering your speech has become a bit more complicated.
Yes, the ease of a double act takes some rehearsal. Especially if you want the ‘ad libs’ to look natural.
Read the basics of how to deliver a speech – written by our team of TV directors who know all the pro secrets – and pick up all the presenter tips you need.
Keep the joint speech a surprise
Guests will love it.
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).
Make the toast unique
Even if it’s just ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’.
Talk slower than feels natural
It’s what those authoritative people do to make themselves seem more intelligent.
Don't thank the caterers, the venue, people who have travelled far etc
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 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 forget to interact
Smile, roll your eyes, look at each other; remember you’re a double act
Couple Speech - let us help you!
Our Joint Speech Template is the ultimate DIY kit for writing and delivering a great wedding speech.
If you’d prefer a bit more bespoke help, there’s a number of services we can offer, all of which, come with a DELIGHT GUARANTEE.
And, of course, in the world of Zoom, Whatsapp and Death Wish Coffee, we work with couples around the world.