Your Bride Speech
How to write a great bride speech without resorting to cliches, predictable jokes, old fashioned etiquette or being overly soppy? Well, you can start by reading this.
The Speechy team are scriptwriters by trade and after decades of entertaining TV audiences, we’ve turned our story-telling skills to helping people write amazing wedding speeches.
After working with hundreds of same-sex couples around the world (and a few straight ones too), we know what works and what certainly doesn’t when it comes to speeches. And here’s the good news; we’re willing to tell you.
Follow our advice and we promise your speech will get more compliments than the dress… *
*Of course, if you’re looking for more than ‘advice’, check out our speech template (specifically designed for girls marrying girls), speech edit service or our bespoke speech writing service. Our team of renegade wordsmiths are rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot for a reason.
Who's going to give a speech?
How are you and your bride going to divide speech duty? Is just one of you addressing your guests (though it seems like a missed opportunity) or do you both want to deliver a speech? Another option is giving a joint speech (we LOVE em!), and you can find out more about joint speeches here.
Let’s assume you’re both delivering speeches; make sure you’re not doubling up on the thanks or the stories. Sure, you’ll each want to thank both sets of parents, but only one of you gets to tell the story about when you got locked in the pub.
Work out how you’ll schedule the speeches. If you have more than three, consider having one after each course of the wedding dinner or even saving one till the evening do (though that’s a risky strategy if there’s a free bar).
Tailor your wedding speech style to fit the scene you’ve set. Have you invited a lot of older relatives who expect a certain level of decorum or just a dozen of your Pacha amigos who want Jagger Bombs on tap? Are you dressed traditionally or are you a Rock n Roll Bride (if you haven’t decided yet – these sites might help Rock N Roll Bride, Dancing With Her, Equally Wed & Hello May).
Whatever style of wedding you opt for, make sure your speech reflects it.
The role of your speech is to
- make all the gorgeous guests feel welcome
- thank the important people
- sing the praises of the woman you’ve just married
Here’re the people you may want to thank
- your parents
- your in-laws
- your side-kicks for the day – bridesmaids etc
There may be others you want to mention (children or your partner already have?) but resist the urge to read out half the guest list. Nothing kills off a speech quicker than a tedious thank you list.
Five speech rules
A heart-warming tribute to your bride should be the focus of your speech but remember every bride thinks her partner is gorgeous, kind and generally amaaazing.
Cut the cliches and concentrate on what makes your woman unique.
Is she a library-lover, a technology fiend, a devoted foodie? Nailing her individual and quirky characteristics shows you ‘get her’ Avoid words like ‘soulmate’ or ‘beautiful’, anything that’s overused.
Avoid too many adjectives and instead provide the evidence. Prove, don’t tell!
All wedding speeches need to be humorous. That’s what hooks people into your story and makes speeches a wedding highlight.
Of course, being funny isn’t about finding good jokes on the internet but rather making witty observations about your relationship.
Conduct a courtship-autopsy; what have you and your girlfriend done together, what you argue about, what seems to be a regular theme in your relationship, how do you frustrate each other? See what you can have fun with.
Remember the adage ‘it’s funny because it’s true’ and read our How to Be Funny Guide on our blog.
Right, this is the crucial bit. 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 example might be a teacher who talks about the lessons she’s learnt from her partner over the years – the good, the bad and the ability to now shout a range of football chants. Or it could be a story about the strange quirks of fate that brought you two together. If your partner’s a Star Wars fan, maybe you could use Yoda quotes to talk about what makes a successful marriage!
Find out #whatsyourstory
The length of your speech depends on whether your bride is also giving a speech.
If you’re both giving a speech – aim for five or six mins, if it’s just you then you can plan for about eight minutes (ten allowing for laughter and ad-libs).
Remember one ever has ever listened to a wedding speech and said ‘if only it were longer’.
Once you write your first draft, edit it down to half the length. We promise it will make it a hundred times stronger.
As Ernest Hemingway said ‘the first draft of anything is shit’.
Don’t bother mentioning you’re marrying a woman.
It’s blooming obvious. Let’s hope your guests are up to speed with same-sex marriages and are more interested in their salmon soufflés than they are your sexuality.
Don’t be tempted to turn your speech into a sermon about equal rights – the fact you’re marrying a women doesn’t grant you the right to be preachy or pompous on your wedding day. Guests just want to hear about your romantic love story.
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.
Toast something meaningful
Ideally something that will make your bride and guests smile – maybe ‘a lifetime of dancing on tables’
Practise your speech and film it on your phone
Watch it back and spot where your speech can be improved.
Talk slower than feels natural
It’s what those authoritative people do to make themselves seem more intelligent.
Don't thank the caterers or the venue
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 too gushing for the bedroom.
Don't be afraid to use cue cards
Try to memorise the speech but don’t be afraid to use notes on the day (your brain will be scrambled).
Don’t give gifts
If you’re planning on giving gifts, give them earlier in the day, so the process doesn’t disrupt the flow of your speech, & the guests aren’t tempted to start checking their WhatsApp.