First up, a confession. As a general rule, the Speechy team prefers to concentrate on storytelling rather than speech props. We worry that props can be a distraction for the audience and an unnecessary challenge for the speaker. But there are exceptions to the rule and it’s all about getting the prop right.
As a general rule, DON’T resort to using photos and present a PowerPoint presentation. Everyone looks funny as a teenager and everyone has bad-hair days so it’s not that shocking or funny. Also, the days of PowerPoint at weddings are over. It just feels like a blast from the 90s.
Other ideas to consider…
The teddy bear the groom’s mum packed when he went to university. That ‘interesting’ 3-foot painting the bride did when she was going through her ‘arty’ phase. The pair of burgundy flares that the groom refuses to bin. All the funnier for being put on display.
Guests are actually a great prop; they’re free and you don’t have to worry about losing them on the day. Involving guests in your speech is also a surefire way of grabbing their attention.
A simple idea is to get them playing a wedding version of the drinking game ‘Have you Ever?’ For example, the groom could ask a series of leading questions regarding the guest’s experience of the bride – have you ever …drunk jaggerbombs with the bride / been forced to eat a meal she’s cooked / been forced to listen to Taylor Swift on repeat for an hour? It’s a fab way of getting everyone laughing and illustrating a common bond.
The Present Prop
We’ve worked on speeches where a best man has presented the groom with a unicycle at the end of the speech (long story involved!), but the ‘present’ can really be anything that calls back to an earlier anecdote.
For example, if the bride tells the story about trying to impress her partner in the early dating days by baking a lemon cheesecake, only for him to discover she was so bad at baking, she had infact used lemon pith instead of lemon zest (true story), perhaps she can redeem herself by revealing she baked the wedding cake (and forcing her groom and guests to try it!).
Think big. One best man played with the notion that the groom (who worked in the Foreign Office) was actually a spy. The best man produced the groom’s ‘Secret Dossier’ before asking ‘security’ (a.k.a. the ushers) to put on their shades and cover the exits as the reception venue went into ‘lockdown’. With lighting and sound effects, it created quite a moment and certainly had the groom worried!
Another example is a maid of honour who pulled out her poms-poms and got the bridesmaids to perform an updated version of their sixth-form cheerleading routine in honour of the newlyweds. Luckily she’d remembered to wear shorts under her dress before attempting the cartwheel.
The Glamorous Assistant
If you’re using props, you may want to recruit a glamorous assistant to help.
Whether it’s a ‘bingo board’ as our bride’s best man is holding up in the image below, or a series of ‘Love Actually’ style cardboard cards you get your children to hold up whilst you deliver your speech, an assistant can add extra humour and something special to your delivery.
The Speech Prop
Nervous about delivering your speech and not sure how to present your notes? Turn them into a prop.
Read from the ‘Groom’s Instruction Manual’ or tell the story of ‘The Secret Adventures of Mr & Mrs xxxx’. Just commission someone to design a suitable book cover to wrap round a nice, weighty hardback book, and then paste your notes inside.
A prop that all the guests will love? How about a present they get to enjoy?
This works well for newlywed speeches and can replace traditional favours. As a call-back to your good fortune in getting married, you can hope that your guests are as lucky in life as you are… and ask them to open the envelope addressed to them on the table that contains their own scratch card! Resist the urge to suggest any winnings contribute towards the free bar!
Wedding Speech Videos
Some people are opting to make their speech a visual aid in themselves. Wedding speech videos are certainly becoming more popular with some choosing to shoot & edit it themselves and others hiring professionals to do it for them.
Some might think a video is just a way of copping out on giving a speech but actually it can add a lot more depth, content and comedy if it’s done right. ‘Mockumentaries’ work well; where the presenter goes to visit the people and places which have been important to the newlyweds. It takes a bit of effort but if it’s presented tongue in cheek it can work a treat.