2020 will be told in wedding lore as the year we grudgingly accepted Boris Johnson as our unsolicited wedding planner, spent more face-to-face time with Joe Wicks than with our friends, taught nan to use zoom, and briefly fantasised about every wedding speech having a ‘mute all’ button.
We may even have blamed the whole thing on Carole ******* Baskin, admittedly not in our proudest moments.
Getting through it together reminded us that love (and a shitload of anxious planning/the odd emergency Netflix binge) conquers all.
Some plucky couples stripped their guest lists down to the VVIPs and went ahead with a cute and cosy ‘minimony’, while others cut their Covid losses and postponed, optimistic that 2021 would bring more certainty…
Hmm, so much for the certainty, but we’re remaining hopeful that the only tiers we’ll be fretting over this year will be covered in marzipan. Here’s what we reckon wedding speeches will look like in 2021…
ALL THE HUMOUR
Highbrow, slapstick, observational, dark, whatever… People NEED a laugh this year. We basically qualify to have it on prescription. With all the uncertainty, angst and grief that 2020 brought, everyone could do with a pick me up. Witnessing a much-loved couple say ‘I do’ is a wholesome start. Now go all in for the dopamine hit with life-affirming, belly laugh-inducing speeches.
Easy for you to say, you murmur, while scratching your head with a stress-chewed pencil. Well, true, but there’s actually no big secret to creating authentic humour. There’s a world of time-worn gags to be found on the internet, but most are naff and impersonal. What really makes people tick is identifying the unique characters – that’s you and your partner – behind your anecdotes.
Entertain your guests with ironic facts about one another – the English professor with the ‘guilty pleasure’ shelf of Jilly Cooper novels, or the chef who discovered a penchant for Pot Noodles throughout lockdown. Whatever makes your other half quirky and loveable is the stuff guests need to hear.
If living through a pandemic has taught us anything, it’s to go with the flow, right? Life’s too short for overplanning and freaking out when there are humps in the road, especially with the official rules changing so often. That said, by ‘off-script’ we obviously mean, er, a carefully crafted masterpiece practiced to within an inch of its life, but delivered in a totally spontaneous way, including ad-libs.
Why not totally off the cuff? Because speaking from the heart is important, but when you have a sea of expectant faces staring back at you, it’s easy to draw a blank. We advise drafting, editing, and rehearsing your speech well ahead of the day. Once you know it inside out, you can relax and add some unstructured humour.
As Mark Twain said, ‘it usually takes more than three weeks to prepare a good impromptu speech’. For us mere mortals, we’d suggest six.
A LOVELY SPREAD
Speeches needn’t be mashed together between the pan-fried chicken and the sticky toffee pudding. Smaller gatherings and dialled down entertainment allow for relaxed, informal toasts, so consider spreading them throughout the day, or throughout the wedding breakfast.
Going for a casual speech style sets the tone for a ‘go with the flow’ celebration – kinda necessary in these crazy times, but also supercool. Don’t imagine the speeches as a formality to get out of the way – instead see them as the entertainment. Decorate your wedding with words.
With so many unprecedented restrictions to contend with last year – no music, or music with the volume turned so low it felt distinctly un-party-like, no raised voices – that’s uncle Nige uninvited – and so on, more couples recognised the wedding speeches as a moment worth investing in.
Bespoke speeches are key to achieving the uniqueness every wedding strives for. Speechy helps hundreds of people around the world write and deliver amazing wedding speeches that capture the newlyweds’ true characters.
We know how to hone a speech to bring out the very best of you, creating a memorable moment that will stay with guests long after the wedding favours have been munched.
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THE TEAM SPEECH
Teamwork (or at least, you know, some kind of tolerance for one another) has got you through at least three lockdowns by now – why not max out on that and write a speech you can deliver together? Joint speeches can be a comfort for nervous speakers who feel happier having some back up. They’re also great for couples who are naturally silly together.
And if the two of you are chalk and cheese, this works even better for that classic comedy dynamic – the comedian and the stooge. Perhaps you tend to ‘embellish’ stories to make them more entertaining – your more level-headed partner can bring the story back down to earth with a deadpan punchline of how it really happened.
The important thing here is not to take yourselves too seriously – there’s nothing more attractive than a couple relaxed enough to send one another up. Don’t forget the cute stuff though – make guests giggle their socks off, then hit them with a love bomb right at the end.
One thing you notice when working in the wedding industry is the amount of competition there is for making things quirky or different. There are loads of ways to do this, so the speeches don’t have to be one of them. We love it when couples opt to shake up the line-up, but if you’re happier keeping things conventional, that’s absolutely fine too.
With all the changes we’ve had to adapt to over the past year, some wedding experts are predicting a return to traditional speech styles. However, you needn’t follow custom to the letter if you’re a bride and giving your own speech feels important to you. Take a look at our modern speech etiquette advice – think Bridgerton: classic with a modern twist. And less… nipples?
IN JOKES... IN
We almost always caution against using in-jokes in your wedding speech. But uncertain times call for a re-think of the normal rules. Smaller ceremonies with more intimate guest lists allow for more personal and niche anecdotes – chances are most of the people there are already privy to the information or were there when the funny stuff happened!
One perk to having far fewer guests is that you can include them all in your speech if you want to. Clearly, the majority of your content needs to be about you and your partner, but a gorgeous way of bringing everyone there together is reminding them what part they’ve played in your journey together – from the best man who first introduced you, to your nan who gives the best marriage advice.
Wedding planning is often an emotional time. Wedding planning while living through a pandemic means this is heightened tenfold. While we believe that all wedding speeches should be heavy on the humour and lighter on the sweetness, this year allows you to bend that rule – a little.
By no means give up on winning those belly laughs but do feel free to acknowledge the challenges we’ve all had this year. Keep things positive – you finally made it, after all – but be sentimental if you like. If lockdown really did make you reassess the important things in life, say so. Guests will be able to relate.
It’s true that people won’t remember what you said, they’ll remember how you made them feel. Unless you say something really dodgy about them – they probably will remember that.
THE SEQUEL SPEECH
Perhaps you went ahead with your original date last year and are now planning more of a big bash vibe. Finally seeing those extra guests who missed out on the official ceremony certainly calls for a speech – it’s a great way to reconnect with everyone.
Build on your original content but go for a change in tone. Sure, show your guests how loved up you are, but remember this is the party speech – now is definitely a time for making them LOL. Cut back on the thank yous and go straight to the funny stuff.
Describe your wedded bliss under lockdown so far, being as irreverent as you like. Say you’ve come to terms with the fact you could never go through with that ‘couples start up’ fantasy – not after seeing the horror show that is your partner’s madly disorganised ‘home office’. But an unexpected perk has been receiving a daily ‘made with love’ cheese toastie for lunch in place of what’s normally on offer in the grotty work canteen.
THE DIGITAL SPEECH
Of course, we have to prepare for the eventuality that we may have to wait a little longer for those big gatherings. If you go ahead with a small crowd, consider broadcasting your speech via Zoom to the many guests who are unable to attend in person. Invite them to wear fancy clothes for the occasion – at least from the waist up!
Obviously remember to mute everyone – no one needs 100 hecklers coming at them from a MacBook while delivering their speech. Though this of course means you won’t get to hear the well-earned laughter either – that little clapping emoji isn’t quite the same. Unmute everyone at the end so they can show their appreciation.
Alternatively, if going live feels too nerve-wracking or complicated. Simply record the speeches and host a Facebook watch party after the event. Then you can enjoy watching your speech back with a couple of Proseccos without worrying you’ll forget your lines or slur your words.
Champagne, yes. But also… one option for a Covid-safe wedding in 2021 may be having guests seated in ‘pods’ so that they can remain in their socially distanced bubble and still get to watch you give a slamming speech.
As the year unfolds, it may be possible to invite more guests, as long as tables are made up of 4-6 people from one household. Depending on the tone of your day, this could look quite formal, or more relaxed as a picnic-style garden party.
Since this requires spacing guests out more than usual, you may need to consider using a microphone so everyone can hear those amazing anecdotes you’ve been working on.
HOW SPEECHY CAN HELP
Between us, we’ve decades of experience in the entertainment biz. Weddings aren’t all that different – people are just after a bit of escapism from the humdrum of normal life. If you require any help with writing or delivering your speech, we’re here for you.
If you know you need more than just advice, check out all our products and bespoke speech packages.