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wedding running order

Who Should Give A Speech At A Wedding

Who Should Give A Speech At A Wedding

Traditionally the wedding speech running order was the father of the bride, the groom and the best man. Three blokes and only one of them was meant to be funny. at Speechy, we're encouraging couples to think a bit more creatively.

(*Of course, if you’re looking for more than ‘advice’, check out all the different ways the Speechy team can help you write & deliver a great speech. Or check out our new AI-powered team member, SpeechyAI.)

In a world where we have same-sex marriages, more diverse family setups, people getting married later in life, and, who would believe it, women who are funny – we think we can make the lineup a bit more interesting.

FIRSTLY, THE POLITICS 

Yes, let’s get the dull (and stressful) bit out of the way first. Sometimes deciding who speaks at your wedding comes down to politics rather than who you’d actually like to hear from on the day.

There are lots of debates to be had… Father of the bride or stepdad? The groom’s slightly nerdy but reliable buddy from school or his comedy wing-man? And of course that’s all before we start thinking about which of the girls would give ‘great mic’ or factoring in any of the other curveball suggestions we have.

Our advice is to think of it like this…

  • Who’s the best person to talk about newlywed 1? 
  • Who’s the best person to pay a tribute to newlywed 2? 
  • And who’s the best person (people?) to represent the newly-hitched, thank everyone for coming and drop a mini-love-bomb on the party? 

When it comes to the ‘best’ person, you have to work out what you want from your speeches. Are you the sentimental type or do you just want to entertain your guests and get them all laughing? Who will genuinely enjoy giving a speech and who’s likely to be sloshed before you even get to the speeches? Lots of things to consider.

If you find your dream lineup differs from the traditional one then it’s about being tactful and sensitive. If you know being dropped from the lineup might upset some people, then it might be worth sticking to tradition but having an additional speaker. Of course, it’s worth thinking creatively about how the situation can be handled.

You could, for example, suggest the groom has multiple best men, each with a different role on the day. You can say this is so one bloke isn’t overwhelmed on the day (and they all get a dance with the fit bridesmaid) – but really it’s just about getting the best bloke behind the mic. Sneaky? Perhaps. But you get what you want and no one is left crying.

Ultimately everyone should understand this is ‘your day’ (cliché klaxon) but sometimes that’s not the reality of the situation.

WOMEN

Yes, call us modern millennials if you must (clearly we’re not), but we reckon women are worth thinking about.

Women (generally) still take on the lion’s share of wedding prep but they’re a remarkably underused resource on the day. Sure, there’s a lot of Champagne to get through but girls, it’s only five to eight minutes from the start of a speech to the toast. You can handle that.

The fact is, getting a woman behind the wedding mic brands your wedding as modern and a bit less ordinary.

Of course, no bride should feel pressure to give a speech if it genuinely isn’t her thing but at least consider it. Or maybe even, a joint speech (a trend that’s set to get even bigger).

THE ‘OLDIES’ 

Grandmas and grandpas. It doesn’t really matter what they say, they’re guaranteed to get everyone smiling.

Ask them to read out a classic Pam Ayres poem or just a couple of (comedy) lines offering you their very personal marriage advice. Often this can be on the cheeky side (result!) or sometimes, it can offer a real insight into how timeless love really is (hankies at the ready girls!).

older man laughter anniversary speech

THE YOUNG ONES

This obviously works especially well if you or your partner already have children – but godsons, nieces, any little tyke really, can be entertaining.

Clearly, tailor their input depending on their age. Teenagers often love writing their own speeches but they have the potential to waffle on. Limit their speech to a 500-word count and encourage them to test it out on an adult before the actual day!

Even pre-school children can get involved if you plan it well. Maybe just get them to hold up comedy signs at suitable points throughout the groom’s speech. There’s nothing better than a five-year-old heckler to get people laughing!

EVERYONE

One way to shake up the scheduling debate is to invite everyone who fancies it to stand up, clink their glass, and give an ‘ad hoc’ toast during the meal or between courses.

You can suggest the idea in your invites and get the MC to remind guests of this opportunity prior to sitting down.

The benefit is, not only is it fun to get everyone involved, it also takes the pressure off the ‘main’ speakers.

Of course, you may still want to get proper, loving tributes from your family and some hardcore roastings from your mates, but this idea allows your naughty cousin to get involved, as well as your lovely boss and your twelve-year-old nephew.

It basically ensures you have a solid couple of hours of people throwing massive compliments and love-bombs in your direction and, really, who can argue with that?

wedding speeches uncle of bride hire a writer

Well…

…the possible downside is that people have too much to drink, speakers babble on for far too long and it all descends into chaos. That’s fine if you’re cool with that but make sure the important people get heard too.

Prep anyone not on the metaphoric ‘top table’ to keep their toasts to less than two minutes and make sure your MC is assertive enough to call time on anyone who goes on too long.

Eduardo Braniff, Editor-in-Chief at Men’s Vows, is a fan: ‘The concept gives guests who are moved the opportunity to express it. And I always love the little glimmers of truth that get divulged along the way.

Get a good MC moderating so there remains a sense of control. You need someone assertive and witty enough to bring a rambling toast to a conclusion.’

Alison Hargreaves, founder of Guide for Brides, is less of a fan… ‘Spontaneous speeches are a good idea for second marriages when couples want to move on from the traditional speeches but the downside is people often feel obliged to say something when they don’t actually have that much to say. It can become very repetitive.’

Personally, I’ve been to a couple of weddings where the idea hasworked really well. It’s obviously more suited to the boho, relaxed wedding vibe as opposed to a formal affair.

If you fancy it, here’s how you can invite your guests to get involved….

ONCE YOU’VE CHOSEN YOUR LINEUP…

The next challenge is deciding How To Schedule Your Speeches. Hope our advice helps.

The Speechwriting Experts

The Speechy team are TV-trained scriptwriters/comedians by trade & we’ve helped 1,000s of speakers around the world deliver their dream speech.

Our advice has been quoted everywhere from The New York Times to Grazia and from Forbes to The Observer. Our founder has also featured on the BBC Sounds’ Best Men podcast with Jason Manford and written ‘The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches’, published by Little, Brown.

Heidi and the Speechy Team

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We’re rated ‘Excellent' on Trustpilot for a reason...

''I had an unbelievable experience working with Speechy. From the moment I got in touch with them I felt supported and come the day of my best mans speech, it went down a storm with a standing ovation.''
''Speechy deserves more than 5 stars. (They) produced a factual, funny Mother of the Bride speech with just the right amount of emotion..... it was ingenious. Thank you so much for the wonderful & priceless memory of having delivered my speech at my daughter’s wedding and nailed it ... and got a standing ovation too. My children were very proud of me, including my new son-in-law! ''
''These Guys are tremendous! One main point is that its not their speech - its yours! This is because it is based totally around what you would like to say, but its the spin that Speechy puts on it, that is the magical bit... Ordinary words become a hilariously entertaining event. There were giggles, applauds, laughs, tears, cheers and standing ovation – all in that order!''
''Feeling anxious or stressed about an upcoming speech? Look no further than Speechy... I just delivered my Best Man speech this past weekend and absolutely crushed it. I was nervous leading up to the moment, but while delivering my speech, I didn't want the experience to end, the room was hooked, and laughing at every joke. Worth every penny... Thank you!''
''Navigating through the wedding industry often feels like you’re stuck on a conveyer belt....Speechy is the complete opposite. They treat you and your wedding like you’re the one and only. I couldn’t recommend them more.''
''Heidi and the whole team at Speechy are an absolute gem! In addition to their talent and extensive experience in speech writing, Heidi had an impressive way of listening to me talk about mine and my partners personal anecdotes, before putting it in such a funny and beautiful way that it felt as though she’d known us for years.''
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