There are many pitfalls to a groom speech, but perhaps the biggest trap for any speech, especially wedding speeches, is their length. A speech can be completely boring, and totally devoid of humour, but if it’s only 4 minutes, then it can be forgiven – at least by the guests, although I’m not sure the bride would share that sentiment. Grooms can all too frequently get the balance wrong when it comes to talking about parents on both sides, and more often than not, they’ll have plenty to say about the ushers or groomsmen, and give names only for the bridesmaids. Again, if you manage to make all these howlers in less than 7 minutes, then all you’ll have to deal with is some very irate parents and bridesmaids at the bar later.
However, if you do, what so many grooms do, and cram in as much content as possible, then there might be quite a queue at the bar. It’s a huge temptation for so many grooms, to include as much detail as they can when talking about all the key players in the speech, and this is a massive mistake. Less is more in a wedding speech, because you’re almost certainly one of 3 speeches if not more, and if you’re pushing the timings boundaries, then the whole section of speeches is going to unravel.
There is simply not enough time, or wider appetite, for you to expand on the relationship with your parents in granular detail, no matter how much you’d like to. Try recounting stories of you and your in-laws time together, and before you know it, you’re 800 words deep into what is quickly becoming a mini lecture. And then there’s the best man and ushers. So many grooms want to include separate stories for each of their close friends and/or brothers, and this adds exponentially to the misery of the experience.
The best speeches in the world do what they do in the most efficient way, and only you will really know what you’ve left out. It’s quite possible to do justice to all the important people in your life, but you need to really focus on being as economical with words as possible. You also need to remember that a good chunk of those words should be reserved for the bride.
So, resist the temptation to make this speech a ‘voyage around my life’ and instead stick to a sensible word count, and saying fewer things of greater quality. Everyone will love you for it, and the chances of getting lynched at the bar are next to zero.