Weddings, and the traditions that they carry with them, have largely remained unchanged for many years, which is good and bad in equal measure. People can get a little too caught up in the whole business of following traditions, which are as meaningless as they are unfathomable, and I'm not just talking about the fact that the meal you tend to eat towards the end of the day, is called a wedding beakfast.
Stag weekends traditionally seen as an open opportunity to physically and emotionally destroy the groom, seem to be moving towards a more enlightened weekend away, which is less about strippers, and more about being assaulted with paintball pellets whilst nursing a king size hangover. Unfortunately, many best men still see the best man speech tradition as an exercise in public humiliation, although there is a growing appreciation that listing the groom's conquests in date order and ranking them, probably isn't going to end well. However, the cutting of the cake, the bride throwing her bouquet, attaching tin cans to the car, and trying to drink your own bodyweight in table wine, are all still wonderful staples on the wedding agenda. Probably the biggest, and most signifcant departure from the status quo came with the advent of same sex weddings. It was a glorious day, when finally same sex couples could celebrate their love for each other, and their commitment, by getting married.
I have written for many same sex couples over the years, and when it comes to speeches, there have been some very welcome progressive moves away from the norm. The best man is just as likely to be a woman, even if the couple are two men, and that's about time. Why does the best man slot always have to be a man? The biggest problem as I see it is that there is no equivalent title as yet, and 'best woman' makes it sound like they've won a competition. Also, that speech tends to be far more about the couple, rather than just focussing mainly on one of them, which again makes perfect sense. The father of the bride speech remains exactly the same, and I'm incredibly proud to say that in all these years, I've seen a lot more passion and pride in fathers of same sex couples, than your average straight wedding.
The groom speech or bride speech, does make things a little trickier than normal, because it's far more likely that both people getting married would like to speak, and that brings up the issue of time. If both grooms or brides make a speech, and you've got a best man/woman, father of the bride, and maybe a bridesmaid making speeches, then unless you keep an eye on things, it's in danger of becoming a little long. If both people getting married would like to speak, then my advice is to share a speech, and work on it together. You can still deliver the heartfelt sentiment towards each other, and as you're both standing side by side, it will work even better. Keep it the same length as a regular groom speech, about 1300 words, and that way you keep the running time down to sensible levels. Separate speeches will really eat into the schedule. Also if you're having a bridemaid and best man/woman both making speeches, make sure their speeches are around 1000 words each maximum; that way you're not going to get 1.5 hours on speeches, and everyone wondering when they can't get to the bar, and dance like their hair's on fire with complete strangers.