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Groom Speech - Saying it in triplicate

I’ve always worked on the principle that it’s better to do something well once, rather than have a few, less proficient stabs at it. Marriage and bungee jumping are two cases in point – nothing would be more unpleasant than being splattered on to some hillside in NZ after your elastic cord failed on the third attempt, and nothing would be more fatal than realising your former life partner now has most of your money for the rest of your life. It’s exactly the same with speeches – don’t put me through 3000 words of bilge, telling my in 3 different ways how much the parents…best man...bridesmaids etc mean to you.

 When it comes to verbal communication, efficiency is paramount – as I keep telling everyone: the best speeches in the world do what they do in the most efficient way. Whether you are making a wedding speech, corporate speech or a eulogy, there are no prizes for being the longest man standing. However, it is this very aspect that many grooms struggle with most, and they are their own worst enemies. They simply cannot resist adding more and more detail to their speech, not appreciating that they are going to be the architects of their own downfall.

A good example would be when talking about the parents. Here you should probably dispatch both sets of parents in about 300 words or so, depending on family set ups. I recently wrote for a groom who had 700 words on the parents alone – to put it into perspective, that’s half the length of a normal groom speech just talking about the parents. Nuts.

I can understand it; they’re thinking that adding extra detail is going to make it extra special. It doesn’t. It just makes it extra long. If you want to add in that particular thing that granny used to say…or endless stories about the best man or ushers…then fine, but remember: you’re doing that for your own gratification, no one else’s. Nobody but you is going to realise you DIDN’T include those things, so the only one who will miss them is you.

You also need to have a realistic idea of timings. I write my speeches to be around 1400 words, any content added after that increases the length exponentially. So, a 2000 word speech will easily be 20 minutes. People always read faster at home, and so have a distorted idea of how long their groom speech is. A common mistake is to say the same thing in about 3 different ways – nobody needs triplicate. They just need it once and done really well.

However, if you do decide to make this War and Peace, bear in mind one thing: by the time you get to the end, and the most important part, where you’re talking about your lovely new wife…nobody will be listening.

Written By
Adrian Simpson
18 Apr, 2024

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