The Coronavirus has been responsible for many things, but when that guy from the Wuhan lab decided to make a few extra quid by selling a some sort of infected jellyfish at the local market, little did he know what affect that would have on the global divorce rates. In the UK a whopping 42% marriages end in divorce, although that statistic was falling before China thought it would be a great idea to live out the film ‘Contagion’. Covid-19 will see that spike again, and so in the next 10 years we’re going to be having more and more grooms making their groom speeches second time round.
I have plenty of conversations about groom speeches for guys who are doing it for the second time, and they are more aware than most about what it takes to get it right. A phrase I hear all the time is ‘this time I just want to get it right’. They understand the dangers of winging it, going in unprepared and misjudging the occasion. I’ve even heard stories from grooms who think the rot set in on their first marriage thanks to the poor speech they gave. Understanding the importance of the day and the speech is key, but if it’s second time around, there’s a whole minefield of issues you have to tip toe through.
Firstly, unless there are exceptional circumstances, never mention the first marriage or former wife…ever. I never fail to be amazed at just how many grown men think it would be funny to include a reference to the person they used to be married to. Even if your brand new wife has a very robust sense of humour, it just feels all wrong, and the wedding day should only be about one person: your bride. Don’t be tempted to mention things about being here before, or hoping it goes better this time…it’s all clumsy nonsense.
A lot of guys, especially those making this speech much later in life also think that the content of it changes slightly, and in some respects it does. Invariably many parents aren’t around, and it’s your call as to whether they should have some kind of mention. I always suggest they do, but it’s usually only brief, and if you can add a little humour to it, so much the better, what you don’t want to do is go down some mini eulogy route and bring the whole occasion down. Those no longer with us should always be included in a really positive and uplifting way. The welcome, thanks and acknowledgement still play a part, but it will feel different – age brings about a more measured approach to life that you just don’t have as 32 year old declaring your undying love for someone.
However, the importance of this speech is still the same – you’re saying why you want to share your life with this person and the gravity of that should not be lost. Many older couples want to treat it in a much more flippant way, maybe because they are more cynical about the unbridled enthusiasm of youth, but this is a mistake. As there are often no bridesmaids for couples marrying later in life, and frequently no best man, it provides more opportunity to talk about your wife in a way that younger grooms just don’t have. More youthful first timers are hamstrung by the fact they’ve got so many people to include, and so the amount of time they can spend talking about each one is limited. You have no such issues.
With more room to breathe, your groom speech can cover the friends and family that have led you to that point in glorious, entertaining detail, and of course family is the final tricky subject. Second marriages thanks to deceased partners tend to have happier family dynamics, those from natural separation do not. As mentioned in previous posts children need to be included in an even handed way from both families, and age is no barrier to acrimonious sentiment. Sons and daughters in their twenties can feel equally as someone much younger by omitting them from the speech, so make sure they’re all packed in there, and leave any overarching family issues well behind.