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Groom Speech - speeches before the meal

I’ve been writing wedding speeches for quite a long time now, and in all the years I’ve been doing it, I’ve never once spoken to a client who’s actually been looking forward to it. We all accept that speaking in public is one of the greatest fears of grown ups, and thanks to a digital age where most communication is text based, that fear isn’t going anywhere soon. Even the guys who speak as part of their job, or their role in a society or sports team, don't like the idea if it, because understandably they are at their happiest when they know what they’re talking about.

This might seem like an odd thing to say, but whilst they may be intimately familiar with the bride and groom, it’s knowing what to talk about and hoe to talk about it. Going through the latest iteration of some mind boggling software is one thing, making people laugh and expressing heartfelt emotion is another matter entirely. That’s why they reach for a basic route one approach of a few gags and a few facts, and hope for the best, knowing deep down that it will be several minutes of their life they’d rather forget.

So, in order to mitigate that anxiety, and seemingly to increase their enjoyment of the day, there’s now a growing trend to have the speeches before the meal, so that everyone can relax and enjoy themselves. It’s a modern spin on a very well established routine, and in my mind not a great one at that.

I’m not that bothered by tradition, I like progress as long as progress makes sense. In every facet of life, be it business, sport or the arts, people are constantly thinking about things in new ways to improve the end result, which is great. However, having your speeches before the meal will only serve to make things more difficult. If you’re standing in front of a room full of guests, who haven’t yet been given the opportunity to unwind, and enjoy liberal helpings of table wine, then you’re facing a much stiffer audience than at the end of the meal. They haven’t had time to chat amongst themselves get to know the people they’re sharing a table with, and feel the warm afterglow of copious wine. Whilst they may sound shallow, it’s the truth, and guests will always respond better the more relaxed they are.

Timings are always crucial in speeches, and frequently where so many weddings go wrong. Nobody talks to each other about how ling their speech is, everyone completely underestimates the time it will take, and that’s why British weddings can regularly lose and hour and a half to the speeches, which is ludicrous. This usually means it crashes into the party time, and everyone is losing the will to live…have the speeches before the meal, and you’ll cause the caterers to have a complete breakdown, and probably be greeted by some kind of chef brandishing a large knife.

I understand that people are nervous, but there seems to be a culture now of trying to remove any jeopardy from life at the expense of how some things should be done. Yes, you might feel a little nervous over the smoked salmon starter and lobster thermidor, but that will pale into insignificance when you land your groom speech to a nicely warmed up and enthusiastic audience.

Written By
Adrian Simpson
17 Feb, 2024
  • Judins
    East Sussex
    TN19 7LA

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