There seems to be a commonly held opinion that the groom's speech is really just a quick rifle through everyone you have ever known and thanking them personally and in precisely the same way for the part they've played in the story of your greatness. Now, nobody is saying you're not great, and not for a minute am I suggesting that some people in your life don't deserve recognition but in order for your groom's speech not to become a tsunami of acknowledgements you really need to think carefully about who you're going to thank and how you're going to thank them.
There also needs to be a healthy balance. Even the most stable of grooms can get a bit carried away and treat it as an opportunity to spend 15 minutes talking about how great their new wife is. Whilst most people there would probably agree with you, nobody wants it on heavy rotate, so keep it sincere, warm, funny and ultimately snappy.
The most common mistake with the groom's speech is just making it one huge procession of thanks. It's incredibly dull to listen to and usually the thanks end up being as heartfelt as a gas bill. Limit the number of people you're going to acknowledge to a maximum of three people and then work out a funny way to include them in your speech. Simply saying thank you to Aunt Hilda for the cupcakes simply isn't good enough.
The golden rule is: if you've paid for a service they don't need thanking. You haven't got the time to thank all the people who really mean something to you let alone the florists, wedding planners, car suppliers and cake makers. Unless they're giving the proceeds to starving orphans, then forget about them.
I've worked with enough grooms around the world to understand just how important their parents are to them and I've seen enough draft speeches to see just how spectacularly they seem to cock this one up. Dismissing your beloved parents in a sentence is poor but then, as so often happens, spending two paragraphs talking about how great your new in laws are is nothing short of thick. Make sure you thank both in equal measure and with a dollop of humour.
There are really three you could make but the only one you have to make is to the bridesmaids. A good idea is to toast the parents, although complicated family situations might see you having to word this carefully and often a groom would like a toast to absent friends. Never ever toast the bride in isolation - it's weird and uncomfortable, and never make people stand for the toasts - it'll break your flow and to be honest they're happier seated.
Say something funny and genuinely heartfelt about him. It's amazing that most grooms will either forget to mention him or simply reference him with regard to the stag weekend. It's one of the most important and meaningful positions of the entire event so acknowledge, but don't forget to get your punches in early.
I've never included a stag weekend reference in any of my groom's speeches as they're always cliched, dull and not very inclusive. I don't care if you were dancing with a traffic cone on your head in Prague, I wasn't there and deep laughs from those that are trying to galvanise their association with you are just going to rile me.
Don't forget to have fun, girls like laughing too and there's no reason why it should become an overwrought declaration of love. Of course she means the world to you but try to break things up with something funny from your first date or when you met here parents. The you can get a bit mushy.
A wedding speech without laughs is a wasted opportunity so think funny all the way through. Don't fool yourself into thinking that the best man is the only one they're expecting laughs from. The guests are sat there, quite merry and need entertaining. You're second on the bill. Don't disappoint.
For more hints and tips on how to lay out your Groom Speech then visit the Groom Speech page.