A groom holding a bouquet and looking as though he's about to practice his groom speech

Groom’s Speech – Death By Thanks

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. 

 

Procession

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. 

 

Paid Service

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. 

Parents

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. 

Toasts

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. 

 

Best Man

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.

 

Stag Weekend

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. 

The Bride 

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. 

 

Fun

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 Structure page.

 

 

A Best Man stand before the top table and delivers his speech

Why using props in a Best Man Speech is the worst idea you’re ever going to have

Last night I watched the visual smorgasbord which is The Eurovision Song Contest. It is a bonkers but nonetheless thoroughly entertaining romp around Europe and for some reason Australia, and it proved that in a super groovy high tech digital age, there are some people who are still more than happy to make a bit of a tit of themselves, and for that I love them. Quite why the Italian chap and the dancing gorilla didn’t smash their way to the number spot is completely unfathomable, and then there was a the Austrian guy, for some reason called Nathan Trent, who was swinging about on a moon, but if there was any justice in the world the Romanian yodelling/hip hop crossover should  have elevated the artists to multi millionaires overnight. But their genius was also their undoing.

As Nathan was cuddling his moon most people around the world were looking at the moon and not him. Men were thinking ‘what kind of poundage is the support cable good for?’ and women were Googling if IKEA sold one of those massive moons as it would look  great by the breakfast bar. But nobody was looking at him. The Italian could have been singing out his supermarket shopping list, because when you’re on stage with a dancing gorilla nobody is paying the blindest bit of notice to anything else. And the yodelling and rapping was great right up until the point two massive cannons came into the scene and the rapper just stood on one of them waving like a lunatic. Why were they there? How heavy were they? Do they still fire? Do you need a firearms license for a cannon? Can you still buy ammunition for them?…these were all the things going through my mind…not the song.

And so that brings me to weddings. Picture the scene: you’re incredibly hungover wearing a tailed coat that is single handedly helping to raise your core temperature to inferno level, sucking the last moisture out of your body. Your head is pounding and things like breathing and raising your eyebrows are unbelievably painful, all compounded by severe exhaustion thanks to finally getting to bed just before 6am. It’s now 3pm and you’re frantically trying to make a cable that clearly doesn’t fit your laptop…fit your laptop. Sweat is dripping off your brow and your girlfriend who is among the 100 or so wedding guests hates you and is planning to make this your last public event together.

People are chatting amongst themselves, when finally some bright spark with an iPhone bounces it on to the screen, except the bluetooth connection is shaky, but you plough on anyhow. Luckily this is only the beginning of your troubles because the guys behind the pillar can’t see the screen, and the ones over there can’t see it because there’s too much sun. You then pull out the teddy bear he used to have when he was 4 but absolutely nobody can see that because the teddy is around 10cm tall. And then you go for broke by bringing on one of the stag party modeling the gimp suit the groom wore all weekend. He just stands there. You say ‘this is the gimp suit the groom wore on the stag weekend’. He just stands there.

Props are hideously difficult to pull off. Everybody has got to be able to see them, and that never happens. Technology has got to run smoothly…and that never happens. Power supplies, wifi signals, cables and fading batteries are just some of the things that can hamper progress, but there’s a much more basic reason why you should make your day as simple as possible and avoid them at all costs: and that’s because if you have props, not a single person will be looking at you, or listening to you, which is precisely the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve.

Best Men have a hectic enough time without loading themselves up with even more hassle. There’s no replacement for a really funny, well written speech. So my advice is to keep it simple, keep all eyes on you, and instead of walking around with a bundle of cables and a remote control, have a nice glass of champagne and relax.

The microphone awaits the groom and his speech

Practicing Your Wedding Speech

There is a stat out there somewhere that states we are all much more afraid of public speaking than the prospect of death itself, and you can sort of see why. No one knows for certain what happens when the lights go out for the last time, but we’re all pretty sure it’s preferable to standing up, feeling every drop of moisture instantly leave your mouth, and then trying to crack jokes whilst fending off some kind of bowel related public disgrace. Yes, content is king but practicing your wedding speech is what makes a great speech a truly amazing one.

When it comes to practicing for the big day, you firstly have to be honest about type of person you are. If you’re a naturally super confident, articulate and positive character, then trying to learn the speech and nail it without notes on the day, is a possibility but you have to give yourself time. The best way to go about this is actually not to set out to learn it at all. All you need to do is keep reading it at every opportunity you have, and before you know it all those words will have cemented in your head. Then once you have the words to each paragraph licked just work out a way to remember how the end of one paragraph links to the following one – some people use prompt cards, others can find a way to remember without prompts. If you set out to learn it parrot fashion it will be by far the quickest and most efficient way to get yourself sectioned…and the wedding really wouldn’t be the same without you. The danger of this approach is that all your focus will be spent on remembering the words and consequently the performance will suffer, so don’t forget to practice making it sound entertaining – that means pauses and intonation.

Personally, I would avoid the modern temptation to read your speech from your iPhone. Every day we have the things glued to our face and if you want to look like you really don’t care, then please go right ahead. That also applies to auto cues on iPads. I used these as a television presenter for many years and unless you’ve got hours of practice under your belt they suck the life out of a performance, simply because you’re not focussed on the audience.

If you’re less confident about speaking in front of people then there is nothing at all wrong with reading the speech out from sheets of paper, however, there are some key issues you need to be aware of. Firstly head down and buried in bundle of papers might be a great way for you to hide whilst making the speech but it will undoubtedly render there whole event a miserable and joyless experience for all concerned. You must maintain as much  eye contact as possible, and read it as slowly and purposefully as possible. If you follow the temptation to rattle through nobody will understand a word you’re saying, and you may as well be reading out the menu. And lastly, have something to rest your papers on – you’ll be pumped up and those papers will be shaking like a leaf so you’ll need to mask that with a folder or a book. Keep reading it through so that there will be now words that will trip you up on the day..and remember to look happy!

Fancy Dress Weddings

Fancy Dress Weddings – The Final Insult

 

 

Here’s a tip when organizing your wedding: you know those people who’ve made such a great effort to be there? Well, they have feelings too. It’s very easy to get carried away with the whole idea of planning your big day. Many people feel that anything and everything that’s ever meant something to them has to be shoehorned into the event in some way.

 

This is, of course fine. If you really would like to give the bridesmaids something woven from your (deceased) grandmother’s hair, then go for it. If nothing else will quite do for that church reading then that particular excerpt form Mr Tickle, it’s your call. And if you want to make mobile hanging decorations from your first shoes and baby teeth, the go right ahead. I’m with you all the way. Anything that doesn’t overly impact on my enjoyment is fine by me.

 

A wedding is a personal indulgence and that’s the way it should be but never to the point where you start to impinge on the guests sense of worth, integrity and sanity. This form of wedding torture comes in many guises: there’s the two hour transfer from ceremony to venue, there’s the ten best men scenario and of course the never ending church service. But perhaps the greatest of them all is the fancy dress wedding.

 

These tend to be the preserve of people stuck in an adolescent fixation with Star Wars, horror films or superheroes but the worrying spread must send a shiver of fear down the spine of anyone entering their early twenties. You see, if this trend keeps growing there’s a better than evens chance they’ll have to attend one. And you wouldn’t wish that on anybody. Seeing your uncle as Princess Leia, your Granny as Mr T or the next door neighbor as a DIY Edward Scissor Hands, isn’t fun, it’s ritual humiliation. And if that’s the plan, then I’d like my money back.

 

Fancy dress is great when you’re a kid or trying to find a girlfriend on New Year’s Eve. It breaks down barriers, adds a sense of fun to an otherwise dull occasion and gets the whole thing going. You don’t need any of these things at a wedding – it’s already there on a plate and having just travelled the length of the country to be with you and spent half a month’s wages on being there, the last thing I want to do is dress up as stormtrooper in the middle of the afternoon. In fact, the only way I’m going to emerge from my room clad head to foot in some ridiculous costume is if I’m already half drunk. And I wont be the only one.

 

Anybody who can wear a Spanish Conquistador outfit on Cheltenham High Street at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon without being plastered needs to exploit their wholesale lack of shame for commercial purposes, almost certainly criminal. So there we have it: childlike obsessions should really only be carried out in the privacy of your own home or even better at one of those weekends when similarly minded freaks get together and pretend they are from another planet. Don’t worry you are.

One basic ingredient to all great best man speeches- great socks and great preparation.

Stag Do…actually Stag Don’t.

The great thing about youth is that you’re either so drunk the whole time or so completely emotionally incomplete, that not only do you find traffic cones hilarious, you’re convinced other people will find stories about them equally rib tickling. This usually doesn’t make any difference to your life, as the worst that can happen is you’ll recount the time Binky shoved his underpants on his head and sang the National Anthem in the middle of the street, to your girlfriend’s granny at Sunday lunch, and she couldn’t hear anyway.

Drinking is fun. In may ways, when it’s not involving imbibing floor cleaner and cough medicine, it’s an effective social lubricant that can get even the most challenging of characters to have a good time, and in some cases even a girlfriend. But when it comes to horrific modern day crimes, there are few worse in this world than being made to listen to other peoples’ drinking stories…especially when they’re crap. Real drinking stories that start off in one continent and end in another, without any recollection of the marching band you temporarily joined are all well and good. The ones where you simply drank your own bodyweight in Sangria and woke up naked in the beach are OK if you were there, but as a story really don’t go anywhere – we’ve all woken up naked at some point without any real idea of the details.

So many times I’m asked if I can include the Stag Do/Bachelor Weekend events in the Best Man Speech, and to be honest I’d rather drink a cold cup of sick. OK its your speech, I’m happy to fit in with whatever you want, but there’s nothing more boorish, exclusive and dull than hearing a Massive Big Up to the Stag crowd, especially ‘Tommo’ who was the last to take his pants off his head upon the return to Stansted airport. As Best Man your job is to make everyone laugh and by selecting a specific target subset you’re completely failing to do that. But it’s not specifically the exclusivity that I have an issue with, neither is it the dullness of the anecdote…it’s the fact that it’s not about the groom.

The speech should only ever be about the groom – not about the venue, God forbid the catering, ‘being The Best Man’, or the bridesmaids…so when when you start talking about the antics on the stag weekend you’re doing what so many Best Men are tempted to do: you’re really talking about yourself. As soon as the spotlight diverts from the Groom and his lovely wife, you’re completely missing the point. You only have a very limited time to hit you mark in the speech and so talking about the Stag weekend is just taking up valuable space, and at the very least is more than a little conceited. The worst thing a Best Man can do is convince himself that just a little bit of the day is about him. It’s not. You’re there to entertain, and make ’em laugh, and turning it into a pub type drinking story fest with the odd bit of nudity thrown in, never works.

My advice is to strip out the detail of that anecdote and use it as a punchline to a much more general and amusing observation about the groom’s behaviour. To be honest it’s a bit hard to explain, but as a rule if you’re trying to tell somebody how hilarious something was, rather than say something funny yourself…you’ve got it wrong.

 

 

Delivering your Speech

Two Great Ways To Ruin A Wedding Speech

Don’t need help with a wedding speech? Think again…

 

Everybody could do with just a little with a little wedding speech help because there are two creeping trends into modern weddings that make it virtually impossible for the guests to enjoy themselves and for the speeches to work: having the speeches before the meal and making your guests stand whilst they listen.

 

You could have spent a year and a half writing the perfect ode to your new partner, celebrating their character and overlooking their mother. It may well, rhyme and have cute references to in-jokes you, the happy couple have enjoyed over the years. But if you have the speeches before the meal, you might as well be reading from a Haynes manual about removing a gearbox. At least somebody might gain some practical knowledge from the whole episode.

 

Having the speeches before the meal simply states that one or more of the speakers is so nervous about talking out loud that they would rather just get the whole thing over and done with. Well thanks a lot. I’ve practically remortgaged my house and sold a kidney to attend the stag do, buy a gift, purchase a suit and get a hotel room for a couple nights and the way you reward me is to make me endure at least three speeches about how great your life is.

 

And I do say endure; because what makes a wedding work, what fuels its beating heart is alcohol. Getting nicely warmed up to listen to the speeches whilst drinking freely from the complimentary table wine is one of the great things about going to a British wedding. Instead, a surly waiter hands you a half full glass of Lady Petrol and expects you to make it last for at least the next 40 minutes. Try laughing your head off about the time the groom got his tie stuck in his zip on that meagre ration.

 

It does, however, get worse: speeches where the guests are made to stand. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got Jack Whitehall to give you help with a wedding speech, this is going to render it punishing at best. This nearly always goes hand in hand with having them before the meal and usually in some sort of ante room to the main event, which is why there’s none of that lovely free wine. Anyone who has seen Bridge Over The River Kwai will understand implicitly that being made to stand whilst you’re talked at, is a form of torture. Nobody apart from the front ranks can see, nobody can hear, hideously uncomfortable new shoes make guests spontaneously burst into tears and oldies and kids start to melt.

 

Nobody will laugh at your jokes, no tears will be shed at the mushy bits and no one will raise their glass because the whole thing has been rendered a survival situation. So, give yourself the best possible chance of making a great speech, let the guests really enjoy themselves and stick to convention. Some things about modern weddings do need rethinking, and some certainly don’t.

All the guests are laughing as the Best Man delivers his speech

How To Deliver a Great Speech

Unless you’re made of circuit boards, and have an ultra fast processor where your heart should be, you’re probably feeling a little worked up about the prospect of delivering a speech. Most of us don’t have to communicate in that way, and if we do we’re usually extolling the virtues of whatever it is pays our wages. So, whilst we’re happy to talk about refinancing schemes, irrigation systems and the best way to achieve nirvana through home insurance policies, we’re not usually doing it to entertaining. And if your wedding speech isn’t entertaining, you may as well read out the breakfast buffet menu. At least one or two people will have a genuine interest in what you’re saying.

So, you’re going to be nervous because you’re out of your comfort zone, all eyes are on you, and for the first time ever you’ve got to make people laugh…and yes, that includes grooms. Any groom planning on making their speech without a good dollop of humour, should really think again. Being nervous means your hands are going to shaky, which in turn means papers if you have them will flap around all over the place. It also means your mouth will become very dry, very quickly, and you’ll be a little sweaty and slightly short of breath. These are all things that can be dealt with.

  • Firstly make sure your speech is backed on to a book, folder or lectern – anything to stop the papers from moving around.
  • Have a huge glass of water nearby, the heavier the better. A small glass in shaky hands can look like there’s an earthquake.
  • Go easy on the alcohol. Too much and the sweating will start to become an issue.
  • Stay away from too much caffeine as this will increase the heart rate and affect breathlessness and sweating.

But then comes the issue of how to go about actually delivering it. Should it be cards, reading form sheets or memorising the whole thing? Well, this all comes down to what your strengths are and how much time you’ve got on your hands. My advice is don’t tie yourself up in knots trying to memorise it, it’s the shortest route to getting sectioned you can think of. With so much on your plate you want to keep things really simply and straightforward and there’s nothing wrong with reading directly from a sheet. You just have to keep the following mind:

  • Loads of eye contact.
  • Loads of pauses
  • Print it out in a really large font

Cards seem like a great idea but if you have a wobble on the day, things can come crashing down in a matter of seconds. Also many speeches rely on specific words to make a sentence funny, if you miss those out, then there will be some blank faces instead of thigh slapping laughter. Some guys can memorise it, particularly those in sales industries where they’re used to that sort of presentation. But if it’s not your thing, then don’t give yourself a hard time about it.

Always use a microphone, and if drinking is your thing then have a couple of gentle drinks in the run up to the speech. Whatever you do, don’t see the end of the speech as the final goal, for having fun, as there’s an overwhelming tendency to rush things and get it over and done with and have the first beer. Avoid that at all costs.

Relax and remember everyone is on your side, and by the time you’ve finished, you’ll wish you could go and do it all again.

View of the best man making a speech at a wedding reception

Talk About Being Best Man

Probably the most cliched and pointless of all the well trodden ways of attacking a Best man’s Speech is to spend a huge chunk of the speech talking about being the best man. For me this is about as close as it gets to admitting you simply couldn’t be bothered to really think about the best man’s speech and just decided to go for filler instead of killer. If at this point you’re thinking ‘well all the templates I’ve seen online talk about being best man!’…yes they do. They also have some of the worst one liners, jokes, conceits and layout of any speeches known to man.

The basic idea of a best man’s speech is to talk about the groom, not about you. It is after all his big day not yours, and your job is to celebrate him and his new wife, be as funny as you can and chuck in some genuinely heartfelt sentiment. You’ve only got a maximum of ten minutes to get the job done and wasting time going through the various ins and outs of best man duty is about as counterproductive as it is funny. The worst part of all is that anything you’re likely to say on this subject has undoubtedly been lifted from a template and heard a million times before. And it wasn’t that funny the first time around.

This whole approach stems from some best men approaching this speech as if they’re a budding stand up comedian. Stand up comedians talk about themselves constantly because that’s their way of introducing seemingly real and funny observations about the world. They want to project a humorous take on something by using themselves and that’s fair enough. Best men are not stand up comedians, some might think they are and you can usually tell them by the over zealous rapport they try to build with the audience. Yes, you should engage, excite and at times communicate with your audience but in a warm, gentle and sincere way; not mic in hand firing off one liners and waiting for the applause. Anyway you have a ready made source of material that needs no introduction: the groom.

If you’re talking about yourself then you’ve run out of ideas. If you’ve run out of ideas then you’re not thinking hard enough. If you really want to kick things off in style then a good place to start is by visiting the Best Man Speech Opening Lines page and discover other ways to achieve victory.

 

Speech Writer

Hiring A Speech Writer

Who is Hiring A Speech Writer?

Hiring a speech writer is not a new phenomenon but the people who are getting in touch with us are changing almost yearly. You see, there was a time way back when hiring a speech writer was just for the the connected and loaded few who could afford to have their corporate and/or political speeches written for them. However, the internet has punted things forward and now the ability to have somebody else write that all important speech for you is not only at your finger tips, it’s also much more affordable, too. Over the years it’s overcome the  perceived issue of finding somebody else to do what some may see as your job, and now it’s seen as a natural extension of our increasingly tailor made world.

 

Stigma of old

It’s interesting from the feedback I receive from clients to see just who’s hiring a speech writer and why they’re doing it. Most of the people I write for are extremely time poor and simply don’t have the space in their lives to devote to researching and writing a speech. For the others it’s just a case of this being so far removed from what they’d normally do in life that they don’t know where to begin. Both groups did have one common feature but it’s something that has very quickly become a thing of the past, and that’s the stigma factor. Years ago any clients used to be vehemently protective of the fact that they’d got somebody else to write for them, as if it were something to be almost embarrassed about. But that’s changed rapidly.

What was once considered a taboo is now seen as a reasonable and sensible thing to do. Recently I was contacted by a tree surgeon who spends his entire working life operating chainsaws in the middle of rural Norfolk. Nothing he has done or experienced up until this point has prepared him to write and deliver a speech, at the same time I have two chainsaws at home neither of which I have the first clue how to operate safely. That’s why I decided to hire a tree surgeon and that’s why a tree surgeon has decided to hire me. It just makes sense and that’s the way more and more people are looking at it. It’s not about dereliction of duty it’s about sticking to what you’re good at.

What to look for in speech writer

There are quite a few of us out there and as with all industries there are good and the not so good but in my view there are some basic features that you should think about. Firstly if anyone or any organisation is offering to write a completely bespoke speech for you with a fee that’s suspiciously cheap then I’d avoid at all costs. Writing a completely unique speech takes a lot of time and effort, which can amount to quite a lot of man-hours and if somebody is saying they can offer that for around the price of a good night out, then something doesn’t stack up. Speedy speech writing can only rely on templates and cliched jokes and you can quite comfortably find those yourself.

Also it’s absolutely crucial if you’re thinking about hiring a speech writer to chat to the person who’s going to be writing it for you so that they can fully appreciate who you are and what you’re about. If that facility isn’t on offer then you should probably think again. However, if you do get to chat to the speech writer then ask them to fully commit to a timescale and method of working, but more importantly see if you get on. If you don’t click with that person on the phone the chances are that using them as a speech writer isn’t going to work out either. If you need the speech on a quick turnaround or have any other specific requirements, also make sure those are made clear in an email as well, because if things don’t work out at least you can show that you made your position clear from the outset.

Tweaking the speech

Nearly every speech will need tweaking in some way, even if it’s just to give it a more personal spin – no matter how talented the writer, you’ll always be the best judge of exactly what’s going to work for you. Again check with the writer what the fee includes; some writers have a limit of two edits to any speech they write, whilst I always promise to keep on editing for the initial fee until you’re completely satisfied. Make sure you’re clear about what’s on offer and how much extra work is going to cost if it’s required.

Enjoy

The whole point of hiring a speech writer is so that the weight of responsibility is reduced leaving you simply with the task of delivering it. so just as you would enjoy wearing that bespoke suit, revel in the fact that somebody has created a perfect speech for you, rehearse it and enjoy every moment of it.

 

 

A groom holding a bouquet and looking as though he's about to practice his groom speech

How To Deliver A Groom’s Speech

The Big Moment Arrives…

 

The wedding ceremony is out of the way, the photographs have been taken and all that stands between you and two weeks on a beach is the most important speech you’ll ever make in your life. For the Groom it is the one major task of the whole event, get it right and it will be an experience that stays with you forever. Get it wrong and it will also have the same affect. Here are my top ten tips to getting it right.

 

  1. Rehearsal – you’re never going to pull it off unless you’re confident with what you’re saying and that’s not going to happen unless you’ve been through it enough to get to know the flow and the content. It might sound obvious but as a groom speech writer I speak to an awful lot of Grooms who keep putting it off until the last moment. And avoid doing it in front of friends or relatives, they only tend to hinder the process with unqualified thoughts. Only you will know what really works for you and what you want to say.

 

  1. Print out – Rehearsing is one thing, doing it right is another and there’s one basic tip: print the speech out. If you simply read it to yourself from a smart phone, tablet or laptop, you’re never going to spot the mistakes or awkward phrases. Print it out and speak into the hairbrush.

 

 

  1. Microphone – always use one if it’s on offer. Nothing is going to grind the guests down quicker than not being able to hear the speeches. Everybody looks forward to them and they want to be able to hear everything. Wedding venues, whatever design they might be, usually have poor acoustics, so if there’s a way to amplify your voice, take it. If not you’ll have the attention of the table right under your nose and other guests visibly straining to hear whilst the rest talk amongst themselves. In my life before booming a groom speech writer I was a broadcaster and I know there’s nothing harder than trying to talk to a crowd without amplification. So avoid.

 

  1. Pace – a slow measured pace works wonders. You could pretty much read out the menu for the day and if it’s done with enough thought, calm and a steady delivery, you’ll have people in stitches/tears. You want everyone to get the jokes, you want everyone to hear the thanks, so remember to constantly reign yourself back in and keep it super relaxed.

 

 

  1. Alcohol – this is the same advice that I give to Best Men, a little is better than none and a lot is the worst idea ever. Abstaining from booze on the day until you’ve made your speech sounds highly laudable but it’s actually not that bright. Most Grooms will be gasping for liquid refreshment and giving it a miss until the speeches is just another prompt for trying to get things over as soon as possible. Have a couple of drinks in the hours running up to the speech and you’ll feel more relaxed and less inclined to attack the speech like a rhino.

 

  1. Shakey hands – even if you’re not feeling a bit nervous your hands are going to a bit more wobbly than usual with all that adrenaline pumping through your system. If you’ve got something to lean on like a lectern, steady yourself with one hand on it leaving the other hand to gesture – like Obama. If there’s nothing to help you out, mount your notes on a clipboard or something stiff that’s going to hide the nerves.

 

 

  1. Look up – this is vital and will only really work if you’ve practiced enough. If you’ve got a good idea in your head about what the next bit in the speech is, use the prompt card to set you off and then deliver the lines looking into the crowd. Even if you skimped on the rehearsal never go more than two lines without pausing and looking up and at the guests. A groom with his head buried in a bundle of notes is painfully dull.

 

  1. Water – one of the most debilitating effects of nervousness is having a dry mouth, and one of the most uncomfortable things to listen to is somebody…with a dry mouth. But having a glass of water here is no huge revelation. There is, however, one trick: make sure it’s a big heavy glass of water and not some little tumbler. You’re nervous and with shaky hands I’ve seen Grooms who can barely get it to their mouths without it looking like there’s some sort of earthquake. A nice big, heavy pint glass hidden away for a few well deserved sips is the perfect remedy to both problems.

 

 

  1. Use the crowd – they’re animated, on your side and want to digest everything you’re saying, so they are also the perfect barometer of assessing how things are going down and also good fun to engage off script with. If you can see tables of guests looking pained or talking amongst themselves then something – almost certainly the sound – isn’t working. Don’t plough on: this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Stop, ensure that everyone can now hear and off you go again. Nothing winds up suitably refreshed middle aged wedding goers than straining to hear if they’ve been thanked or not.

 

  1. Mental game – Put yourself in the right frame of mind. It may be the biggest speech you’ll ever make but it’s also by far the easiest and you’ve got to get your head around that before start. Put it to yourself like this: you know what you’ve got to say, you know there are some belters in there and you’re looking forward to thanking people who mean something to you. That is a great position to be in. Enjoy it.