microphone for weddings

Wedding Speeches – Less Is More

With wedding speeches there’s a huge temptation once you’ve been given those 5 minutes in the spotlight to chuck everything at it. There’s a misguided belief that by turning yourself into a 20 minute one man entertainment whirlwind, something you’ll have covered, performed, sung or indeed acted out will have tickled every guest there in some way. In my opinion ramping your speech up to be something you could take to the Edinburgh Fringe is a one way ticket to failure.

The absolute golden rule is that you must never tax the people who are sitting there listening to you. If they’re relaxed and comfortable they’re going to enjoy the speech. If you start making demands on them they’re going to lose patience, and pretty quickly too. If I’m listening to a wedding speech I want to be able to sit back, drink wine and listen. I don’t want to have to find a sheet of photographs and then work out why they’re funny. I don’t want to have to listen to some song being butchered in the name of comedy and above all I don’t need a powerpoint. Anything that takes the attention away from the person is actually speaking is wholly counterproductive and you should avoid at all costs, because getting their attention back again can prove impossible.

By engineering things in like audio visual props you really are just making life more difficult for yourself. At the time you may think it’s a neat way of using up minutes without having to say very much but nothing is easier to deliver and gives more genuine funny pleasure than some well crafted words.You don’t have to find a power supply, you don’t have to locate or bring in a screen and you’re not at the mercy of technical glitches.  All the guests have to do is sit there and enjoy. If you think that delivering your speech in an effective way involves powerpoint then stop. What works for a room full of men with security laminates is very different to a roomful of guests in wedding mode. Powerpoint will only ever be associated with being lectured and if you want to engender that kind of vibe in your wedding speech, then go right ahead.

Keeping things simple also means keeping them to the right length. There’s nothing worse than a long wedding speech and if you haven’t said all you need to say at around the 7 minute mark, you really need to do some editing. Talking ad nauseam hoping that you stand more chance of saying something funny is a tactic doomed to failure, and if you’re actually deluded enough to think that you’ve managed to write a funny 20 minute speech then seek help. You should only ever be looking at a speech around 1000 to 1200 words and your cut off time with heckles, applause etc should never be more than 10 minutes.

There’s no replacement for a well written, funny heart warming speech. It should give a great deal and ask little in return, and also be a lot easier to put together than an audio visual extravaganza.

 

Wedding Speeches

Practicing Your Best Man Speech

There is no getting away from the fact that practice makes perfect. The more familiar you become with the words, the easier it is to read vast swathes without looking at a prompt card, the pauses are all worked out in your head and you’re comfortable with exactly the right pace of delivery. There’s no substitute for all of this hard work and your performance will be all the richer for it…up to a point.

I lose track, and to a certain extent lose patience, with people who say they’ve read it out to their wives and they either didn’t laugh or didn’t get it. So, using this spectacularly unqualified focus group of one, the whole thing has to be rejigged. There is a  huge, and I mean HUGE, difference between practicing it in front of your wife/girlfriend/whatever, on a rainy night after work and the atmosphere of the wedding cauldron. At a wedding everyone is revved up and ready to go, primed with a bit of bubbly they’re hanging on to your every word and just need the slightest excuse to make them laugh. Reading it out to your partner in a much colder, more remote atmosphere is setting yourself up for a fail.

It’s also saying that your humour, your cultural and social references are inadequate compared to those of your girlfriend’s. Have confidence in what you first thought of as funny and go with it. There’s a good rule of thumb which I always remind my clients of: if it makes you laugh the first time then that’s exactly what’s going to happen on the day. Over analysis of jokes, conceits and observations is completely counterproductive and all you’re doing is allowing multiple sets of unqualified opinion tell you what is and isn’t funny.

But it doesn’t stop there because you’ll make amendments and then obviously go back to the same person to see what they think at which point they’ll see themselves as some sort of burgeoning critical talent and then by default have to indicate where it could be improved further. A complete waste of time.

Practicing your Best Man Speech should be a personal, solitary and rewarding experience, where on the day you alone reap the accolades. So take it from me: believe in yourself, because nobody is a better judge of what you should and can say.

 

 

Writing that Last Minute Speech

Last Minute Speech

Fear, relief, panic….

There’s a pattern when it comes to being appointed a best man and it’s very similar to the experience of making a parachute jump: fear, relief, panic. Usually your friend will give you the good news about a year in advance and for at least 5 minutes you’ll be struck with the mind bending fear that this time next year you’ll be attempting to make people laugh whilst shaking like a leaf. This very soon gives way to the comforting relief that there are 12 months to go before your ritual humiliation and then subsequently gut wrenching panic as you realize a year has slipped past, it’s next week and you’ve nothing written. And so you find yourself getting to grips with the last minute speech.

Not alone

Leaving it until the last minute is not exceptional – there are hundreds of guys out there who have done exactly the same thing, so let that be your first thought: you are not alone. Secondly, there is always time. My record so far this summer for a last minute speech is a call on a Thursday for a groom’s speech on the Saturday. That was tight and a little strange as it’s usually never the groom leaving late, but we managed it no problem. So no matter how last minute you think it is, there is always enough time to come up with something, it’s just the way you’re going to deliver it that will need some thinking about.

 Simples

Most of the best men I’m writing for throughout the summer tend to be from the last minute speech brigade and that usually means a week to go. The familiar story is that they thought it would be easier to write and having only tried to pen something two weeks out, they’re now running out of time to get something down. The key is not to panic, as nothing will destroy a speech more than the person giving it wracked with nerves. If you’ve got less than 10 days to go keep everything really simple; don’t try to over engineer a clever speech, don’t throw in jokes that really need more thought to make them work and don’t be tempted to write more than necessary in order to somehow make up for your lack of effort to date. The only two things that really make a speech work are content and delivery. So for a last minute speech do not be tempted to execute anything other than a good 1200 words of fun and sentiment. Forget powerpoint, forget slides and films or any of that nonsensical gubbins that turn a speech into an ordeal. In my opinion no speeches need them and least of all a last minute one.

 Stand and deliver

And then we come to a delivery. If you’re getting a speech writer to prepare it, or you’re doing it yourself, by the time it’s ready you’ve probably got about 4 days to go through it. Do not attempt to memorise it. You should keep reading it through until the speech separates itself into blocks in your mind, and then use prompt cards to recall those blocks. You should at least be aiming to know the speech well enough that you’ll have the confidence to look up an deliver at least every third sentence whilst looking at the guests.   Nothing makes the heart beat faster than knowing you’ve left it really late to pull off the performance of a lifetime and nothing will make you feel more euphoric than doing precisely that.

Best Man Wedding Speeches

Best Man Speech – Fear Of The Unknown

When it comes to appointing a Best Man a groom goes for a person he counts as being a great friend, not necessarily the person he thinks can make a great speech. Grooms are in the middle of an emotional maelstrom; suddenly everything is viewed  through incredibly dewy eyed beer googles, every moment in their past becomes pivotal, every meal memorable and every friend, new or old, somebody who’s played a part in their epic story. They want their choice of best man to mean something to the wider world. Maybe it was the childhood friend who stopped them from getting their head flushed down the loo on the first day of school, maybe it was the guy who showed them on their first day at work how to top up the toner on the photocopier or maybe…you’re his brother.

Whoever they choose there is one thing they all have in common: the groom wants you to be funny and he wants you to make him look good. Really good. And therein lies a huge problem – even if the Groom is the nicest guy in the world and has climbed Everest whilst raising money for orphans, you’re not going to know about huge chunks of his life and feel you can’t possibly do him justice. Schoolboy friends frequently know nothing about his twenties, work friends know nothing about his school days and brothers tend to know little about anything outside the home. This can cause abject panic amongst Best Men as they worry about how they’re going to fill in the blanks to a life they hardly know.

There is no need to worry.You are simply looking at things in the wrong way.

A good Best Man speech is not simply a trail of anecdotes. Nothing is more dull to listen to than yet another story about how the groom, when drunk, did something reasonably funny and then woke up in his clothes. We’ve all done it, and to be honest we’ve probably done it better. As a Best Man you’ve got to be inclusive and so should avoid any stories where a group of half cut guys he went to school with will be slapping their thighs and the rest will be ironing out imaginary creases in the tablecloth. In fact my policy is to just avoid stories full stop…and I hope my reviews speak for themselves.

Don’t worry about what you don’t know and instead focus on what you do – it’s enough. A good Best Man Speech is around 1000 words so there’s not a whole heap of room to play with. Think what qualities he had as a child and see of there’s a funny way to extrapolate those into adult life. You can do the opposite if you’ve only known him through work.

Remember you only have to be funny, not accurate, not detailed, not fawning. Just funny. So, if you’re struggling for gaps in his life just make them up and nobody, least of all the groom, will care in the slightest. The best Best Man Speeches I’ve written have all had a little fabrication and a huge dollop of imagination in them, so don’t let the boring truth, or lack of it, hold you back. For more inspiration and advice why not visit the Best Man Speech Examples page?

Standing up to the hecklers

Wedding speeches: hecklers

 

 

It’s a known fact that most grown men would rather wrestle a tiger in their underpants than stand up in front of a crowd of people and speak for five minutes. This is understandable as, apart from our own families, many go out of their way to avoid any form of spoken communication with anyone not in their ‘circle’. Whilst commuting we prefer to inspect our shoes or pretend to be asleep and in supermarket queues we stand there fixated on the contents of the trolley we’ve just filled. Now of course we have smartphones that can fill every single second of our waking hours. If somebody you don’t recognize looks like they might want to talk to you, just pop out the iPhone and check up on the weather in Jeddah.

 

For the time being, however, wedding speeches are going to require people to stand up and speak out loud. Chances are if you’re somewhere in your 20’s or 30’, you haven’t had to do this for many years and even then it was probably for some misdemeanor. And that’s maybe part of the problem: we associate public speaking with being in trouble. Standing up in class, standing up in court, standing up at a wedding reception; it’s all the same sort of thing.

 

Now you might be thinking that in order for it not to be a Route 1 pathway into therapy that every single detail of the speech must be taken care of. You’d be right. Sort of. There is no substitute for a killer speech with plenty of practice; some good lines, clever observations, a bit of mush and then you’re outta there. If the microphone is playing up, if most of the guests can’t see you because of that brick pillar or if you decided to speak whilst most of the guests are still stone cold sober. Then you’ve had it.

 

There is one banana skin that could be a real blessing in disguise: the wedding speech hecklers. You will always get a heckler at a wedding and usually it’s the ‘wedding clown’. This tends to be one of your uncles unleashed from his domestic routine, fuelled by complimentary booze and almost certainly wearing his wife’s hat half way through the meal. He feels the world has a right to know just how witty he can be and/or just what a knob he thinks you are. But the great thing about these people is, they’re great for a put down and if you can manage that, then whatever you have to say afterwards is going to be treated as gold.

 

 

Have some generic ammo in your pocket. Those that start heckling are likely to be older guests, but these will work nicely for anyone

 

Sorry, do you need help visiting the bathroom?

Oh, hello there **** how is the drink problem?

As I said at the beginning welcome to all those we love and care about. And you ***

Yeah, my mum never liked you. She was right.

 

…You get the idea. Make it confident and witty you’re not trying to destroy the person just have some fun with them, so do it with a smile on your face. When you land it your confidence will soar and you’ll practically waltz through the rest of the speech.

 

Quite simply they’re the magic dust to sprinkle on your performance. Expect them. Dispatch them. Revel in the glory.

 

 

 

 

 

Things Rupert Murdoch needs to consider for his Groom Speech

Rupert Murdoch’s Groom Speech

Groom speeches are not easy at the best of times. usually there are a few tiffs with family members to consider, a couple of ‘no go’ areas, or estranged parents attending with their new, separate partners. So spare a thought for billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who this week announced his engagement to a former Texan supermodel 25 years his junior. Below I’ve listed the things that ‘Roops’ needs to consider when making his groom speech.

 

Age Difference

As he was born in the 1930’s Jerry isn’t going to understand any of his childhood references of listening to wooden radios, throwing things at crims in the village stocks, or dreaming of one day owning an orange. The age difference here is considerable and the fact that Rupert predates the calculator, the television and the banana, sums up neatly just what a challenge lies ahead for both of them. He needs to focus on the positives which is mainly that at his age he enjoys free public transport and cheaper car insurance.

Culture Clash

Roops comes a place called Australia which is full of decent blokes who love cooking outside and have an above average interest in wearing shorts and winning…anything. Your average Aussie doesn’t really mind what he looks like as long as the pub is open, his meals consist almost exclusively of cooked animals, and whose idea of sartorial elegance is a clean T shirt with the arms ripped off. Jerry on the other hand has at least survived part of her life by only drinking Bovril and comes from a place called Texas where they walking around in leather trousers lassoing things whilst wearing massive hats with arrows through them, in a completely non ironic way.

Language

This is obviously going to be key to the success of his speech otherwise Jerry’s extended family are not going to have a bloody clue what he’s talking about. As a classic Aussie he’ll often describe something good as ‘bonza’ or ‘ripper’, if he likes a person or a certain outcome in a sporting situation, he’ll say ‘you little beauty’ to nobody in particular, and he’ll admit when he’s wrong by using the phrase ‘fair go’. Rupert Murdoch has never used the phrase ‘fair go’. His phraseology is likely to become unfathomable after a few ‘tinnies’ (beers), and he’ll then sleep in off in the ‘Ute’ (SUV), before waking up to watch Neighbours(shit). Jerry on the other hand, and all other Texans, come from the only place on the planet where they communicate entirely by one stock phrase: ‘Y’all’.

Families

There can be a lot of understandable frustration and awkwardness in wedding speeches when it’s a second marriage and there are children involved. When it’s your fourth marriage, you’re a billionaire and you’ve already shoe horned the most recent offspring into the family trust by paying the original kids over £200 million, things get a lot more interesting for the neutral wedding guest. Add in the fact that Jerry is allegedly looking to get her kids on the London housing ladder and in my expert opinion any mention of kids and money should be avoided at all costs.

Phone Hacking

I’ve said it many times but wedding speeches are not the time to be edgy with your humour. This should be a warm, inclusive and entertaining speech and he needs to steer clear of any mention of the disgraceful wholesale pastime of hacking peoples’ phones and ruining their lives. Rumours that he knew Jerry was ‘the one’ when ‘he did her phone’ and listened her voicemails are categorically denied.

 

Celebrity Guests

Obviously being one of the most famous Aussies since Harold Bishop or the lady who played Helen Daniels on Ramsay Street, Roops is going to have his fair share of celeb invites amongst the guests, and he needs to consider how to acknowledge them in a suitably understated but grateful way. So, it’s probably best not to make any religious reference when saying hi to Mel Gibson, Russell Crowe and the buffet shouldn’t be mentioned in the same paragraph, and in no uncertain terms should he be tempted to mention going mad and bald in a blizzard of drugs, when welcoming Jason Donovan.

 

Anyway, far be it from me to tell the world’s most mega media magnate how it should be done. After all if you’re 84, worth billions and are marrying a Texan model…who am I to tell him anything?

 

 

man-out-of-time

Best Man Speech Clinic

Nothing beats a really great speech, and of course practicing it is key to really doing it justice on the day, but how can you be sure you’ve got the performance spot on? Most guys will line up family, friends and even pets, on whom they can inflict the fruits of their creative labour. There is, however, a huge problem with this approach and that’s mainly if you appoint somebody as a critic, they usually revel in the role and start pulling the speech apart for the sake of it. Perfectly great lines and conceits are cut because somebody’s partner didn’t like it, or hadn’t heard of Guantanamo Bay.

But what if there was a service whereby you could rock up, practice your speech in front of similarly nervous Best Men, have a professional speech writer guide you on performance and content tweaks, and then go home safe in the knowledge that you don’t have to share it with anyone else until the big day? Well, here it is: The Best Man Speech Clinic.

Every Monday evening in a place they call London Bridge, for two whole hours you can hone your delivery and fine tune your speech with my expertise and share your hopes and fears with other guys in exactly the same situation as you. All it costs is £45, and for that you get a selection of classically flavoured crisps and a couple of beers, which you can either enjoy gently through the session or nail them all in one for a huge but short lived confidence boost.

Just complete the form below quoting Best Man Speech Clinic and we’ll book you in and give you the details.

Come along and make your speech the best it can be. Whichever way you look at it: it’s going to be interesting!

wedding-journey-promo

The Wedding planning Journey

The advent of seminal television classics such as ITV’s X Factor, has allowed the modern world to reexamine the word ‘journey’. Thanks to thousands of desperate hopefuls planning on giving up their day job at Tesco and launching themselves as the next Taylor Swift, we now use this word to describe the mental transition between one state and another. Quite often with shows like X Factor this ‘journey’ is very much a round trip and involves going from despair to world beating elation back to despair full time at Greggs’ again, but no matter what the shape of your ‘journey’ is, we’re all making them and they don’t actually involve moving anywhere.

So with that firmly in mind it’s time to celebrate and sing Hosanna for the people at hitched.co.uk who have decide to give a boost to everyone’s marriage journey by launching the The Wedding Planning Journey   . This new site is a one stop shop when it comes to finding the expert help, support and guidance needed to make sure your wedding plans are organised to the very last detail. And I mean EVERY detail.

All weddings start with a proposal and so that’s where the The Wedding Planning Journey begins its help, with expert advice and contacts for ring choice, financing and even how to pop the question. If you have no idea about diamonds, then this site will put you in touch with the people who do, and so it continues right through the build up to the big day, with endless information on everything from how to keep in shape for those photographs, to setting dates, getting your teeth lovely and shiny, to venues, speeches, honeymoons and even tips on how to change your name once it’s all over.

The best feature of this brand new site is that all the info is accessible through a one page scroller and finding just what you’re looking for comes in a very intuitive, logical fashion. And there’s so much information – everything you could think of, and just as much that’s probably never occurred to you. All in all a very useful tool for anyone at any stage of the marriage process.

Structuring your best man speech

Best Man in 2015?

Is Your Best Man Speech Looming?

Christmas is always the world’s favourite time for wedding engagements, and as two blissfully in love people roll around under the Christmas tree in matching ironic Christmas jumpers and hats, there will be somebody else have a slightly less happy time. The newly appointed Best Man. There are many cliches about becoming a Best man and as with all cliches there is a foundation of truth. Most guys loved to be asked, and nearly all of them are dreading the speech. 

This is completely understandable as public speaking equates to gut wrenching fear for many of us and the added pressure to be funny can see many Best Men lying awake at night worrying about the whole thing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you’ve just been made a Best Man in 2015 then you have the greatest gift there is when it comes to making a speech: time. 

If you’re using a Best Man Speech Writer or going it alone, time is going to be your greatest friend because the fear that grips all Best men is failure – failure to deliver, failure to make them laugh, failure acknowledge. With several months between now and your big day, there should be no failure, if you act now. 

 

  • The Speech – should be no more than 1200 words and take you no longer than 10 minutes maximum to get through, including stoppages. If you think this is your chance for a a 20 minutes stand up routine, think again. 
  • Story – it doesn’t have to be true, it doesn’t have to even be slightly believable – just based on the truth. As long as it’s funny nobody cares. 
  • Structure – have a clear beginning and end. It doesn’t matter if it’s pure fiction but it has got to be easy to follow. 
  • Bride – don’t forget to mention her, this is her big day after all.
  • Today – a word to avoid when describing the Bride’s beauty. 
  • Thanks – don’t thank anyone, it’s not your job and unless you really know what you’re doing pretty hard to make funny as well. 
  • Toasts – forget toasting anyone apart the happy couple at the end. Your job is to be funny. Full stop.
  • Comedy – think ‘daft funny’ and you’ve got it in one. This isn’t Saturday Night Live and you’re not at the Edinburgh Fringe. If you think it’s edgy, lose it. 
  • Practice – once you’ve got a killer speech then the rest should look after itself. Never try to learn it, otherwise you’ll be sectioned before the wedding. Keep going through it until it’s firmly lodged and then use prompt cards. 
  • Visual Aids – less is more. It might seem like a good idea but anything that makes the guests work is in the end a bad idea. 
  • The End – many Best Men with the end in sight and surfing on a wave of euphoria thanks to a very refreshed crowd decide to end with a bang. Their reaction is for a job well done, not an indication to ramp things up. Resist the urge for smut, innuendo and crudity at all costs. 

 

The truth is everyone is one your side and as long as the Groom hasn’t been daft enough to make you all speak before the Wedding Breakfast, then you’re on to a winner. If he has, then get your funny hat on and get writing jokes.

The wedding speech will make you laugh...and cry.

Wedding Speeches…love, loss and laughter.

Everyone loves a wedding. With great speeches, fantastic outfits and not so close relatives trying to drink their own bodyweight in table wine, you’d have to be made of wood not to get stuck into the revelry and start dancing with strangers like you’re putting up wallpaper…with your tie around your head Rambo style. But amongst all the fun and games there’s usually always a twinge of sadness or two as you reflect on who’s not there, and it normally falls upon the speakers and the speeches to tackle the tricky issue of loss.

As a wedding speech writer I’m called upon to write about sadly departed friends and relatives just as much as I am the living. Most people tend to get married a lot later in life which means that nearly every couple I write for is having to go through their special day without an important person they grew up with. This brings about a really tough situation: how do you deal with talking about a person who has died without the speech and indeed the day becoming swamped in sadness?

You have to be brutally pragmatic about it otherwise there’s a real danger of rendering the speech a mini eulogy and that’s not what the day is supposed to be about. A wedding should be a joyful, uplifting celebration and that’s exactly what it needs to focus on and that feeling is marshalled directly by the speeches and the speakers. It’s part of their remit, whether they like it or not, to grab that feel good spirit and provide the perfect transition between the food and the dancing. If the mood is brought crashing down it’s pretty much impossible to get it going again, and nothing will do that more effectively that majoring on death.

Parents, grandparents and friends who have died all have their place in the speech but it should be kept really light, focusing on a positive and never more than a couple of sentences. A great way to combine these people and a wedding speech is of course a joke, and if you think I’m being overly frivolous, then you’re very mistaken. It’s paramount to keep things upbeat and the chances are the deceased also had a sense of humour, so why not do that justice and maybe take a lighthearted look at what they might have thought of today’s celebrations?

Trust me: avoid the urge to make everyone sob uncontrollably and instead go for the tried and tested route of fun, with respect. It’s a wedding, it’s meant to be great fun, so let everyone enjoy it.