About Adrian Simpson

A Week in Speech

Ramblings from the laptop…


If at some point you’ve had any real fantasy about becoming Father Christmas, then I can safely say from experiencing one aspect of the job remit, that it’s really rather great. Santa, has the insight in to families all over the world, knows how they work, and sees if they’ve been bad or good, and then acts accordingly. Well, a wedding speechwriter operates in very much the same way.


Writing a wedding speech you sometimes have to know as much about the things you can’t talk about as the ones you can, and very often the people I write for are more than happy to talk about the former rather than the latter. There have been secret children, deceit, betrayal, crimes and the odd fatality, but it’s the other more apparently mundane stories and how the speakers want to approach their speech, that can be really enlightening.


So with that in mind I’m starting a weekly round up of the slightly weird but ever so wonderful world of speech writing.


Last week was an interesting one in that I receive many enquiries from best men who also happen to be the groom’s brother. Nothing unusual in that, but the extent to which the best man wanted to roast his brother was quite eye watering. He demanded that I list and name all the former girlfriends and list and name all the brides former squeezes. When I pointed out this could be a game changer in their relationship he responded by asking me to verbally take apart his brother’s business, aspirations and appearance. I think he was tired.


Sometimes the insight into people’s lives that comes with writing a wedding speech can be staggering, sometimes the lack of it can be equally mind boggling. I have just received a thank you note from a client for whom I wrote a best man speech. He had known his friend for 30 years and yet couldn’t provide me with a single anecdote. I knew he liked dinosaurs when he was little and music when he was older. Managing to write a relevant 7 minute speech out of that lot, made my head hurt. How on Earth are you best friends with someone for 3 decades and know nothing about them? Still, great challenge though.


I have just completed one of the best speeches I’ve ever created. I know you shouldn’t say that but I can because nobody is ever going to see it or hear. Why? Because the client I have written it for can’t decide if they now want funny or serious. Doh!


People have some very interesting pastimes. I’ve just written for a guy who met the groom aged about 30 when he invited him around for a huge session of naked computer games. If that’s not too bonkers, there’s a groom out there who’s daily breakfast is to mix tuna with orange juice and eat it out of the tin over the kitchen sink. Our thoughts are with his lovely new wife. And couples do meet in the strangest of circumstances. A recent groom first saw his wife aged around 20 going to the bathroom in the street…and thought that she was the girl for him…


And finally this inaugural speech week post is for the guy who helped his brother out by dressing up as the Pizza Hut Pooch only to receive a semi aggressive welcome from local feral youths in the park. I bet none of them will ever forget being violently threatened by a giant dog. Good for you my son.










Speech testimonials

The World Cup and Your Wedding

shutterstock_164655896-e1404163465238-230x300 The World Cup and Your Wedding


England’s almost nonexistent part in Brazil 2014 is about as miserable as it gets for many English international sports fans. However, as Rooney et al console themselves in the Caribbean grazing on lobster, it must have come as a huge relief to many brides around the country, because there is nothing that will divide, destroy and totally nullify your big day than having to compete with a major sporting fixture. You’re going to lose and whatever happens it’s not going to be pretty.


Wimbledon’s God fearing, sensible, middle class crowd know better than to corrupt a significant family celebration with the banalities of yet another date in the sporting calendar. Golf is played at such a pedestrian pace that the odd text update here and there won’t be noticed, and Formula One is so tragically dull that most enthusiasts are simply rerunning Youtube films from the 1974 season.


But football and rugby are different. The big games are frenetic, vital and demand to be watched for the entirety of their duration and most importantly, live. Unfortunately for most brides, nearly every big game from these codes will take place on a Saturday and usually in the Spring or Summer. Somebody, somewhere is going to come unstuck.


So what to do? Well, nothing beats a bit of prior preparation and planning. Always think about what sporting competitions are going to be held around the time of your marriage, because otherwise, when there’s a clash, the first thing you’re going to know about it is the barrage of texts and emails saying ‘didn’t you realise?’. No you obviously didn’t.


If the dates for the venue you’ve set your heart on can’t be moved then it’s time to grab the situation by the horns. If you’re both diehard sports fans then make it an integral part of the day and work everything around it. Theme the tables, gifts and colours accordingly. Embrace it. Celebrate it. And enjoy it. But if you’re not then don’t leave things to unfold ‘organically’ because you will have a living nightmare on your hands.


Nothing will kill the festivities quicker than unannounced and unscheduled, everyone stopping to watch a game, or just as bad; pacing themselves throughout the day in order to make a midnight kick off on the other side of the world. I’ve seen it happen first hand and the ‘happy’ couple almost became spectators at their own wedding. It simply doesn’t mix and you’ve got to let people know that from the outset, otherwise the ushers are will be sneaking in a 42 inch plasma or people will be glued to their smartphones.


If the venue has television, which many do, make sure they’re disconnected and out of bounds. If there’s wifi available make sure that the guests know tapping into it to watch the match is not what you had in mind. It may sound Draconian, and I am a huge sports fan, but let’s face it: it’s one game and with all the effort you’ve put into things, you deserve better.


So, England’s early exit does have a silver lining for some and not just those that hail from the rest of the UK.