The groom speech – a balancing act

We’ve all lived with Coronavirus for nearly a year now, and have spent the last 12 months rearranging what normal means to us, and will spend the next 10 years trying to get our old normal back again. Just like those war time enthusiasts who like to wear heavy knitted tank tops and listen to bakelite radios whilst jiving with pretend GI’s, we’ll form retro clubs that will get together to practice the art of hugging. Societies will form to celebrate the days when you could quite comfortably sneeze on a bus, and and there will be Facebook groups reminiscing about the days of cheek by jowl queuing.

Yes, our lives have been turned upside down, and if you don’t count school children, and the people who used to reside in Old People’s homes, then none more so than couples about to tie the knot. I have spoken to so many people that rearranged their wedding multiple times in the wake of ever changing Government policy and advice. The record was 7 times…7 times! Normally organising one wedding is traumatic and expensive enough, doing it 7 times either means you’re some sort of super human life force, or you’ve got bits missing.

The end result is that when all those grooms who have ridden that awful roller coaster in the year, stand up to make their groom speech, there’s even more to say than normal. Will anyone have any idea of the journey they’ve been on? Will anyone appreciate the sleepless night, the desperate wrangles over money, lost deposits, family members dying, businesses going bust and juggling the arrangements with the arrival of an unexpected lockdown baby? And quite simply, no they won’t.

However tempting it may be, you need to resist the urge to educate them on just how difficult the last year has been, You can definitely allude to it, but going into granular detail about the list of changes and challenges you’ve faced would be as boring as it is futile. You’ve only got a certain time limit for your speech, and I wouldn’t go much past 10 minutes, so why waste a chunk of it talking about something nobody else cares about? This is supposed to be a celebratory, uplifting speech however, embracing the trials and tribulations thanks to Covid, is going to make it sound like somebody talking about their day at work.

In much the same way, it’s best to avoid listing those who should have been here but didn’t make it due to the virus, either through death or otherwise. All your doing is heaping on the negativity and misery, and throwing the spotlight on to something we’d all rather forget. So, have a crisp funny one liner right at the top, and then carry on as you were. Balance is key to a great speech, and if you are going to upset that equilibrium, then please don’t it let it be about the bloody virus.