Over the years I have lost count of the number of times I've heard people dismiss the groom speech as just a groom speech. For some reason they like to relegate its importance, thinking it's just a case of standing up thanking everyone you have ever met in your life, and many who you haven't and also throw in the bloke who drove the car, the ladies who did the flowers and Dave for being the MC. The groom speech is much more than this...it's probably the most important speech you're ever going to make.
Firstly we need to talk about thanking people. Never in the history of humankind, barring two world wars, have we ever needed a little boost through recognition and thanks. However, the groom speech is not the place. Yes, if friends and close family have gone the extra mile to help out, then you must give them the 'big up', but all others will have to be content with the fat cheque you sent them for their services. I have one rule for a list of people you should thank, and that is: if you paid them, they should be thanking you, not the other way around. You might think that the wedding planner is your new best friend, but this time next week, they won't remember who you are. Forget them. Far too many people at weddings have a misplaced sense of loyalty for those relationships forged in the white hot heat of wedding planning and they are only ever temporary, fleeting dalliances. Save your thanks for the people who really matter.
Secondly, this is the only time you're ever going to have the opportunity to say lovely things out loud about the people who are, and have been, important in your lives. To dismiss the groom speech as just a groom speech, is doing a great disservice to the magnitude of that opportunity. Parents work a lifetime to give their children the lives they wished they'd had, and if you don't publicly acknowledge their sacrifice and hard work, you'll be kicking yourself for evermore.
Of course, it's also your opportunity to say exactly how much your lovely new wife means to you. All being well this opportunity will next arise several decades later at one of your anniversary bashes, so you need to make sure it's as original, powerful and efficient as possible, and that last point is key. Far too many grooms eat up valuable time and words by saying exactly the same thing in about 3 different ways. Nail something in a really neat way and move one, don't think that saying it in triplicate is going to add impact, it won't.
So, it's never just a groom speech, it's a 24 carat, solid gold chance to let everyone know what they've done to play their part in the person you've become and the occasion of the day. Make the most of every minute because fingers crossed, it won't be happening again!