The length of this speech is absolutely critical to its success – it’s a busy speech, there’s lots to include but at the same time if you talk for too long, nobody is going to be listening.
Attempting to get a groom’s speech to a suitable length is always a tricky business because there is so much to cram in there. After all, this is your one opportunity to speak about a whole host of people who mean something to you, and doing that whilst being thrifty with words is difficult.
There are a couple of classic pitfalls and one of the most common, is going into granular detail about the ushers then spending three whole paragraphs waxing about the in laws. Don’t do it!
A groom’s speech should be no more than ten minutes, and unfortunately many don’t stick this. Grooms can ten to get a bit carried away and see this as their Oscar moment and the perfect opportunity to talk about everyone they’ve ever met, and frequently in gushing tones.
You have got to reign it in and that means 1300 or so words. It simply means that you have to be very efficient with words, and every sentence has to really punch its weight. You have to strip out the detail, think about who is really important in your story and then build it up from there.
Don’t think that in order to talk more about the bride you can drop some key players. You should always talk about the bridesmaids because you have to toast them, and a groom speech with no reference to the best man or parents – and it frequently happens – is not good enough. In order to keep it to the right length a good idea is to give any gifts you may have on the morning of the wedding and so it doesn’t cause any disruption to the flow of your speech. Also do not get the guests to stand up and sit for each toast. The aim of the game is to corrupt the pace as little as possible!
The worst crime in the world is talking for too long, and that’s quickly followed by not talking for long enough. Just think: never over ten minutes, never under five.
In order to get the perfect groom’s speech length you have to distinguish between talking time and actual speech length. I always recommend that you should try and hit 1300 words too get you to ten minutes on the day, and many of my clients will say they’re getting through that speech is much less time. And that’s the point.
If you write a 1300 word speech and read it slowly, purposefully and with plenty of pauses, it should come in at around 7 minutes with absolutely no interruptions. On the day you will have laughter, applause and heckles, and these stoppages will bring it up to ten minutes.
If you write a speech a speech which takes 10 minutes to say at home, that will hit nearer to 15 minutes on the day, and that’s way too long.
If you want to keep the words down forget thanking paid services. It’s unnecessary, boring and eats words. And anyway – they should be thanking you
You can only thank so many people before the guests will have passed out with boredom so keep it to the ones who really matter for optimum speech length.
You want to keep roughly a third of the speech to talk about the bride – so that’s about 400 words. If you’ve written 400 words just on the first date, probably time to edit.