Speech Therapy for your Fiancé – How to write a speech

Hello, I hope that you are all well. As the lead up to Sara’s wedding becomes increasingly close I wanted to share a post that was written by my own husband. Writing a speech can be a daunting task especially when you want to encapsulate a few laughs, love and thanks. My husband  therefore has shared with you some hints/tips and also his own speech to show you that even those who do not have a way with words can still make the room laugh and cry. So here we go, handing over to Meryl’s Husband…

Hello, this is Meryl’s hubs here for a man’s eye view on the big day, so as my 1st anniversary passes by, what a better time to think about what I wanted to say on the day itself; the groom’s speech.

I do a lot of driving for a living, mainly to London and back in the early hours of the morning, or so late at night as to almost be the early hours of the morning again. This gave me plenty of time to think about what I wanted to say in my speech. Parts of what I wanted to say came together months before the wedding, but I only actually wrote it out in full the week before the big day. What follows is the outline of one way to write a speech, and i’ll follow it with my own speech as an example, so you’ll forgive me if this is rather long. I also  have been accused of being over fond of words, especially with my darling wife,but rest assured she’ll be among the first to reprimand me if I stray from the topic into the fast-flowing depths of mellifluous logorrhoea.

Toast of the Town

Firstly, to structure.It is traditional for the grooms speech to be mainly about saying thank you to people for their help. The father of the bride’s speech is to welcome the groom to the family and the best man’s speech is to introduce the groom to the brides extended family, with the burden of being funny mainly falling on the best man, and usually at your expense dear groom, you have been warned…

The format I followed was to open by thanking the former speaker for their speech. In my case it was the maid of honor, as when more modern weddings add an extra speaker, they usually fit between the father of the bride and the groom. Some variants include a Bride or maid of honor speaking, or another parents speech, which I am told is more common with divorced parents of the bride or groom.

This was followed by thanking all your guests for coming, and thanking in particular any individuals who maybe put in some extra help you would like to recognise with a gift who won’t be mentioned in the later thanks. Then I thanked both sets of parents, the brides first, and toasted the parents, then thanked and toasted the bridesmaids. Then came the most important part of the speech, the Bride.

‘To my new wife…’

This is where you make or break your speech, so no pressure! Start with a compliment on her appearance, but keep it fairly generic when you draft it. Don’t write in a compliment about the earrings in case she isn’t wearing any on the day, you’ll carry on regardless and look the fool for it.

Move on to a story about the two of you. A good choice is the story of how the two of you met, although in my case I knew that as my Best Man had introduced us he wanted to tell that story, so I chose a story that said something about our relationship that could be romantic and get me a laugh in!

After the story, say something heartfelt about how you feel about your new wife. This may be difficult for some, so maybe look at some other peoples speeches on the internet or look at poetry or song lyrics for inspiration. Remember why you wanted to get married in the first place and try to put into some sort of words what makes this woman so special to you. It doesn’t matter if the words are someone else’s, so long as you mean it. Your speech will be rated on whether or not the bride tears up by the end of this bit, so go for broke! Finally lead the toast to the Bride.

Nearly done. All that’s left to do is to thank your ushers and your best man, and to introduce the best man’s speech.

Away with words

And that’s it. My speech ran to about a thousand words, you’re looking for about 5 to 7 minutes. I printed it on four sheets of paper in a nice big font with extra spacing so I’d have no trouble reading it, as you don’t want to be struggling to read your own writing whilst stood in front of all your guests. In the end I used mine more as a guide to remind me what to say and the speech I gave wasn’t word perfect to what I’d written.

 As for jokes, the groom gets off lightly as no one is expecting great comedy performances from the grooms’ speech, so you can put in some funnies if you feel up to it or leave them out. I had a prop for my speech, a present tankard my wife bought me years before we were married that my best man handed over at the relevent part of the speech, and I’ve heard of a groom who gave his whole speech in verse. If there is anything you think might make the speech a bit more unique to you then give it a try.

 DO read your speech through, if only to yourself, as you write it, it’ll help you get an idea of if it works and if it’s too short or long.

 DON”T rely on a handwritten speech. Unless you do public speaking for a living, rule out any chance of nerves getting the better of you. For my own speech I was shaking so hard that when I offered the toasts, I couldn’t actually drink from the glass for fear of spilling it down me!

 Finally, DO try to write your own speech. If you ignore everything else i’ve written over all my articles, DON”T buy a speech someone else has written for you. You wanted to get married so here’s your chance to tell all your guests why. Take it, and no matter how poor you feel your wordsmithing is, she’ll love you for it, and you’ll be glad you did.

© Pow Pow Pictures 2011 

My speech

Now on behalf of my wife and I, thank you all for joining us today to celebrate our  marriage!

It is a privilege to be in the company of so many cherished family and friends. More than the places and the things, it is the people that make the day so memorable and in the years to come, when the food and the furnishings are forgotten, it will be your smiles, your kind words and your laughter we shall remember, so thank you all for coming and please be generous with all three.

Now in writing this speech I looked online for advice, and amongst the more prosaic advice on how long the speech should be and who to mention in what order, I found this gem. It said that a good groom’s speech should have the bride laughing in the beginning and crying by the end, so with that in mind, maybe some of you can keep an eye on Meryl for me and let me know how I do.

Also as is custom, there will be a few toasts during my speech, so  please don’t neck the whole glass at the first toast… Linda…

O.K. On to the thank you’s. There have been so many people involved in the planning and organising of this wedding, from the stationary to the flowers for the church, to simply getting Mel to the dress fittings, so thank you to all involved. Actually the only part that was entirely my own work was the seating plan for this dinner, so if you’re unhappy with who you’ve been sat next to that’s my fault, but if you raise your hands now, we’ll have them moved for you.

I’d just like to make a special mention of my auntie Michelle, who made our guest book for us to commemorate the day with, and to Mel’s Uncle Gordon for the use of his car. We have a little token of our esteem with will find it’s way to you in due course.

Now on behalf of my wife and I, we would like to thank both sets of parents as we wouldn’t be here today without them.

To Martin and Linda.

Traditionally I am supposed to thank you for welcoming me into the family today, but I feel like I’ve already been part of the family for so long, so perhaps instead I can thank you for raising Meryl to be the beautiful woman I married today. I love her with all my heart and will do everything I can to make her happy.

And to my Mum and Dad, a special thank you for all your love and support over the years. Mum, you throw yourself fully behind everything I do and with the invitations and the cakes and everything else you’ve done for us, today is no exception. Dad, when I was dating, you never said anything, but I get the feeling there was a sense of ‘where does he get these girls from?’ Well, if you withheld comment before, your approval of Mel was obvious: You never tried to trick any of the others into kissing you.

Ladies and gentlemen, please raise your glasses to Martin and Linda, and Alan and Elaine, the parents!

To our bridesmaids: Gemma, Holly, Sarah and Kim-Claire. (I do have to call you that, Mum’s listening)

I’m sure everyone will agree they look stunning today. Thank you for all your help today, I’m sure your assistance has been a great help and re assurance to Meryl. For those that don’t know, Mel suffers from anxiety attacks, not the greatest thing in the world when planning a wedding, so I was especially pleased to see a bridesmaid with experience administering sedatives. Not my sister, though I’m sure she would have done her bit, but if Mel had had a last minute change of heart at the church door and gone to run out on me, I was confident that Sarah, with her experience at Woburn Safari Park, could dart Meryl and bring her down short of the churchyard wall.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your glasses to the Bridesmaids!

And so to the star of today, my gorgeous new wife Mel. – I can’t begin to tell you how absolutely stunning you look today. I knew before you arrived I was getting the better end of this deal, but it was only when I saw you coming up the aisle I realised by how much.

Tradition says I should tell the story of how Mel and I met, but I think Chris is planning to tell that one, and since it is mainly his fault, I thought I’d leave it to him. So instead I’ll tell another story or two stories, as Mel will tell you I do like a good story.

The first is that, several years ago I worked for Games Workshop, a company with a long standing tradition of presenting any employee that manages to stick out a job there for 5 years with an engraved pewter tankard, and due to the machinations of office politics or a twist of fate, I received my 5 year tankard on the same day as my P45.

Now I told Mel this story, and on my next Birthday I was given by Meryl a pewter tankard, engraved with a message from her. When I asked her about it, she said it was in place of the one the company never gave me. This taught me two things; Firstly that ‘yeah, mmm, uh huh’ does not mean she’s really listening, and secondly that if she thinks I feel I’m missing anything, any tiny thing to make me feel better, I know she’ll be there for me.

Meryl, I love you so much and for so many reasons, you know me and understand me in a way no one else does. You see the best in me and accept the worst, and love me so strongly when all I did was keep showing up. I love you so much my ribs feel tight and my eyes get hot. You are my biggest fan, my councillor, my partner in crime and the love of my life. Thank you for marrying me and making me the happiest man alive, and know that I will always love you with all of my heart, just as you love me.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your glasses for the most important toast of the day. To my wife, Meryl, the Bride!

Well I’m sure you’ll agree that’s quite enough from me. I’d just finally like to thank my ushers, Chris and Phil, and my best man Chris, who organised an amazing stag do, and didn’t drop the rings!  Before Chris gives his speech I should perhaps point out he used be the funny one in his sales office, but now he’s a comedian researching the sales environment, looking for new material and mortgage payments, all of which should clearly show him to be a master of the amusing lie, so take what you here next with a pinch of salt.

Thank you for the insight in to ‘How to write a speech’ and I hope it has helped anyone who has a got writers block. 

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