Wedding speeches used to be seen as a begrudging duty and somewhat of an endurance test for guests. But now, nearlyweds are realising their wedding speeches add the heart and humour to the day and making the most of them.
Couples are ditching the old-fashioned speech traditions, cheesy cliches and googled gags, and speeches are now having their time to shine.
We asked the speechwriting experts at Speechy (speechy.com) to give us an insight into how couples can shake up the old wedding speech line-up.
Shake up the line up
Sometimes the traditional father of the bride, groom and best man works but in 2023, the speech line-up is becoming more diverse and exciting.
As a guide you generally need…
- Someone (friend or family) paying a tribute to Spouse 1
- Someone (friend or family) paying a tribute to Spouse 2
- Someone representing the newly hitched (Spouse 1, Spouse 2 or both of you)
So, who should you consider?
Whether or not a bride speech is on the itinerary, make sure you consider the other brilliant women who could step up to the mic.
In a recent online poll, 62 per cent of people said they disliked male-only speech line-ups, so it’s your duty to have a think.
Surely, we can all appreciate what mums have to say? Or maybe the best woman would give a great speech? Or what about the groom’s sister? Siblings always have a lot of ammunition up their sleeves (even if it is a sleeveless Carolina Herrera number).
‘We’re increasingly working with women wanting to give a great wedding speech,’ says Speechy’s founder, Heidi Ellert-McDermott. ‘Why should three blokes get to hog the wedding mic? We find women have just as much to say and are often funnier too!’
The quirky curveballs
Don’t just go for the obvious speakers. If you want to charm the pants off your guests, look at the youngsters and oldies you have to play with.
The grandma and grandpas in the room; doesn’t really matter what they say, they’re guaranteed to get folk smiling. Ask them to read out a funny poem or just a couple of (comedy) lines offering you their very personal marriage advice.
And then we have the young ‘uns. This works especially well if you or your partner already have children but godsons, nieces, any little tyke really, can be entertaining.
Who represents your union on mic deserves some thought.
The old school choice is just one of you speaking on behalf of you both.
It’s worked for a fair few decades and it’s a decent option if one of you hates the thought of giving a speech.
But if you’re in a straight union, let’s not assume it’s the bloke who’s on speech-duty. The groom has an equal claim to a fear of public speaking, and brides should remember this isn’t your average wedding ‘to do.’ Giving a speech could just turn into one of your favourite moments of the day. A chance to thank your mates, drop a love-bomb on your parents and pay a once-in-a-lifetime public tribute to the person who’s just agreed to tolerate you for the rest of their life! It’s, honestly, your chance to create a lifelong memory so don’t shy away it.
Of course, if you two do opt for just a solo speech to welcome and thank your guests, this doesn’t mean the other can’t have a say in it. Speeches no longer have to be written in secret and rehearsed in a cupboard. In fact, they’re generally better if they’re not. Two heads really are better than one – so get involved!
Sure, keep a romantic line or two to reveal on the day but otherwise, start as you mean to go on. Work as a team. Planning your line-up and writing your speech really is an investment in the day.
Another option is you both deliver a speech. This way you both get to thank the people you love and pay a tribute to the each other too. With this option, you need to make sure you’re not just repeating each other and that you divvy up your best content and favourite stories fairly. The bride shouldn’t just be getting up to say a few extra thank yous.
The final speech option for couples is to deliver a joint speech. Whether it’s a bride and groom or a same-sex wedding speech, joint speeches are a wedding trend that’s set to stay. It’s a great way of saying, ‘BOOM, we’re a team.’
It also takes the pressure off just one of you and allows you to have fun writing and rehearsing it.
Lots of Speechy clients have said their joint speech became the epicentre of their day and every one we’ve written has gone down a storm.
Select your speakers
Sit down together and think about who you’d pick to speak at your wedding if you didn’t know anything about the traditional wedding etiquette.
‘Sometimes the traditional male line-up is the best choice but we’d encourage couples to consider getting a woman on mic too,’ says Heidi. ‘Ultimately, you want a mix of speakers who will add love and laughter to the day rather than unquestionably following tradition.’
Super-style your speeches
You can get more speech inspiration from Heidi’s new book, ‘The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches.’ Everything you need to know about how to make your speeches a wedding day highlight – including advice from world-renowned wedding influencers and over a dozen speech examples written by the Speechy team.
Available online and at all good bookshops.