Speeches: Where do I even start?

Speeches: Where do I even start?

Amy and Leo- Photography by Peter Reynolds

Speeches, speeches, speeches.

They really are some peoples worst enemy and others best friend!

Now I wish we could sit here and give you the perfect formula for your speech, but I hate to say it… there’s not one.

That’s not to say we haven’t seen lots of amazing speeches, as we most certainly have! We’ve seen all sorts from baby reveals, songs, raps, films, tears…the list goes on!

Although we cannot write the speech for you (Gutted right?)

We certainly can tell you the do’s and don’ts and hopefully get you kickstarted with a few ideas.

Louise and Leon- Photography by Steve Barber

Now let’s start with the basics.

Traditionally, wedding speeches are after your meal and kick off with the father of the bride who thanks the guests for attending, acknowledges his daughters new parent in-laws and welcomes his new son or daughter in-law to the family. He is then followed by the groom who toasts the bride’s parents, the bridesmaids and then his blushing bride.  Finally, it is then over to the best man who focuses on the groom and ends on a toast to the happy couple.

Do speeches have to be after the meal? Nope.

Does this have to be the order they are done? Not at all

Is it limited to these wedding party members? Absolutely not!

Now we are in 2022, weddings have truly steered away from many traditions so don’t feel pressured to fulfil the stereotypes.

Katie and Lee- Photography by Steve Barber

The speeches can be at any point in the day, it’s your wedding!

Naturally they work best either before the meal once all guests are seated, or right at the end of the meal after desserts.

The main benefit of doing the speeches before the meal are if you have some super nervous speakers in your wedding party it gets it over with so they can enjoy their meal.

However, the traditional spot after the meal does round up the end of the meal nicely and marks the beginning of the evening reception. This spot lends itself to being perfect for encouraging people to leave their seats and get the party atmosphere started.

The order is up to you! All we say is try and end on a high.

Why not add a few additional speeches to the mix?

Come on ladies, girl power! Whether it be a Bride, Maid of Honour, Mother or Daughter. Let’s get one for the women up there!

Hannah and Jack- Photography by Laura DeBourde

Although extra speeches are great, try not to get carried away. The thought of having all members of the family and friends involved sounds lovely at the time but bear in mind on average it takes about 5-10 minutes per speech. It can add up to a long time for people to sit. (Especially as it is usually after a 2-hour service for wedding breakfast!)

Keep the numbers to a special few.

Hannah and Jack- photography by Laura DeBourde

Now when it comes to writing a speech…

Here are a few top tips from us!

The Do’s:

  • Put any differences aside! This is a big day celebrating a couple who love each other, let them have the limelight today.
  • It is all about the couple…not you! We want to hear about stories from the past, make it personal. However, be sure to keep them in the tone of anecdotes, not moans about their past mistakes. If you’re struggling, you can always turn to family members for any memories they can recall.
  • The groom especially, you will find your speech is full of a lot of thank yous. Its always a nice touch to add a personal line to each. For example, not just “Thank you to my ushers”. Pick them out one by one and say a little line about a reason or time you’ve been grateful to have them as your friend. Keep it under 10 Minutes, 5 minutes ideally! Let’s leave the crowd wanting more.
  • Open up! Weddings are emotional days, don’t let the stage fright stop you from truly getting across your love and appreciation for each other.
  • This may be obvious but end on a toast! A lovely natural way to round up your speech on a high.
  • Practice, practice, practice! We would always recommend writing your speech out in full, then reading it out loud multiple times to help memorise it to a level where you are able to just use cue cards on the day to prompt you.

Sarah and Sophie- Photography by Nicola Dawson

The Don’ts:

  • Grooms don’t forget a thank you! Even if you don’t want to write out your whole speech, make sure to have list of all the people you can reference who need a thank you.
  • You can push the boundaries…but not too far! Always bear in mind there may be children and elderly relatives in the audience. You don’t want to upset Nanny Pat!
    (Top tip: If you have to include a few *adult words* maybe consider getting a child entertainer during the speeches. Such as a magician or crèche)
  • Don’t speak too fast. There will end up being natural pauses with laughter and heckling, sometimes where you don’t expect it. Let the moment happen and resume once the room is settled.
  • Let’s not have too many drinks before. A couple to ease the nerves is acceptable but you don’t want to take it too far.
  • Don’t feel pressured to be funny. If you’ve got some great one liners up your sleeve go for it! If the thought of cracking a joke make you feel sick in the stomach, don’t do it! A speech doesn’t need to be funny to be great.
  • Giving out gifts. Why not have a more personal moment in the morning with your parents, bridesmaids or groomsmen when gifts can be given. Sometimes when included in speeches it can begin to feel like a presentation.

Nick and Brenna - Photography by Matt Trott

Now hopefully that has got you started!

The last thing you want to do is head to Google for your speech.

Start jotting down the main points you want to get across and then piece it together from there.

Now if speeches really aren’t your cup of tea, keep reading.

We have tried to piece together a few alternative stances for when it comes to speeches.

A few ideas to keep it fresh!

  1. If you are after a more relaxed approach, maybe try something different and have the speeches outside? Our Bridge lends itself to the perfect platform.
  1. We do have a projector. Best men especially, maybe you need some photographic evidence to back up your stories?
  2. Get in contact with The Redfords! They offer a bespoke song writing service where they find out lots of info about all involved and pop it into a song. They’ll create a speech that people will not forget.
  3. Make a game of it and get the guests involved. A small game in the middle of speeches always goes down well. Mr and Mrs quizzes do lead to a room full of laughter. Keep it short and sweet though!

Laura and Steve- Photography by James Pearce

That’s all from us… Good luck speech writing!

By Sophie Kelderis, Wedding Co-ordinator


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