Whether your wedding is a formal affair with a strict run sheet in place or a laid-back party for your closest friends and family, when it comes to making a speech, there are a few things you need to include. Five minutes is a good ballpark to aim for, so here are four things you should mention in that time.
Thank your parents and in-laws
You and your new wife wouldn’t be where you are or who you are without your parents. Start with the in-laws, and not just for putting on a great day (if they did). Thank them for their acceptance, support and for raising such a wonderful daughter. If your speech is following up the bride’s father, thank him for his words and advice. If they’ve gone above and beyond, call out specifics. It might not seem like a big deal to you but it’s something they’ll remember forever.
Next up is your parents. Remember, not everyone in the room will know them, so an anecdote from your childhood can help establish some context and common ground. Again, don’t just thank them for their help with the wedding; thank them for their love, support and values.
Thank everyone else
You’re going to need a list here. Thank the guests for coming, particularly those that have travelled to attend. Mention those who couldn’t make it. Thank those who did something special in the lead up to and on the day (did your aunt go to the flower markets at 4.30 in the morning? Did cousin Billy help put up the marquee?)
Thank the bridesmaids for all their help (and a ‘don’t they look gorgeous’ never goes astray) and your groomsmen for all their support. The key here is in delivery. Just because there’s a long list of people to thank doesn’t mean it should be read as a roll call. Be genuine in your gratitude.
Put the bride in focus
Talk about your new wife. How did you meet? What was the proposal like? Most importantly, why did you ask her to marry you? This is your chance to tug at the heartstrings of every woman in the room. From experience, the groom’s speech is usually the one that has me shedding a tear or few. So keep it heartfelt, but not too mushy. A few tears or strategic pauses to keep it together are fine, but a groom who can’t get through some sentiment means the speech gets dragged out and loses momentum.
On the flipside, now’s not the time to make any jokes your new wife’s expense. If you want to stay married for more than a few hours, it’s wise to steer clear of all mentions of ex-girlfriends.
Raise a glass
This doesn’t mean raising your own glasses pre-speech to build a little Dutch courage. Stay sober, coherent and confident. Before you begin, have a glass of water ready in case you need to clear your throat and a full glass of champagne ready to raise a toast to your new wife. It probably won’t be the first toast of the night, but don’t let that stop you; it’s a great way to end and now your speech is done you can hit the bubbles all you like.
Ms Chinoiserie Says: Great advice – particularly about the length; anything longer than five minutes tends to lose its charm!