In some ways the groom has the easiest wedding speech of all – even easier than the father-of-the-bride speaker – despite the fact that he may have not slept for three nights beforehand worrying about it.
Traditionally his role is to thank the father of the bride (or whoever has given this particular speech) for his kind words and to thank everyone responsible for organizing – and where appropriate, paying for – this amazing wedding.
He also thanks the other guests for turning up and for their generous gifts.
(No jokes about 18 toasters here; it could cause hurt feelings.)
For a list of ALL our articles on wedding speeches for everyone from groom to granny, click here.
Then the role involves thanking the bridesmaids, best man/woman and ushers/groomsmen for their hard work and sanity in keeping the whole show on the road both before and during the wedding.
Finally, the groom proposes a toast to the bridesmaids and in our age of gender equality, the ushers/groomsmen as well if he wants to.
But before you get to the toast, what about the main reason why you’re here?
What should the groom say about his new wife in his wedding speech?
Most of the wedding etiquette books and articles say that once he has got the main business out of the way he should lavish praise on the bride and tell romantic stories about their love and their relationship until the entire wedding party is sniffing away their tears.
This is fine, if that’s the way you would speak normally and your new wife isn’t likely to whack you over the head for it later with one of your shiny new, 7 identical frying pans. However there is nothing more cringe-making for everyone – you and the bride included – if you overdo it in a way that you wouldn’t normally speak unless blind drunk or hallucinating on morphine.
Remember the old cliché – less is more
If you are normally a person who does not ooze sentimentality, you – and your bride plus all your friends and relatives – will know how much it means even if you tell a short story about how you met and how you knew instantly the she was “the one,” rather than rambling on about how beautiful, clever, talented, charming, sociable and otherwise delightful she is in a way that isn’t “you” at all.
Don’t be tempted or talked into saying anything you are not comfortable with. By the way, in my experience that’s the number one fear factor than causes pre-speech stress; not so much nerves about getting up and speaking, but nerves about getting up and trying to make out you’re someone you’re not. So practice this part of your speech, especially, with a good friend or failing that a voice recorder so that it sounds exactly like you on the day.
The best man’s wedding speech is next so hand over to him/her
Here you can resort to a bit of humor if you like and make the mood a little more informal in preparation for the best man’s speech, especially if you know it’s going to be funny.
One of the most popular links to the best man’s wedding speech is something like “now I’m going to hand you over to (name) who has been diligently researching about (bride) and me for some time now to find things to say about us in his/her speech today … that is until s/he got sectioned under the Mental Health Act for being a pathological liar.” (USA and other countries: use your national equivalent.)
You could also say something like “I know (name) has found out some awful truths about my youth so while s/he speaks I hope you don’t mind if I go and lock myself in the restroom…”
Etc. Whatever humorous line you use make sure that it doesn’t cause offense to anyone in the room (remember children and older people) and that it’s relevant to your relationship with the best man/woman.
Keep it short and sweet
Don’t forget that this is a private, personal and emotional occasion – not a UNESCO conference. Talk for as long as you want to; after all it’s your wedding, but don’t go on longer than a few minutes. Rehearse it beforehand then get up there and enjoy yourself.
Final tip? Much as you may feel like indulging in some “Dutch courage” – alcohol – before your speech, don’t, or failing that keep it to a glass or so. It may make you relax but at the same time it will relax your concentration with potentially embarrassing results.
All the answers you need about wedding speeches and other presentations:
“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well
“Wedding Speeches For Women” … available on all the Amazons in print or Kindle.
Image thanks to http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_hindu_Bridegroom.jpg