Wedding season special: how to make a great speech

We’re coming up to the busiest and most romantic time of the year here in the northern hemisphere … the wedding season. If you will be giving a speech at a wedding this year you’ll find this handy guide very helpful … 12 articles packed with tips and inspiration for you. And in addition to the traditional speech-making roles we have some ideas for other family members and friends who want to get up and “say a few words.” Enjoy!

wedding speeches writing help on HTWB

Giving a speech at a wedding this year? Here is some handy help for everyone…

Help with your wedding speech – whoever you are


In no particular order then … just click on the article titles that appeal to you…

Wedding speeches: need to give one? Here’s some help!
A basic outline of who says what, and the essential points and topics everyone must cover. This assumes that the traditional roles will be used, but with one or two additions.

10 tips for women to make great wedding speeches
General guidelines for all women, from the bride to a lovely old auntie. Tackles the slightly sensitive issues of humour and anything indelicate which some members of the audience might find inappropriate coming from the blushing bride, her bridesmaid, or her mother…

Wedding speeches: Mom or Grandma? Make a speech that wows them
Very detailed ideas for what Mom or Grandma (or other more mature lady relative) can talk about in her speech – remembering that this is a personal occasion and not a business meeting…

How to make a great bride’s wedding speech
Brides are not part of the traditional line-up for wedding speeches and so have the freedom to talk about whatever they please, although certain things should be in there out of courtesy. This article goes into detail on the sort of approaches and content the bride should be comfortable with.

How to make a great best man’s wedding speech
This is one of the traditional roles and scares the potooties out of some men who are not natural speakers but feel they must instantly become the wittiest man in town.

They also feel they should dig up (or make up) horrendous stories about the groom’s murky past so they have the entire audience convulsed with laughter.

In fact, that’s not what the best man’s speech is all about, unless the best man wants it to be. In this article I suggest some alternative ways to do the job and not lose sleep over it for a whole week before the wedding…

How to make a great groom’s wedding speech
One of the downsides of the groom’s speech in the traditional sense is that he, more than anyone, has to make sure he thanks everyone who must be thanked – or else. This can reduce his opportunities to be funny or romantic or whatever, but there is still room for him to be as creative as he likes.

How to make a great father of the bride wedding speech
Dads or even Uncles, Godfathers, etc., can get quite emotional in their speech because essentially it’s a reminiscence piece about the bride. When Dad does this it can be excruciating for the bride, too … .

..especially if he drags out that old story about how she fell out of an apple tree when she was 12 and embarrassed the whole family by shouting obscenities, and so-on and so-on.

Never mind: a little tact and diplomacy on both sides can work wonders.

Weddings: the “best man’s” speech, by a woman
This is an interesting role switch, although now – especially but not exclusively with gay weddings – women give “best person” speeches all the time and do a grand job of it. As with the male version, the primary topic of the speech is the groom.

Weddings: the “father of the bride” speech, by a woman
A woman giving this speech can be even more powerful than if it’s done by a man. Women can get away with being more emotional without sounding cheesey.

The slightly tearful and ever-so-slightly drunken Dad or Uncle, though, can be painful to witness.

This article covers the subject carefully…

How to tell funny jokes in a speech – tutorial
In this article we look at the craft of joke telling, and its parallel skill of joke selecting along with ways of rewriting the jokes so they seem tailor-made for an occasion. There’s some useful information in here for any wedding speech maker, but especially the best man as traditionally his speech is the funniest (although it doesn’t have to be – see above.)

10 quick tips for talks and speeches: how to time yours perfectly
Strictly speaking, because a wedding is a personal/social occasion people don’t feel the need to either write out a script or keep to a reasonably short timeframe. The reality is different.

Sometimes wedding guests are standing during the speeches; and no-one the wrong side of 30 wants to stand around listening to speeches for 45 minutes or more.

Other times, the speeches will be given after a long meal and if they go on for more than 20 minutes or so people will be dying to go to the bathroom, get up and walk around, step outside for a sneaky smoke, call the babysitter, etc. This article shows you how to time your speeches accurately, from a script which you can then either memorise or reduce to bullet points so it sounds more “natural.”

Wedding speeches: help! The dog ate my notes and the wedding is today…
If you really are caught out at the last minute and only have a few minutes to get yourself out of trouble, this article shares some quick tips on recalling what you need to talk about – plus some tips on how to get around having forgotten people’s names, and even if you dry up completely. Yes, it’s cheating, but in an emergency …!

 Don’t hesitate to ask any questions you may have…

…just add them to the comments section below, or email me on suze@suzanstmaur.com, and I will answer them as well as I can. You may also find this book useful … and this one.

Good luck!

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