Weddings are so much more than just a get together and a big party, having the experience of photographing hundreds of weddings and witnessing some incredibly happy and emotional moments this post is just a few small tips to creating what I would regard as the perfect wedding speeches.
The Two Dads
The most thing I’m going to say about dads speeches is to let them roll with it, if you are lucky enough to have your dad or both dads with you on your big day, I haven’t come across many dads that could have done their speech much better. Dads speeches are often so fuelled by emotion and while most are incredibly happy for you on your wedding day, I have often found myself almost hiding behind the camera during these highly charged emotional moments. If the speech ends up to be quite short it is usually because the man himself might not be good at public speaking but more likely that he is so proud but also emotional that the child he watched walk, talk and grow up move on to the next step of life.
The Grooms Speech
Mostly and probably thanks to a few hours spent trawling google, grooms speeches are usually a similar standard format. In my opinion the best speeches are always concise with a little bit of wit and genuinely sincere. A grooms speech often starts with “thanks” to everyone that helped in anyway to make today possible! 😉 , and yes it probably is a good time to thank people, but really it is better to keep the thanks broader and maybe focus on the people that are most important to you, they are also the most ones that will appreciate your appreciation. Wedding suppliers like your florist, photographer, makeup artist or hair stylist already appreciate you after getting your booking, your wedding venue coordinator will have done a lot with you from initial planning until the day but you will likely also get the chance to thank them when you are writing the cheque the next morning in person! Irish weddings are typically quite big, and this is usually a good time to give a short description to your guests of how you both met and one or two of your most memorable events or experiences you have both had leading up to your wedding day. The wit and humour of a wedding speech only tends to work best if you are naturally witty or good at telling a bit of a yarn, but if you are not, your wedding day probably isn’t the best time to practice! This is especially so if you intend to have a wedding videographer, and although a video can be edited or clipped, speeches are probably the most part of the wedding people will want to watch back in the years ahead. It is always great to see people laugh but honestly if your not into it, you are better keeping your speech as honest and sincere as you can, that way you will be more confident in what you are saying and it will more than likely be those words that will be most likely to impress the new inlaws! 😉 Give your bridal party a mention, these are usually the people that are by your side often for life and they have probably had your back more than once, that said, leave it to the best man to remind the bridesmaids that they look stunning, its all about your other half today! Grooms usually save the best until last. This is usually the most genuine and honest part of a grooms speech. Irish men are renowned for keeping their cards close to their chest when it comes to openly showing affection especially in front of some of your most important people. It is always heartwarming to witness someone laying their heart on the table for their newly wedded partner. Definitely don’t leave that out!! Most grooms usually don’t say all that much but its what they say that counts!
The Best Mans Speech
I think a lot of the pressure that comes with a best mans speech is because they think they have to be a successful comedian, if natural wit and humour comes easy it can make for a really great best man speech but as with the grooms speech, if not its usually best not to try. Sincerity again goes a long way and the most time you will hear people saying “you made a fine job of that speech” is typically because everything that was said hit home and was true. The groom has probably covered pretty much all of the thank you’s and you probably won’t win any best mate awards for letting everyone in the room know the groom forgot to thank someone, a gentle tap and reminder during the grooms speech will go down better than trying to outdo him. The most topics to bring reaction are real moments or stories where you actually had each others back as opposed to telling tales that the mother of the groom hadn’t heard before and doesn’t particularly want repeated either! The best man should also try to think of how they are going to feel listening to themselves on a wedding video ten years from now! (no pressure) 😉 Include everyone in your speech, a bestmans speech shouldn’t just be one sided because he knows the groom so well, do your research on his now wife! Audio and Video can go wrong, so if you intend doing a slideshow or video on a projector or screen, make sure to test it first, most venues won’t have a problem with you making an appointment to set it up and try it out. Make sure what you are setting up is worth it, I have seen some great speeches that were complimented by the likes of a photo slideshow from younger years but remember to keep it clean!
It seems to becoming more common that the bride says a few words during speeches and if you are thinking of saying a few words, from my experiences with brides speeches they usually tend to keep them relatively short but it is usually that they want to convey their words of appreciation to echo what the groom previously mentioned or may not have said! Brides speeches are always more concise and to the point than others but whether you choose to or not don’t feel pressured to include or exclude whatever you feel like adding to it.
- Thank people most important to you.
- If you aren’t comfortable with conveying humour keep it concise and sincere.
- There’s no law for wedding speeches, feel free to make it your own.
- If you need notes, make shorthand notes with big font, it will look better on your video if your head isn’t stuck in an a4 page.
- If you question whether a joke or old tale is too crude to tell – It probably is.
- If you are doing your speech with the aid of a projector and computer, these kind of things easily go wrong and you might be left to rely on notes you have made so be prepared for tech fails.
- If you are nervous, hold the end of the microphone tight to your chest – this will stop people noticing hand shake.
- Read your audience – If you are getting in the jokes and the reaction isn’t what you thought it might be, consider cutting it short and finishing with a final congratulations to the happy couple.
- Make sure the entire congregation can hear you, its no fun for your guests to have to sit through speeches if they can’t hear whats being said.
- Be mindful that people will be watching your wedding video in the future, speeches are really great for family to watch in years ahead, you’ll not want to be cringing when you get to that bit!
- Its traditional to give flowers or a gift to the mums, maybe don’t forget the dads, I often think they would appreciate a lasting gift as much as the mums do.