"...and so on to how I met Lucy... chapter five..."
Please make it stop!!! There’s nothing worse than a boring groom speech – yes, you have people to thank, yes there are important things to be said… blah, blah, blah… but that doesn’t mean it has to be dull!
And remember, your best man is about to unleash a torrent of comedy man-grenades at you in front of all your nearest and dearest, so fight fire with fire and throw some jokes at your nemesis before he lets rip.
Right, I’d just like to start with two simple rules. Firstly, no heckling please. And secondly, if you do have a mobile phone... please, leave it switched on, keep yourselves entertained. I think if you keep your spirits high and your expectations low, everyone will be happy.
I’m going to make a deal with you all. If you at least promise to pretend to laugh at my jokes, then I promise not to let [Best Man] burst into song during his speech.
[Bride’s Father] I’d like to thank you for giving away [Bride] this morning so willingly, a bit too willingly if you ask me.
Now I know [Best Man] has been very nervous about his speech and it has given him quite a few sleepless afternoons at work.
My best man is proof that the gene pool doesn’t have a lifeguard so please feel free to ignore everything he says about me in his speech.
I would just like to point out to all the ladies that my best man is single, we’re hoping to find him a good home. Not any of you, we like you all far too much to inflict him on you but if you have any friends that you don’t really like then please pass their details to the front so we can start the vetting process.
The groom's speech is traditionally second, after the father of the bride and before the best man. The wedding speeches take place when everyone is seated, either before or after the meal.
Top Tip: After the meal, your audience will be well fed and maybe a beer or two further down the line, so they're more likely to be relaxed and not starving hungry wishing you'd hurry up so they can get to the buffet.
The perfect groom speech lasts roughly seven minutes (give or take a standing ovation and encore). Any more than that and people will begin to lose interest/doze off/start throwing bread rolls.
Top Tip: Time your speech by practising it out loud.
The hardest part of your speech is knowing where to begin. There are seven basic phases of the groom speech structure to help you cover all the key areas. Stick to these and you can't go far wrong (unless you tell any stories the bride really doesn't want the room to know!).
Welcome – Thank the father of the bride for his speech and thank all your guests for coming.
Formal Bit -Thank the bridesmaids, groomsmen and hand out any gifts. Also thank both mums and present them with flowers.
Parents – Now your speech is underway, thank your parents for making you the man you are today.
The Journey – Explain the journey of how you and your bride met that brought you here today.
The Best Man – This is your chance to draw comedic first blood before he gets the mic.
Your Bride – A chance to tell her publicly how much she means to you and how happy you are today.
Toast – It's traditional to end the groom speech by giving a toast to the bridesmaids.
Your speech should begin with a quick thank you to the father of the bride for his speech (which will just have ended) and thanking him for welcoming you to the family.
It's also good to get an early laugh in to relax you and your audience. Also, because you're a damn funny guy!
Top Tip: Start with an early laugh.
Thank the bridesmaids, groomsmen, give a particular mention to any younger members of the wedding party and present any gifts.
Thank anyone who contributed to the wedding - if a family member made the cake or 'Crazy Uncle Frank' is doing the disco, give them a heartfelt mention.
It's traditional to thank the mums and present them with flowers.
Top Tip: Dare to be a bit different with gifts and present something that will show you've really thought about it rather than typed "Bridesmaid gift" into Amazon.
It's now time to dig into your speech proper. Having presented your mum with flowers, it's an easy way to segue into thanking your parents on behalf of both of you and add a few jokes about how tough/easy it must have been raising you.
"Do you know how they met?" It's a line you hear from guests a lot at weddings. Although the story is so familiar to you and your new missus, it's something many of your guests won't know but will be curious about. So your wedding speech is the perfect time to tell the story and add a few jokes to make your bride laugh as well as your guests as you retell the best bits of your love story.
This is also a great time to mention other people in your speech, those that played a part in your story: siblings, best friends, police officers. It's a nice way to fill your speech and is something that can be interesting and entertaining if laced with a few good gags.
Don't just limit yourself to how you ended up on your first date, give a reflective outline of your life together that has led to this special day. And that it's too late for her to try and back out now!
"One, two besties coming for you..." Like your own Nightmare on Wedding Street, there is one man out to get you and, no matter what you do, there's nothing that can stop him. While his speech has given him more than a few sleepless afternoons at work and no matter how nervous he is about his speech, you can be 100% sure of one thing...
He's going to do everything he possibly can to take you down!
Now you can either surrender and just give in to the inevitable or you can go for the pre-emptive strike and reduce the collateral damage by landing a few comedy blows of your own so that he doesn't have it all his own way.
Yes, believe it or not, some grooms do forget to mention their bride in the wedding speech. It's a fast route to spending your first night of wedded bliss sleeping on the sofa. If you want to do it with a touch of class, add a few romantic quotes by the likes of Hilaire Belloc or St Augustine which will make you look like a bit more cleverest than what you actually is.
Another very important thing to remember during your speech is that (unless she is doing a speech as well) you are speaking for both you and your bride. That means remembering to say things like: "We'd like to thank you..." and using the joint pronouns.
The traditional ending for the groom's speech is to ask everyone to raise a glass to the bridesmaids and that is certainly something you should do. But that doesn't mean you can't do a couple of toasts such as asking everyone to raise a glass to the bride.
Top Tip: Speak to your best man and father of the bride to make sure you have all the important toasts covered between you and also make sure you aren't all intending on doing the same toasts by mistake.
1 - Breathe!
Yes, it might seem obvious and you were probably planning on doing that on the day anyway, but controlling your breathing, even something as simple as taking a big deep breath really does work. The intake of oxygen can help control adrenaline and calm your nerves.
2 - Relax
Easier said than done, of course, but there is something you should remember: everyone is here today because of you, they want you to have a great day and they want to enjoy your groom speech, so just remember everyone in the room is on your side and rooting for you to do well.
3 - Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
This is probably the most important speech you're ever going to give (until the UN finally give you that platform to talk about the importance of free beer in the workplace), so you should do it properly. Write your speech long in advance of the weekend to give you plenty of time to keep practising. Not just reading it a few times before the big day, practise saying it out loud. Over and over again! You should be able to say it in your sleep. The more confident you are about your speech (and that includes something as simple as knowing what's coming next), the more relaxed and confident your delivery will be.
4 - Ask a Friend
Get someone to act as your sounding board so you can practise it on them and get any useful feedback about your delivery or any bits that need a rewrite.
5 - Cue Cards
Rather than printing your sheet onto an A4 piece of paper (that could visibly shake in nervous hands), print your speech onto cue cards. They're easier to hold and it's easier to remember smaller sections of speech. You can also use one cue card for each section.
6 - Enjoy It!
You've already done the biggest bit during the actual ceremony. The important details are taken care of, this bit is now all about having fun so make sure you enjoy it.
Whilst some people have a natural talent for humour, others, quite frankly, do not. Don't force a gag. If it doesn't work, if it's ambiguous, if it's tenuous, cut it, and don't go for any in-jokes that only a few guests will understand. Your groom speech jokes should make everyone in the room feel included.
Also, keep it family-friendly, you don't want to say anything that might offend anyone or isn't suitable for a room with small children.
Try and think of funny jokes in relation to those involved, personal jokes, rather than a list you've just printed off Google. And while we're at it, don't get a list off Google, those jokes are really easy to find which means everyone will have heard them before at other weddings. Be different.