What makes a great wedding speech?
Wedding speeches are one of the most anticipated, and perhaps dreaded, parts of the wedding day. After the formality of the ceremony, and a refuel with the wedding breakfast, guests are ready for entertainment and a good old laugh and/or cry . Speeches are an opportunity to remember why that exact group of people is gathered in that room and the thing they have in common: the wedding couple. There are a few common speech pitfalls, so we have gathered our advice and hope to offer a little guidance so you can raise a toast, laugh, cheer or sob, take your pick!
Who should have the honour?
This is often the trickiest part of the process, sometimes it can be a battle of the egos, and you will want to avoid upsetting people. Our first rule is: DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. Father of the bride not a fan of public speaking? Then let the mother of the bride take the mic. Best man’s sense of humour not appropriate for relatives? Why not ask a different groomsman or friend to do a speech. There are lots of traditions or you may have really liked a speech set up which you saw at a friends’ wedding, but choose a speech set up which reflects you as a couple and doesn’t force anyone into speaking for traditions sake. We recommend choosing a mixture of family and friends from both sides of the couple, so that the speeches feel well-rounded and inclusive for all guests.
When do they happen in the wedding day?
Our big tip is keep the majority of the speeches after the wedding breakfast, as guests are normally very hungry and therefore more impatient. The exception to this rule is the speech from the couple, be it both bride and groom or just one of you. A welcome speech from bride and groom works well before the breakfast, because you may not have had the chance to speak to all your guests yet, so it gives you the opportunity to wholeheartedly thank everyone for coming before much alcohol is consumed.
Tips for speeches
Keep it short – It doesn’t matter if you are having 1 speech or 10 speeches, keep it short for your sake and your guests’ sake. It should be a fun day, you don’t need to have a 15 minute monologue prepared for half-time, so keep it simple to reduce the pressure on yourself and keep guests entertained. The ideal length is 3-5 minutes.
Authenticity over comedy – However good it feels to win a roaring laugh from the guests, the best speeches reflect your relationship with the couple and come from the heart. We have found the best speeches are anecdotal, not pun or joke based, as they not only lead to laughs but to a sense of communal fondness for the couple amongst the guests.
Road test your jokes – Whilst you may find the story from the Ibiza girls trip in 2014 hilarious, it might not go down so well with elderly relatives, or just might be too niche. Try our your speech in front of friends to avoid any offence or jokes falling flat.
Note cards – Use note cards for your speech, as no matter how much you practise, there is nothing worse than your mind going blank and having no prompts. Only use key words on the note cards which will jog your memory, by keeping it simple it requires you to look up at the guests rather than focussing on the card.
Speeches at the Bodleian
At the Bodleian, we hold our receptions in the Divinity School, the historical heart of the Bodleian with intricately carved stonework and rich wooden features making a grand stage for your speeches. As you can see from the photos within this blog post, you are guaranteed to capture some beautiful and joyous moments of guests laughing and grandmothers crying all whilst framed by historical architecture. What’s more, included in our reception hire cost is a speech PA system provided by THAT Event Company, so you can make sure your well-planned puns fill all corners of the room free of charge.
How do you feel about speeches at your wedding? Had it planned since birth or going to graciously pass the mic to someone else? We would love to hear about your wedding plans, and help you to create your perfect day. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start your Bodleian wedding journey.