A Gentleman’s Guide To A Wedding Speech

Public speaking, you either love it or you hate it. If you fall into the latter, unfortunately it’s all too often a necessary and unavoidable evil – the wedding speech is one such occasion. Once nominated or obliged, as either the father of the bride, groom or best man, I’m afraid it’s time to step up, man up and deliver the toast of your life. Don’t worry, we don’t expect you to do it alone, we’ve got your back and by following these guidelines you can’t go too far wrong…

 

DUTCH COURAGE ISN’T THE WAY TO GO

A shot or two for that initial boost of confidence is ok, the drinking throughout the ceremony to get through the ordeal not so much. Get up sloshed and suitably inebriated and you’re likely to make a fool of yourself, more than if you were slightly nervous and sober.

 

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT 

Don’t wing it. Do the couple in question the respect of a rehearsed toast. Talk it through with a trusted friend or partner and if you think you’re going to need them, there’s no shame in cue cards.

 

EYES UP

Address your audience, not the entire print out – this also isn’t ok ­– look out into the spectating crowd and at the couple when you’re talking to them. It’s not rocket science. Act natural.

 

BREATHE

Speaking of natural, breathe and take the appropriate pauses. Try and rush through the entire spiel in one breath is both impossible and poor form. Present a front of confidence, even if you’re a wreck on the inside.

 

BE TASTEFUL WITH THE JOKES

It’s all well and good making a joke, in fact it’s expected. Humorous speeches go down well but don’t lower the tone. Ditch the inappropriate, untactful jokes and keep it (relatively) clean, know your audience.

 

WHAT HAPPENED IN BANGKOK…

Don’t dig up unnecessarily embarrassing stories from the stag weekend or teenage misdemeanours. The bride doesn’t need to hear about ex-girlfriends and the groom’s grandmother certainly doesn’t need to know about the exotic dancers in Prague. Keep it appropriate.

 

KEEP IT CANDID AND PERSONAL

Don’t try too hard. Be mildly amusing, even laugh out loud funny but don’t force the jokes. Laugh it off if a joke falls flat and remember this is supposed to be an ode to the happy couple, not an opportunity to exercise your stand-up credentials.

 

BE AWARE OF THE TIME

A 45-second demonstration of word vomit is as bad as a 30-minute lecture, keep it to 5-10 minutes most and you’ll be fine, just enough to keep them interested and not too long that they’re falling asleep in the desert.

 

DON’T BE TOO GIMMICKY

Those viral videos of rapped speeches, sing songs and dance routines go down well on YouTube. For every one viral clip, 100 gimmicky best man speeches fall flat and ruin the wedding for those whose day it actually is. Don’t be that guy, gentlemen.

Further Reading