So many clients approach us to make their speeches funny, but the key is all about balance. It's an emotional day, and the very best speeches will sprinkle the lighter stuff with some really touching moments.
If your aim is to make 'em cry, here are some tips to get those wedding speech tears flowing!
Father of the bride speech
The risk is to get too soppy too soon. Today isn't just a party; you're giving away your daughter, and whatever her age and your history, that's pretty significant.
What you don't want to do is wade in nostalgia, leaving your guests less likely to raise a hand to wipe away a tear, and more to stifle a yawn.
Yes, it's fine to remember what she was like as a younger, more innocent girl. But keep it light. Talk about how she has changed, and how her husband has brought out the best in her. But again, sincerity needn't become self-indulgent.
Save the really emotional stuff for the back-end of your speech. That's when you've welcomed your guests, acknowledged the role of your wife, embraced your new relatives and had some fun with your daughter and her husband. With that out the way, you can explain how proud you are of the woman she has become, link your happy memories to her happy future, and wish her the happiness that she so deserves.
Having gone that far, we'd suggest you end with something slightly lighter to raise a final laugh and to ensure a hearty toast.
Again, your biggest danger is laying it on too thick. Spending five minutes listing the wonder that is your wife will have your friends staring at each other in mock disbelief. Your tone should be light and grateful, mixing thanks with self-deprecation. Your guests will inevitably warm to the idea that you have a brave and patient wife (proof in that she has taken you on!), and they'll love the stories about your early dates, misunderstandings and mishaps.
To get the tears flowing, we'd cap the profession of love at about thirty seconds. Don't borrow lines from the internet. Don't speak in clichés. Just summon up the courage to say how she really makes you feel. The flood gates will really open if you can say (honestly!) that she has changed your life for the better and you never thought you could be as happy as you feel right now.
Best Man speech
To start with the basics: your principle job is to amuse. Many a best man has fallen into the trap of trying too hard, creating only tears of frustration and anger as the wedding party rue his butchery of the groom and, potentially, the entire meal. On the flip side, tears of boredom are equally likely if he rambles through his longest stories about the japes he and the groom shared in bygone days. And if anyone, ever, uses the joke in the blog title ("we all feel so emotional - even the cake's in tiers") then the most likely reaction is heckling, followed closely by violence.
When best men get it right they balance the fun with sincerity. They point out the groom's greatest qualities and the honour of being his 'chosen' one. The jokes and stories will be linked together with a theme that gets to the real heart of the groom's passions and personality. The speech will be PG rated, avoiding cliché and cut and paste.
As for the tears, please make sure they're not yours. The wedding guests haven't come along to celebrate your friendship with the groom. But they do want to hear that he's a great guy who you trust implicitly and who has found the happiness that you have always wished for him.
If you decide to speak at your wedding (and we're all in favour!), your biggest challenge is to avoid repetition. Which is why (not tear related) we think it can work quite nicely if you speak first.
As for the tears, they come second to smiles. Let's thank your friends who have supported you for so long, your parents for guiding (and putting up with) you, and your husband for his love and understanding. These are all people whose roles won't have been covered in this way in the other speeches (your friends and parents will get a cursory mention from the groom, while the best man is more likely to cover his laddish side).
Your mission is to sound sincere. If you are going to speak, let it be from the heart. And if you do want to bring a tear to the eye, tell your guests how much your wonderful deceased granny would have loved your husband. If it's true, then you have our 100% support!
Bridesmaid / Maid of Honour speech
Let's keep this one tear free! You have no traditional tasks or toasts to perform. You can thank the hosts and joke about the groom but you are really there to give a friend's insight into the bride. Your fellow guests will have watched her get married, listened to her dad's nostalgic memories and her husband's profession of love. So just have some fun at her expense, make it clear that she has a wonderful group of friends and a bunch of interests that don't revolve around the wedding. You can provide a lovely balance and allow the guests for some emotional relief in amongst the tears!
Tips for All Wedding Speeches!
We have a series of blogs advising on all aspects of your wedding speech. But when it comes to tears, here are a few tips to ensure you get it just right:
- During the emotional bits, speak slowly, quietly and keep things relatively monotone (note that this is subtly different from the rest of your speech!)
- Look into the eyes of the person you are talking about (father to daughter and wife, husband to wife etc)
- Pause at the crucial moment. Give your audience time to absorb your words.
- If you really want to ham it up, take out a Kleenex and dab at an eye. But keep it brief.
- Don't be afraid to show that you're vulnerable (think Julia Roberts appearing in the bookshop at the end of Notting Hill!)
And get those wedding speech tears rolling!
We would, of course, be delighted to help you create the perfect wedding speech. Please give us a call any time to discuss the best way forward on +44 (0)20 8245 8999