Speeches are a staple of the wedding reception experience. Guests traditionally expect to hear a few words from the best man, maid of honor, and the fathers of the bride and groom, but the most important speech of all is the one given by the groom himself. As a groom, it’s your job to represent yourself and your partner in your wedding reception speech. But what should you say? Here are a few guidelines to help you craft the perfect speech for your special day.
Thank Your Family
A groom’s speech has one main goal: thanking everyone. This is your opportunity to thank your guests for coming to your wedding, thank your friends for their love and support, and thank your family for…well, just about everything. However, it is important to remember that your speech is meant to speak for both you and your spouse, so you absolutely must thank both your family and your in-laws.
What should you say to your family members (both old and new)? Obviously, the details will depend on your relationships with them, but there are a few basic “thank-yous” you can always dole out. Thank your parents and in-laws for help with the wedding preparations, thank your parents for their sound advice while you were growing up, and thank your in-laws for welcoming you into their family.
Compliment Your Spouse
One of the best parts of any wedding is getting to celebrate two people in love. Even the most cynical among us swoon a little when true love is on display—so why not use your wedding speech to give your guests something to gush about? The moment that you take the microphone is a great time to tell your partner just how amazing they are.
Whether you pay a compliment to your spouse’s kindness, their sense of humor, or simply how hot they look in their wedding outfit, this is a must-have moment in your groom’s speech. Your guests will appreciate your sweet words, and your spouse is sure to appreciate the sentiment, too!
Don’t Forget to Say “We”
As I mentioned earlier, the groom’s speech usually represents the feelings of both the groom and his partner. Because of this, it’s important that you use language that includes both of you in your speech. Make sure you talk to your partner and include any specific thank-yous or sentiments they want you to say, and make sure you use that one very important word: WE.
This tip has two main goals. Firstly, it helps ensure that your spouse’s voice is accounted for during your speech. Secondly, hearing you say “we” (or better yet, “my wife/husband and I”) is a major crowd-pleaser; the warm cheers and applause this simple phrase can bring is a great way to calm your nerves as you start your speech.
Keep it Clean
If you’ve ever given a best man speech, you’ve probably noticed that the groom’s speech has a VERY different set of rules. As a best man, you’re expected to tell an embarrassing story or two, talk about how great your buddy the groom is, say congrats and call it a night. As a groom, on the other hand, you’re expected to be thankful, sentimental…and DEFINITELY NOT RAUNCHY.
Do you normally have a sailor’s mouth? Time to turn on your self-censor. Do you have a hilarious story about yourself and your spouse…that just happens to be a little scandalous? Best leave it out of the speech. Remember, you’re going to be speaking in front of everyone—your college buddies, your spouse’s family, your great-grandmother—so it’s best to omit anything that could be too offensive.
Speak from the Heart
It can be very tempting to turn your groom’s speech into a stand-up comedy set. Everyone likes to tell a good joke, and your guests’ laughter can help calm your nerves. While I appreciate comedy as much as the next guy, I would suggest that you keep your punchlines to a minimum. Instead of having your guests in stitches, you should have them smiling sweetly—and the best way to achieve that is to speak from the heart.
Trust me, I know this can be scary. Showing your emotions can be a big ask for some people, but it’s totally worth it. If you’re nervous about getting too emotional in front of a crowd, keep your speech short and sweet, but make sure you’re being sincere. An earnest thank you to your loved ones and a quick moment to tell your spouse how much you love them, will have a more positive impact than if you tell a bunch of jokes (even if they’re really, really funny).
If you follow these guidelines, you will be able to write an amazing groom’s speech that everyone will appreciate!