Most of us don’t relish the spotlight when it comes to public speaking (yes, I know you public school boys and army officers are ok – pipe down!). And most people will tell you “don’t worry about it – the groom’s speech is the easiest speech to give – you just thank a bunch of people and sit down!”

The truth is, the groom’s speech is much more important than that. If your new wife or husband is not speaking, YOU are speaking on their behalf and also TO them, and what you say is a once-in-a-lifetime moment, so don’t skip over it, bail out or try to keep it simple in order for it to be over sooner!

As someone who films a lot of weddings I get to see a lot of groom’s speeches. Many of them follow the advice given above and I’m hard pressed to even use much of their speech in their wedding film. To make a memorable, witty and heartfelt speech, follow this guide for results that will have your audience and newly betrothed welling up.

First, a couple of words of advice…

Don’t wing it unless you’re a pro

I’ve seen quite a few chaps take on their speech without writing a word. It usually doesn’t go well unless they’re a very experienced speaker. Whilst you may be able to deliver something pretty good in private, the added pressure of standing in front of a roomful of expectant faces can clear your mind faster than the ink drying on your marriage certificate.

If you feel like reading doesn’t go well for you, and you’re pretty good at ad lib, you can try creating prompt cards to keep you structured and on track, without forgetting anything. If nothing else, AT LEAST do this!

 

What if you’re the type to go to absolute pieces

I do understand – some people are so terrified of public speaking that it make them fall apart. If you fit that description, I’d encourage you to check out this article – you can still do this!

 

Using AI and groom’s speech templates

AI is brilliant for giving you suggestions and ideas, but writing a speech entirely with AI…? Don’t do that. The most special public address of your life probably shouldn’t have been written by a bot. Keep it personal, real, authentic. The same goes for speech templates from the web – they can be great for giving you an outline, or general ideas – but it’s important to make the groom’s speech your own. If it doesn’t sound like you, it will be clear.

The Groom’s Speech – Structure & Content

Introduction

Thank everyone for being a part of this special day, for travelling from near and far. I think it’s a good idea to throw in some kind of joke in your opener. Self-deprecation is always well received, and so is mentioning something in relation to the best man’s speech. Use the internet to find YouTube videos of great speeches and take inspiration – try not to copy outright – there’s a good chance something you see has been used a lot, so put your own spin on it.

Acknowledgements

Mention specific people who played important roles in making the day possible (parents, bridal party, vendors, etc.). it’s often a good idea to give heartfelt thanks to both sets of parents. This really brings out the emotion from the top table and everyone watching.

You’ll need to thank bridesmaids, groomsmen / ushers, flower girls and page boys. Anyone who helped particularly with the wedding preparations, for example if a family member or friend made the cake, helped with flowers and decor, or those who contributed to favours, printed invitations, artwork and so on.

Thank your new wife/husband for their love and support – the bride usually has had a LOT to do with the wedding and should be acknowledged for her hard work. Throw in some self-deprecating humour here if you’ve not contributed that much!

Your New Spouse

For me, this is what the groom’s speech is all about. Everything that comes before this is important, but is almost admin in comparison to this part. You have this one chance in life to express your heart to your closest friends and family about your new wife/husband – so let’s make it count!

Guys, let’s talk about expressing emotions for a sec. Most guys find this hard. It is hard. But that’s the reason it means so much. The harder it is for you, the more it will touch everyone in the room. Don’t fall prey to the idea that men shouldn’t express their emotions. That’s ridiculous. You are human, and you are HERE because of those emotions. Everyone in the room (even the hecklers who are secretly doing worse than you by using humour to mask their own emotions) are rooting for you. They’re on your side, and they’ll be welling up along with you, however discreetly! Don’t let fear get in the way of doing the right thing. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Obviously, you’ll want to tell your bride how beautiful she is (always) and today in particular. You’d be surprised how many guys forget to do this.

Share a story or memory about how you met.

Share a story or memory about the proposal. Include the vulnerable, embarrassing parts or things that went wrong – it’s funny.

Talk about how your partner has changed you, shaped you and made you a better person. The word ‘how’ is important here. Anyone can say nice things, but when you justify and unpack those nice things, that’s where the good stuff is because it shows you’re not just saying it, that you know your partner deeply and that you’ve thought about your relationship.

It’s good to be vulnerable. It allows people to relate to you, they’ll admire your courage, and it often brings everyone right along with you emotionally. If you’ve experienced challenges or difficult times, this is part of your story. If it’s appropriate, you could share something about what you’ve overcome together.

What are the little things about them that you love (could be funny, but not too embarrassing). Chuck a bit of this in the mix to give light relief here and there.

Remember to talk to her/him at some point in your speech. Don’t just talk about them. Direct words of love are powerful.

Express excitement about your future together. Talk about your hopes and dreams. How will you love your new partner, keep showing up for them, support them in their dreams and ambitions? If you didn’t get to say personal vows, this is a really great place to express this.

Final thanks and toast

Raise a toast to your new spouse, to your families, and to everyone who made the day possible. Tell everyone to enjoy the rest of the day, and express your love and thanks once more.

Conclusions

However much you fear giving the groom’s speech, I believe it can be overcome by the vast majority of us. Don’t let your anxiety about public speaking stop you from giving one of the most important expressions in your life. Most people find it difficult. Nothing that is worth doing ever came easy. Everyone is rooting for you. Spend time on your speech. Practice it often and get feedback. Experiment with reading it verbatim or just using prompt cards to help you. You’ve got this!