Some people don’t think about writing their groom, best man or father of the bride speech until a few weeks, or even days, before the big event. I would never knock the luxury of giving yourself ample wedding speech preparation time. Having plenty of time to write and rehearse your speech will maximise your chances of hitting the ground running on the day itself.
Here are some of the things you can start to think about and work on in those quiet months:
This may involve contacting the bridesmaids for anecdotes about the bride, or parents for childhood memories about the groom. This type of research can take longer than you think. People (particularly parents) don’t want to rush when asked for this sort of information, so it is worth getting your email and phone requests in now.
Talk to the Other Speakers
With any wedding speech there is a risk of covering ground that will be repeated in the other speeches. No matter how original you think your speech may be, I would advise you to have a quick chat with the other speakers. Work out who will thank who, and which areas you will each be covering. This will ensure there is no awkward overlap on the day itself.
Check Out the Venue
A useful part of wedding speech preparation is to make yourself familiar with where you will be speaking. You might want to find out where you will be standing. Will there be a microphone? Will you have a lectern? This information will all come in useful when you start writing and practising your speech.
Create a Master Document
Collect all your thoughts, along with everyone else’s, on a master document. Even if it doesn’t seem so at the time, this process can end up being extremely useful in creating an overview, structure and theme when it comes to writing the speech itself. At this stage don’t worry about what’s interesting, funny, or off limits; put everything down!
Keep an Ear Out
Listen out for quirks, quotes and snippets of potentially relevant information, and jot them down in your master document.
Think About What Props You’ll Need
If you’re using slides, diagrams or props, start thinking about what you need and where you can get them.
Don’t Just Start Writing
Put a structure in place before you start writing down your wedding speech. Plan how the speech is going to flow and what your key message and theme will be. That way the writing becomes much easier.
Ask for Help
Enlist the help of a friend off whom you can bounce ideas and eventually practise your wedding speech delivery. Ask them to be critical and so anything that passes through you both is likely to be worth saying.
Call a Speech Writer
If you’re thinking of using a wedding speech writer, then now is a good time to call. You’re likely to get more personal attention than in those busy wedding season months. You’ll also be giving yourself a good month or two to rehearse your speech once you’re happy with it. Good wedding speech preparation can make the difference between a good speech and a great one.
Some of the above may seem obvious, but the worst speeches are written in a rush. A wedding speech is nothing without content or context, best achieved through careful planning.
Be aware though that, however prepared you are, it is important you adapt your speech if something topical crops up nearer the time (e.g. volcanoes in Iceland, World Cup results). It will make your well planned speech look off the cuff and relevant, ensuring more respect and praise from your audience.
Guest post by Lawrence Bernstein of Great Speech Writing
Image from The Hendrys