While the best man may feel the heat when it comes to dishing the dirt and getting the giggles, the groom speech is typically more heartfelt. Mix a smidge of sentiment, a touch of emotion, something gushy about your bride - and you're good to go.

Ok, so it's not quite that simple. But if you take a systematic approach - see below - it won't take long for the words to flow.

The timing

The groom usually steps up to the microphone after the father of the bride and the best man have spoken.

Original or borrowed?

If you're not a natural speechwriter, or orator, then it's pretty tempting to download a groom's speech (or several) from the web and change the names. We've been to more than our fair share of weddings, and our advice would be: don't.

If it will help you get started, it's ok to download an outline and then re-write it in your own words, but make sure they're all your own words, or it'll sound just like a plagiarised speech, because that's what it will be.

To break it up, consider including a poem or relevant reading you've researched.

Don't leave it until the last minute

Begin thinking about the bones of what you want to say several weeks before the big day, either by jotting down some key-words or anecdotes, or writing it out in full if you prefer.

What to include

So it's time to put pen to paper. Here's our easy outline to ensure you don't miss anything major...

  1. Thank your guests for attending
  2. Honour guests who have travelled considerable distance to share this special day with you 
  3. Thank guests who have tirelessly helped during the wedding lead-up
  4. Thank the hosts, unless that's you...
  5. Speak directly to your parents
  6. Speak to your bride's family, thank them for their warm welcome (hopefully!) and reiterate how much you're looking forward to many good times together in years to come
  7. Share an anecdote about the two of you - when you met, how you got engaged...
  8. Share your joy at marrying the one love
  9. Look your bride in the eye and tell her how happy she has made you, and how much you love her

Don't wing it

Making it up as you go make seem like a good strategy to ensure your speech doesn't sound too rehearsed or formal, but it's a tactic that's fraught with danger since nerves can wreak havoc on even the best laid plans (let alone the non-existent ones).

Managing nerves

Nerves are normal, so if you're feeling overcome with nerves, don't panic. Look for a familiar face, look at your guests' foreheads and brows rather than making eye contact if you think that will be off-putting, and finally, remember, it's a friendly crowd. Your nearest and dearest won't mind if you're emotional, in fact, they'll love it.

Memorise - then memorise again

Once you've written your speech, have it stick to you like glue. Whenever you have a spare minute or two, whip it out and read it. Then repeat.

Trust us, you can't do this too many times. When the time comes, have the speech handy (that's what pockets are for) and if you hit a hurdle (aka a mental blank or a brain freeze), then there's no shame whatsoever in reading it on the day.

See also the Order of Toasts and Speeches

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