Making a strong start

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

Wedding speech material for you to adapt to help you get your speech off to a winning start

Opening gambits

‘I’m here to sing Paul’s/Louise’s praises. You’ll be glad to hear, though, that I can’t sing and there isn’t much to praise, so fortunately this speech should be short and sweet.’

‘Never before have I stood before such an impressive audience… unless you count my time in the dock/unless you count my time as Chaplain at Wormwood Scrubs/unless you include being on stage at Glastonbury/unless you count my time as a steward at Millwall FC…’

‘Excuse me but I’m a little nervous. Now I know what a Rowntree’s jelly feels like.’

‘Did anyone see that polar bear walk by just now? No? Shame, because they’re such terrific ice‐breakers.’

‘They say good speeches are meant to be pithy, although what oranges have got to do with it, I don’t know.’

‘They say good speeches are meant to be short and sweet… So thanks very much for your time.’

‘Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your kind applause. Not for the first time today do I rise from a warm seat with a piece of paper in my hand…’

One‐liners

‘The groom was not always as handsome as this. When he was born the midwife took one look and slapped his father. He had the only pram in Bristol with shutters. In fact, he was so ugly his mum used to feed him with a catapult.’

‘Jon has a face that launched a 1000 ships. And a figure that ate a thousand chips.’

‘Greg was always considered a handsome chap at college. He was fastidious about getting his beauty sleep ‐‐ about 20 hours a day, usually.’

‘Tony always used to take Janine out to dine in a secluded corner, lit only by candles. Partly because he’s a romantic, but partly he didn’t want to scare his new girlfriend off!’

‘Now he’s married, Dom can really let himself go… oh, you already have!’

‘They say that love is blind. And doesn’t Louise look great today without her walking stick and dark glasses.’

Anecdotes

‘The first time Bill and Emily went away together, Emily wanted Bill to act as if they were married so as to avoid any disapproving looks. So Paul let her carry the suitcases.’

‘The first night Ian and Sue met, was it love at first sight? There are several theories about this. Sue contends that it was love at first sight, but then she found out he already had a boyfriend, so she went home with Ian instead…’

‘These two eventually found each other after years of trying. And, as they say, practice makes perfect ‐‐ so they really must be the perfect couple.’

‘Me and Rob have been great mates for a long time now, and inevitably we’ve shared many things over the years: our AA counsellor; our probation officer; our therapist; our mums’ recipes for bread sauce ‐ and now, a top table. Who’d have thought it?’

Stunts

  • Prepare a slide show of photographs from the bride/groom’s past. Drop your cards as the slide show starts and apologise, saying that they may be in the wrong order. Not looking at the pictures, give a running commentary ‐ eg accompany a photo of the groom in his primary school uniform with the comment: ‘Rob’s first day in his new job was a proud moment for the family…’
  • Write a mock school report for the groom/bride ‐‐ referring to their character/behaviour at school and relate this to today, eg ‘It says here that ”Louise has a short attention span, responds poorly to authority, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly” ‐ which could be a problem, being married to Damian…’
  • Pretend to have a copy of the bride or groom’s CV and pick out examples of their ‘achievements’.
  • The Best Man can pull out a box marked Honeymoon Survival Kit, with some props: deep heat; bandages; gimp costume; Spiderman mask; Chelsea shirt; Viagra…
  • Put together a spoof documentary in which you invite friends and family to share their thoughts and memories about the happy couple. For extra fun, film a couple of friends dressed up as the newly weds, re‐enacting the moment they first met.

Set pieces

  • The best man invites anyone in the audience who used to go out with the bride to return the keys to her flat. A string of ‘ringers’ in the audience then loudly troop up to the top table to give their keys back to the bride…
  • The best man gives a huge parcel to the bride. As she unwraps it, it becomes smaller and smaller. The parcel, in fact, contains nothing but a note saying, ‘Thanks for padding my speech out for me, I’ve got bugger all to say…’
  • Organise a sweepstake on the length of your speech. Keep asking the timekeeper how long you’ve taken and then ‐‐ at apparently the most important part of the speech ‐‐ abruptly sit down and announce that you won with the closest time.
  • The best man, or father of the bride, commissions a song/poem/tribute from a football team/drama group/chess club that the bride/groom is a member of, introducing it at an appropriate moment in his speech.

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