Wedding speech traditions are changing. Thankfully. And part of this change is a shift towards the joint wedding speech – where the newlyweds stand up and give a speech together!
Couples are no longer restricted by the ‘old rules’ and there’s a move away from automatically assuming it will be the father of the bride, groom and the best man hogging the wedding mic.
The growing trend for couples to deliver a joint speech is a great way of proving you’re a team from the off!
We spoke to the wedding speech experts at Speechy to find out why a joint speech works so well.
Why Joint Wedding Speeches Work
Firstly, it’s a bit different and consequently, guests love it. Whether your wedding is an intimate affair or a big bash for everyone you know, a joint speech adds something special to the day.
Remember that people go to an average of 15 weddings throughout their lifetime and so it’s inevitable that wedding speeches can feel a bit tired if they’re simply based on traditional wedding speech etiquette and googled gags.
Whether it’s a Mr & Mrs speech, or a same sex couple delivering it, a joint newlywed speech feels fresh and exciting.
It also makes sense. A joint wedding speech means no one speaks on behalf of their partner and you both get to thank your own families and friends personally. And, rather than individually delivering your own speech, a joint one cuts down on unnecessary overlaps.
“It’s a chance for the guests to see the couple in action; working together, laughing together and working as a team. It adds a lovely moment to the day. And who doesn’t love a double-act?” Says Heidi Ellert-McDermott, founder of Speechy.
How a Couple’s Speech Works
A joint speech takes on the ‘to dos’ of a groom or bride speech. It welcomes all the guests, thanks the special folk and also gives a sense of why everyone is there – i.e. why you fell in love, work as a team and wanted to get married.
The content of the speech should be split between you but it doesn’t need to be 50/50. One of you may be the more chatty, dominant one and hence you can take on the lion’s share of the delivery with ‘interjections’ (comedy or otherwise) from your partner.
Of course, keep these interactions regular even if they are short!
Planning A Joint Wedding Speech
Make a night of it. Depending on your preference, get the wine out or order a takeaway in.
- The thank yous: Get them agreed and decide who does who. For example, it makes sense for you to both thank your parents and in-laws but only you need to thank your lifelong mates or your bride squad.
- The dearly departed: Consider who’s best to lead any tributes. It may be better for the person who isn’t related to the departed to do this so the other one isn’t overcome by emotion.
- Once you’ve decided on the basic etiquette, it’s time to think about your stories and anecdotes.
“Too often a speech can just sound like a thank you list, but couples should think of them as a chance to entertain their guests as well as add a dollop of laughter and love to the day,” says Heidi.
So, you also need to think about:
- Your stories – retrace your relationship history and see what you have to play with. Think about the big events; meeting each other, your first date, when you knew they were ‘the one’. Instead of the obviously soppy stories (like the proposal), hunt out the stories that prove you’re both as bonkers as each other!
- Themes – how would people describe you as a couple? Are there common bonds or clear differences? If your relationship dynamic lends itself, one of you can play the straight man and the other the fall guy. Play with what you’ve got.
Writing A Joint Speech
You thought table planning was tricky? That’s nothing compared to writing a joint speech. So our advice? Avoid it!
Yes, we suggest one of you write the first draft, and the other one improves it. Even this will require some negotiation, but at least you won’t be debating words as you write.
As a basic guide, divide the speech so you each have small sections to deliver (between two and six sentences) and alternate throughout. As you rehearse, you’ll get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t.
Of course, there should be a paragraph at the end that you keep secret from each other – i.e. the romantic bit!
How to Deliver Your Joint Speech
Rehearse as much as you can. It’s fine for you both to use notes on the day but you have to know when to interact and cut in on each other with any ‘ad libs’.
“As you rehearse, think about what the other is doing when one of you is speaking. It could simply be gesturing towards certain guests as they are referenced but it could also be adding an extra bit of comedy with suitable facial expressions. A well-timed eye roll can work wonders!” Offers Heidi.
Finally, enjoy it. Delivering a couple’s wedding speech should be fun for everyone involved – including you. If you mess up on the day, laugh about it!
“The couples we work with always love delivering their speech. Some have even said it was their favourite bit of the whole day!” Says Heidi.