It Must Be Love
Men, it has to be said, are not the most emotionally astute gender. I'm generalising, of course; plenty of guys are perfectly in tune with their emotions. You probably know a few. They probably do yoga. For others, though, baring their heart - even on their wedding day - can be a difficult and embarrassing prospect. So, to those among you who will shamelessly tear up at a last minute penalty by the opposition in a World Cup semi final, but shut down completely up at the merest thought of anything 'touchy feely', a word of advice; get over it. Sorry if that seems blunt, but the only authentic excuse for not adequately expressing your love for your new wife in your wedding speech is autism. Being a big, dumb, stiff-upper-lipped male won't cut the mustard this time.
A marriage is about lifelong commitment, but a wedding, that's about gathering all of your friends and family together in a big room and shouting your love for each other loud enough for everyone to hear. It's one of those thing that's expected of you on your wedding day whether you like it or not - like wearing a tie, or pretending that you've always wanted a fondu set - so you might as well step up to the challenge and say it like you mean it. Because you do mean it, right? Because otherwise, buddy, you need more help than this site can offer.
Assuming your heart is in the right place though, you've come to the right place. Just follow our three point guide to opening up the manly way…
Just Enough and No More
The point here is to open your heart, not spill your guts, so be careful to find the right tone. The reaction you're looking for is 'aww', not 'ewww!' Try not to stray into sickly sweet sentimentality. A simple declaration of love will do. Nobody in the room wants or needs to know your pet names for each other, so keep the truly soppy stuff to yourself, okay Mr. Snuggles? If you're still not sure where to pitch it on the scale, think about the first kiss you'll share at the altar. Hand - weird. Cheek - bad. Lips - good. Tongue - careful now. Visible slobbering with boob squeeze… you get the point.
For those of you who are more worried about coming across too stony, a little well-placed humour can make your point without dragging you into shakespearean sonnet territory. Take this line, for example. It's warm, funny and loving, but it won't dent your macho credentials:
"I'm overjoyed finally to be marrying Linda. We've been inseparable for five years. Inseparable! Sometimes it takes three or four people to pry us apart!"
Share a Memory
Marriages are built on memories, and the process starts long before you walk down the aisle. Tell a cute story, or reference a funny moment from your relationship to show the crowd that you two can overcome obstacles together and you're in it for the long haul. Keep it light hearted, though. This is good:
"I'll never forget our first camping trip together. Linda still hasn't forgiven me for setting fire to the tent."
This is bad:
"I'll never forget our first camping trip together. Linda still hasn't forgiven me for getting drunk, coming clean about my affair with her cousin, and shitting myself."
Learn Your Lines
Unless it happens to be half past eight on the morning of your 10am wedding, the fact that you're here suggests that you've already grasped the importance of preparation when it comes to all aspects of your wedding speech. Remember the boy scout motto and be prepared. Whether it's a simple 'I love you' or something more complicated, your heartfelt message will always sound better if you plan it in advance, so never be tempted to wing it on the day. There is a world of difference between 'I love you' and 'Basically, I love you, yeah?' And that's not the worst of that can happen. This hapless groom learnt the hard way, though, it has to be said, the hilarity he caused set him up for a sweet recovery: