Famous Last Words

Killer opening line? Check. Heart-warming thanks? Check. Hilarious anecdote? Check. Okay, groom, you're in the final straight; your wedding speech is nearly in the bag. Time to make like Jim Morrison, River Phoenix or Cory Monteith (depending on which generation you belong to) and go out on a high!

A good speech is like a story, with a beginning, a middle and an end. It has a natural flow that carries the crowd along with it towards a sense of conclusion... And then it ends. That might sound like an obvious point to make but dragging things out is one of the most common mistakes that people make when a speech is going well. The most confident and well-received opening can collapse into rambling nonsense or peter out entirely if you allow yourself to get self-indulgent or go off script. And even if you're the best public speaker since Abraham Lincoln, a significant portion of your audience will have one eye on their wristwatch and the other on the bar. In fact, if they're a particularly restless crowd, why not use that to your advantage?

  1. "You'll be glad to hear I've nearly finished my speech, so thanks for bearing with me. And thanks again for making it here. It's good to know that even in times of austerity, friends and family will still make the effort to come out… when there's free booze."

At thebestmanspeech.com, we're big believers in keeping the smile on your guests' faces, and as you come to the close of your speech there are plenty of solid opportunities for the kind of gentle, crowd-pleasing humour that goes down well at a wedding. Everyone in the room knows the drill, so feel free to play with the conventions of your big day…

  1. "Thanks for all the gifts! I had a sneaky look at them before I sat down. There's a rice cooker… that'll be from Uncle Ben. And an encyclopedia of structural linguistics …. That'll be 'Grammar'."

  1. "They said it would never work, but look at us now! Married at lunchtime - still going strong four hours later!"

  1. "I'm going to wind things up now, because for the first time in my life, I've got TWO sets of parents who're going to disapprove if I say the wrong thing!"

The Groom's speech includes a host of important thank yous, to the bride's parents, your mother, the bridesmaids and more. It also behoves you to thank everyone who has managed to attend your wedding. If you're feeling mischievous after all those heartfelt thanks, the moment you open them up to the wider room can provide you with the perfect chance to slip a joke in. Take a lesson from this wisecracking groom.

Knowing how to wrap up you wedding speech effectively is crucial to its overall success. The last thing you say is often the one thing that people will remember, so finding the right balance of humour and heart is important. But before you start sweating about getting it just right, remember that there's one sure fire way to leave them on a high. Whether you're a posy-picking year-round romantic, or an impregnable block of marble in man form, this is the one time and place where you have a license - no, a duty to speak from the heart. So give them the good stuff. Tell them what they came to hear… tell them that you love her. Not everyone can leave 'em laughing - you'll know best where your own strengths lie - but everyone can leave 'em with a lump in their throat, a tear in their eye, and the perfect memory of your moment in the spotlight.