Meghan Markle reportedly broke with tradition and made a speech when she married Prince Harry. If you’re thinking of taking a stand just like Meghan - and let's face it, who doesn't want to steal her style? - here are our top tips to make it one unforgettable speech!
Surprise your guests by changing up the normal speech format. For example, you could write a funny/sweet poem, or make an audio slideshow of pictures, with friends talking about their favourite memories of your husband and giving him words of wisdom. Something different breaks up the traditional speeches and means that they don't end up seeming repetitive.
Do it first
Go last and the pressure's really on – that's normally the best man's slot, when people are eagerly anticipating juicy details about the groom. But go first and you're guaranteed to have everyone's attention – plus, you can relax while the guys take it in turns to say nice things about you!
Mix in jokes with anecdotes
When you make jokes, get to the punch line quickly to keep people's attention. And mildly embarrassing stories about soppy/silly things your other half has done will always get a laugh. A bride told us that when she first met her husband, she told him that her favourite treats were Chocolate Orange and Hobnobs. Next thing she knew, he had melted down a Terry's Chocolate Orange to create a bespoke batch of her dream biscuits. Sweet stories like that will get a lot of "aahs" from the audience.
Open with a few thank-yous (this is your chance to thank your parents and bridesmaids for their support). It's an easy opener that will help get you into the swing of the speech. The middle is where you bring in your anecdotes and jokes, and the end should be sentimental, with a focus on your groom, of course.
Put your speech down on paper and have a good idea of what you want to say, as all those people looking at you can leave you tongue-tied.
Tip to help with nerves
Although you can rely on your notes, practise the speech a lot so you almost know it by heart – then you can communicate with your guests rather than look at the paper. Do a test run in front of friends before the big day. You'll only feel marginally more nervous doing things in front of lots of people as you will in front of a few.
Have a point to make
Only do one if you really have something to say, such as remembering grandparents and doing individual thank yous, rather than repeating what the groom said.
Only do a speech if you really want to
You've got a lot of other things to worry about on the day so don't make it a chore. Having said that, we bet you'll feel pleased with yourself if you do one, even if it's only a few words to thank your guests and acknowledge the groom.
Talk to your groom
Have a conversation with your groom to check generally what he's covering so you don't repeat yourself.
Have a get-out clause
You don’t know how you’ll feel on the day, so have a yes or no signal with your groom in case you feel uncomfortable and want to chicken out. Don't tell everyone you're planning on doing one (except your groom maybe and the videographer as they may need to mic you up) – otherwise expectations will be too high!
Really go for it!
You've done the nerve-racking bit – the ceremony – and now it's time to set the tone for the rest of the day. Be happy and enthusiastic. You'll be feeling so elated, we bet it won't be a problem.
This is a rare opportunity to have all your loved ones in one place where you can tell them how wonderful they are.