We loved this wonderful video showing Hew Belgrave giving his eloquent groom’s speech at his recent Polpier wedding to beautiful Donna. As giving a speech at your wedding can be a scary task for some grooms and it is a pity to let nerves cast a shadow over a day of happiness and fun, we asked Hew to share his top tips.
Hew says, ‘I am not a comfortable public speaker, it’s not something I look forward to, so I found the process rather daunting. The key for me was realizing that this was a unique opportunity to say some things to some people that are far too often overlooked. A chance to thank people, appreciate and also openly talk about how much things have meant to me. Rather than focusing on it as a speech, for me, it was an opportunity. I tried my hardest to keep it to 10 minutes, but even a week out from the wedding it was more like 15 and I shortened a few bits to keep it to the point in the final few days.
Here are some key pointers that helped me write it.
1) Start early – I started writing notes on my phone about 3 to 4 months before the wedding. Constantly adding or removing bits as better bits popped up.
2) If it’s an “in” joke or story, make sure it has context so all the guests understand. I mentioned a court visit with my dad as a low point in our relationship and then forgot to include that it was for a speeding misdemeanour on the day.
3) Thank key people in your life.
4) If you struggle to recite the story as it is too funny – definitely use it! Laughing your way through the day is a great look. The laughter will also put you at ease.
5) Be honest and open.
6) Be brave, we Brits are not the best at talking about emotions and really thanking people. Don’t miss this opportunity.
7) Write it down and stick to it.
8) I read the speech into the voice recorder on my phone and listened back to it. Hearing it back made me realise some bits were too long, others too short.
9) Cross check a few key points with your best man to make sure you aren’t heading for duplications on the day
1) EVERYONE is on your team. You won’t be battling an uninterested audience.
2) Have written prompts or even the whole thing, with key titles and topics in bold.
3) Don’t worry about stopping to check where you are. You spent time writing this speech, so don’t leave bits out.
4) Really look at people when you are talking directly about them.
5) Take it slow and enjoy it.
6) Don’t have too many beers beforehand! The beer after will be one of the best ever!
1) You will miss bits.
2) You will rush it a bit.
3) People will laugh.
The last bit of advice is plan the end thoroughly. By the time you get to it, you will see the end coming and that’s when it can fall apart a bit. My closing statement was, “Finally I would like to raise a glass to those who cannot be here with us, either because they aren’t invited or because they are….. dead”. Now I think everyone agrees there are better ways to close it out.
Most of all enjoy it. I did not expect to enjoy it. But I did. Then you can relax, listen to the other speeches and enjoy them.’