The ceremony is over, and hopefully, by now, you’ve got a drink in your hand. Don’t get too comfortable, because you’re not done yet – you’ve got a groom speech to nail.
The groom’s speech is traditionally after the father-in-law speech and before the best man speech. You’ve got to serve as the segue between your new dad’s heartfelt sentimentality and the upcoming teasing from your best man. You get to bridge the gap.
It sounds like a lot, but honestly, as long as you keep yourself organized and do a little prepping, you’ll be golden.
Here’s some advice on how to give a great groom’s speech, including a handy outline and a few examples for inspiration.
Make An Outline
First things first, you need to sit down with pen and paper (or laptop) and work on your outline. Once you have the bones of your speech sorted, the rest will come together pretty effortlessly. Here’s what a typical groom’s speech usually includes:
Respond to your father-in-law’s speech
If nothing else, this is the one mandatory thing you must include. Respond to your new father in law’s speech (because yours will probably come right after) and thank him for all he’s done for the wedding and the support he’s given you and your new wife.
Use your response to lead into thanks for her family
Thank her mom and dad for raising your wife to be the caring, wonderful person you have the privilege of marrying.
Talk a little about what it was like meeting them, why they’re so great, and thank them for welcoming you into the family.
If she has siblings, say a word or two about how they’ve become like your own, etc.
Thank your family
Thank your parents for their support. Talk about what makes them great parents and how much you appreciate them. You don’t have to get sappy about it, but it would be nice to make your mother cry.
If you have siblings, give them recognition and thank them for the positive influence they’ve had in your life.
Thank anyone else notable
Make this part short and sweet. On behalf of you and your wife, thank anyone who traveled a long way to be there. Also, include anyone who went above and beyond to help with the wedding.
Thank your groomsmen/her bridesmaids
Mention how much you appreciate your groomsmen and the bridesmaids. After all, these are the people who will be bringing the party during your reception!
At this point, it is traditional to put a little more focus on the bridesmaids, comment on how lovely they are and invite everyone to raise a toast to them.
Thank your wife
Now is the time to put the focus on her. Give some serious thought to this portion of the speech and make sure it comes from the heart.
Avoid cliches. A good way to side-step them is by stating the obvious up-front.
Something like: “Everyone knows Ashley is caring, smart, and beautiful, you don’t need me to tell you that. What I would like to tell you about is…” Now commence talking specifically about all of the things you love about her.
Throw in a funny story about how you met, how you grew into soulmates, how you can’t wait to share your life with her and grow old together, etc.
Now invite the room to stand and raise a toast to her. “Let’s raise a glass to Ashley, the most wonderful woman a guy could have the privilege of marrying.” Or something like that. You get the idea.
Introduce your best man
He’s up next, so now is the time to quickly thank him and let everyone know you appreciate him. Remember, there are usually grandmas in the audience. Keep it PG.
When handing off the floor, a quick joke about how “he gets forgetful sometimes and gets his stories mixed up, so bear with him while he gives his speech…” Stuff like that.
Bringing him out with a joke is always a good transition. Then let him take over and hope for the best!
Practical Tips to Present Your Groom Speech
Feeling better now that you’ve got that outline started? Great! Here are some more tips to help you deliver an amazing speech.
Make cue cards
Try to avoid putting your notes on a regular-sized sheet of paper. It can be distracting if you’re nervous and a little shaky. Plus, if you drop it, it’s gonna float away!
Put them on cue cards and number them, then fasten them together. That way, if you drop them, they won’t end up scattered underneath the table.
You’re not preparing for a presidential acceptance speech, so don’t sweat it too much, but it never hurts to give your speech a few spins around the block. Remember to practice your toasts as well. It may seem simple, but it’s surprising how easy it is to fumble a good toast.
Part of prepping is timing your speech. A groom’s speech shouldn’t last much longer than 6 minutes or so – much longer than that, and you’ll lose the room.
Stand at a lectern or behind the table if possible
Since you’ll be giving your speech either right before or right after dinner, this shouldn’t be too difficult. It’ll give you a place to set your champagne for the toasts, and your water if you need to clear your throat. It’ll also give you a place to put your cue cards.
What to Avoid During Your Groom Speech
Look, no matter what ends up happening when you get up to deliver your speech, at the end of the day you’re still the big winner. After all, you’re married to your best friend. That being said, we know you want to make a good impression during your speech. If you can avoid the following faux pas, you’ll nail it!
It’s easy to go overboard thanking every single person in the room, but it’ll just bore everyone to death. You don’t have to thank the caterers and the photographer and the florist and the … blah blah blah.
Mumbling, talking to the floor, etc.
Remember, you’re speaking to the entire room, you’ve got to make sure they can hear you. If you can’t project well enough, use a mic. Still, most pros will advise against it because they’re a little unpredictable unless you’re used to speaking into a microphone.
Focusing too much on anyone but your bride
It’s funny. Some guys are more comfortable gushing over their best man or groomsmen during their speech than the bride. It’s great to appreciate and express how much your friendship means, but keep it to a minimum.
Teasing your wife (too much)
She’s looking for meaningful, romantic words from you right now. That’s not to say you can’t work in a little light humor, but don’t roast her. Just don’t.
Kind of in that same vein, don’t be afraid to get a little emotional. Sobbing and flowing snot isn’t fantastic, but if your voice cracks and you have to wipe away a few tears of joy so you can see your cue cards, all the better.
Like we said, go over your cards a time or two and practice your speech. It’s super uncomfortable, not only for you but your audience too, if you’re awkward and unprepared.
Examples of Great Groom Speeches
Need some more inspiration to polish off your groom’s speech and delivery? You ask, we deliver:
This Groom Breaks All The Rules!
This guy. He obviously knows his room enough to break all the rules and toe the line, but he managed to do it with sentimentality.
Now would I recommend this style to everyone? No. No, I wouldn’t. But if you’re surrounded by people who love your snark and charisma (especially your wife), it’s a winner. Well done, dude.
The Art of Tasteful Teasing
Here’s an example of a groom who’s mastered the art of tasteful teasing.
When he pledged to his new in-laws that he’ll always love and protect their daughter, I may or may not have shed a tear and exclaimed out loud, “That is so SWEET!!”
Singing & a Slideshow?!
Ok, this may be a bit cheesy, but it’s cheese in the best way ever. It helps a lot that he’s a good singer, and the slideshow is awesome.
Definitely one of the most memorable speeches ever.
Some Parting Advice
Everyone in the room is gonna be pullin’ for you when you get up to make your speech, so don’t stress.
You care enough about your groom’s speech to do your homework, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. That shows you’re probably a pretty upstanding gent. (Of course, if you weren’t, she wouldn’t have said yes in the first place.) Congratulations, and enjoy your day!