Thinking of doing a joint wedding speech? Read Speechy's top tips

'The Speech Surgery' with Heidi Ellert McDermott, founder of Speechy & author of The Modern Couple's Guide to Wedding Speeches

black and white photo of guests raising a toast at a wedding reception Credit: Thomas William on Unsplash

My fiancé and I were thinking about doing a joint wedding speech but we've no idea where to start. Any advice?

Do it. Your guests will love it! A joint speech is a really modern addition to any wedding, and your friends and family will love it as they get to hear from you both!

A joint speech follows the same etiquette principles as your standard bride and groom speech but allows you to present it as a team and play up to your relationship dynamic. But, despite the two voices, be careful not to make the speech double the length! No more than 1,500 words maximum. When it comes to writing a joint speech, it all comes down to your ability to collaborate, discuss and bounce ideas off each other. You must resist the urge to shake your head despairingly or bang your head off the table, when your partner suggests something you don't like.

Instead, you need cultivate a creative environment. Organise a date night and brainstorm...

  • Who you want to thank
  • If you need to pay a tribute to any absent friends or family members
  • The stories you could tell to entertain everyone and give them an insight into your relationship
Once you've gathered good content and ticked off all the speech to-dos, pick out the best bits and you're ready to write a first draft. I suggest one of you does the first pass of the speech, and then the other reads through and suggests edits. This means you don't have to debate words as you go, but it also requires that you're both open to feedback.

A joint speech structure is similar to an individual newlywed speech...
  • Hello, welcome & some early humour
  • The Speech-Meat – Where you tell a few great stories and show your relationship in action
  • Thank yous
  • Acknowledgement of the dearly departed (if necessary)
  • A final more romantic tribute to each other
  • A toast
Divide the speech so you each have small sections to deliver (2 – 6 sentences) and alternate throughout. You want to support each other's narrative.

We encourage couples to discuss every element of their speech, apart from the final romantic tribute to each other. With that, just agree the length – (50 to 75 words?) – and who's going first etc.  Deliver your lines as a surprise on the day, before uniting to deliver the final toast. 

Another benefit of opting for a joint speech is that you can rehearse (the majority of) it together. As well as ensuring the words are ingrained in your head, you should also practise your 'double-act'. You need to interact throughout, so also rehearse what you're doing as your partner delivers their lines. Don't just look at your speech notes, make sure you're actively listening and reacting to what they say. Look at who they're thanking, roll your eyes at any teasing, laugh along to the jokes. On the day, simply look like you're having fun with your favourite person in the world and the guests will pick up on the oxytocin-vibes!

For more inspiration www.speechy.com/speechy-advice/couples-joint-speech

Missed our first Speechy series of columns, find more here.

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