9 Genius Ways to Shake Up Your Wedding Speeches

9 Genius Ways to Shake Up Your Wedding Speeches

Here at One Fab Day, we love wedding speeches of all kinds – yes, even the painfully awkward ones! – but we also understand that, for lots of couples, a traditional round of wedding speeches, complete with toasts and trips down memory lane, just doesn’t feel right. You may take issue with the formality of the post-dinner set-up, the expected list of speakers, or even the sheer amount of time it occupies, but whatever your gripe, you’ll find a solution in this post!

We’ve rounded up some fun and laid-back alternatives to traditional wedding speeches, so you can make sure that your day fully reflects you and your other half. Let’s take a closer look…

Shake Up Your Wedding Speeches

1. Give a Joint Wedding Speech

This one is increasingly popular with our real wedding couples, and it’s a great option if you, or your spouse-to-be, is nervous about the public speaking element of the day. Taking the mic with your other half immediately puts your guests at ease, as there’s less pressure to perform. As for the speech itself, the usual advice applies, except in this case, you get to divide your list of thank-yous in two! If you’re getting married, you already have lots of experience working as a team, so we know you’ll come up with something great.

Logistical tip: Ask your venue if they can arrange two microphones. Having to manage with one might be tricky!

2. Have Open Mic-Style Speeches

We’re enormous fans of this idea, and we know from experience that open mic-style speeches are a huge hit! It works like this: the couple chooses a few confident friends or family members (a duo works best) to MC the speeches, and guests are invited to put their hand up if they’d like to contribute a quick story or message. This format can easily go off the rails, so choose your MCs wisely, provide them with a time limit (40 minutes in total is good), and let them know if any bridal party members (a parent, for example) would like to say a few words, but requires a little coaxing.

Logistical tip: Ask your MCs to have a few jokes and stories prepared, so there won’t be any awkward silences!

3. Change Up the Location

Traditionally, wedding speeches are delivered from the top table at the reception dinner, but in theory, you should be able to have them anywhere you like! The stairs of a castle or country house venue work particularly well, and outdoor speeches are pretty magical on a summer’s day, too. You’ll just need to check with your venue that it’s possible to set up the PA system and microphone in your desired location. If you’re having a small wedding of 50 people or less, you may not need one, but again, your venue will be able to advise you.

Logistical tip: If your space requires your guests to stand, be sure to organise a few seats for elderly or pregnant guests, or anybody who might need one.

4. Change Up the Speechgivers

We spoke about this briefly in our post on feminist weddings – while we firmly believe that you should do whatever makes you comfortable on your big day (and would never suggest doing away with the best man’s speech!), we love to see an equal representation of male and female speechgivers. You may have to do some gentle coaxing to get your maid of honour or bridesmaid, mum, partner’s mum, or sister to take the mic, but it’ll be worth it to give them their moment in the spotlight, and to give your speeches a more contemporary feel. There’s no reason why non-bridal party members can’t give a speech, either!

Logistical tip: Ask someone you trust to oversee the speeches and give each speechgiver a time limit. You’d be surprised how chatty your mother can get after four cocktails!

5. Change Up the Timeline

There’s a reason why wedding speeches generally take place right after the meal – it’s a handy time in which your guests are fed, watered, and not yet ready for dancing – but you absolutely don’t have to stick to this timeline. Other options for wedding speeches include during the drinks reception (either pre- or post-ceremony) and, at a small or destination wedding, the rehearsal dinner. We recently attended a wedding where the speeches were peppered throughout the day, which worked really well, and eliminated any chance of wedding speech fatigue!

Logistical tip: Include the speeches on a printed wedding-day timeline, and assign a pal to round up your guests at the appropriate time.

Georgina and Richie covid outdoor wedding photography in Co Wicklow Ireland.
Photo by  The Portrait Room via One Fab Day

6. Try a Table Quiz Format

This one is, admittedly, a bit unusual, but ever since we heard about a couple who met at a table quiz and had quiz-themed wedding speeches, we’ve loved the idea! It was actually pretty simple – the best man MCed a short table quiz featuring questions about the newlyweds. This is a really cute way to break the ice and involve your guests in the speeches, and it doesn’t require too much work, either, if you ask a bridal party member to organise it.

Logistical tip: Remember to arrange pens and paper for each table, and a prize for the winner!

7. Plan a Surprise Performance

If you’re worried about this part of your day feeling a little stale or too formal, consider arranging some kind of entertainment to add colour to your speeches. Maybe you have a talented pal who would be happy to perform a song or lead your guests in a rousing Irish cheer! You could also hire a magician, a dance troop, a singing waiter, one of our recommended musicians or even the team at Sing Along Social. We featured one real wedding where the couple invited multiple guests to perform a party piece at the reception, with hilarious results!

Logistical tip: You’ll need to liaise with your venue about any entertainers you’ve booked, and it’s worth bringing this up early in the wedding planning process, as they may have recommendations.

8. Props Please

No need for the speakers to stand there empty-handed. Arrange for a selection of silly hats that illustrate the stories they’re sharing, or novelty hats just for the fun of it. You could also hold a much-loved old teddy bear or doll and try your hand at a ventriloquism set. Oh the stories Teddy can tell! Alternatively, a simple sign with ‘Cheer’, ‘Boo’ and ‘Awwww’ written in big letters could be fun to get the crowd going.

Logisitcal tip: Let your speechgivers arrange this box of props themselves. This keeps an element of surprise for you and is one less thing for you to worry about sorting.

9. Have a Toast Instead

Occasionally we hear from a couple who aren’t at all interested in giving speeches, and we totally get it – you wouldn’t pause an ordinary party for an hour of monologues, so it may not feel natural to do so on your wedding day, either! It’s fine to ditch the speeches altogether if you and your bridal party are happy to sit them out, but it’s still important to thank your guests for attending. A quick toast provides the perfect solution – you can ask a friend to lead it, and it can be as simple as a list of thank-yous and a call to raise a glass. We have an easy formula to give the perfect toast here, or maybe you like the idea of doing a Yam Seng toast?

Logistical tip: Without wedding speeches, you lose the opportunity to relay on-the-day information to your guests – details of post-reception transport, for example – but some cute signage dotted around the venue will serve the same purpose.

Ready to write your speech? Read our tips first and Check out our fun Wedding Speech Bingo printable here!

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