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The Speech Surgery: does my wedding speech have to be funny?

Posted by Danielle Harvey on 8 June 2024

Feeling the pressure that your wedding speech has to be a-joke-a-minute? Heidi Ellert McDermott, founder of Speechy & author of The Modern Couple's Guide to Wedding Speeches says otherwise...

bridesmaid in black dress given a speech on a mike at a wedding Credit: Photo by Kari Bjorn Photography on UnsplashI'm not funny. Does my wedding speech need to be?

I've heard some lovely speeches that haven't contained any humour, but here's the thing...they are the exception to the rule. Nearly every speech is better if it contains a little humour. FACT.

Generally, folk from the UK and Australia want their speeches to have a lot of humour in them, while clients from other parts of the world, namely the US, lean towards a sweeter speech, with lighter elements, as opposed to all-out funny.

While no wedding speaker should be trying to deliver a stand-up routine, all speakers should aim to make their audience smile. And, not a polite smile, but a hearty involuntary one.

Humour is not the reserve of 'funny people'. Neither should it be assumed that being funny is hard. I'm as slow as the next person when it comes to witty comebacks, but I've managed to become a comedy writer because I recognise it's a skill and it's something I've worked at because learning to be funny (or at least, funnier) is a useful life skill.

· Humour lowers defences and makes your audience like you more (honestly, scientists far cleverer than me have proved it)
· Humour has the same effect as learning something new does on the brain. It wakes up an audience and helps them remember the content of your speech.
· Humour is a well-established ingratiation tactic. Laughter is a scientifically recognised social bonding juice.

The lesson here is, don't be shy about trying to find your funny bone. Making people laugh is not about 'being a funny person', it's simply about putting the effort in. You can still be yourself and make people laugh. It doesn't need to be stressful.

The trick is to avoid trying to deliver bellylaughs or punchlines. Instead, just say what you see. If you're going to be delivering a newlywed speech, just take a step back and look at the reality of your relationship. Spot the odd routines you've developed over the years. Observe your contrasts. Note down what you rely on each other for.

Love is weird. Just explain why! And if you're really stuck, you can always quote someone funnier and wittier than you. For example, Dr. Seuss once wrote, 'We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.'

For more inspiration - speechy.com/make-your-wedding-speech-funny

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