The Groom Speech: Here's What to Write, Say & Do

All your burning groom's speech questions—answered. Cheers!
Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
by
Jessica Estrada
Jessica Estrada - The Knot Contributor.
Jessica Estrada
The Knot Contributor
  • Jessica contributes wedding planning, wedding etiquette and relationship content to The Knot.
  • She also covers lifestyle and wellness topics for print and digital publications such Refinery29, Bustle, Well + Good, Cosmopolitan, Byrdie, The Zoe Report, The Cut and more.
  • Jessica has a journalism degree from Cal State University, Northridge and is certified as a life and success coach.
Updated Jul 25, 2021

Traditionally, the father of the bride, the best man, and maid of honor are the ones who take the mic during the wedding reception to share a few words and toast the newlyweds as they embark on their new life together. These days, however, grooms are also opting to stand up and give a speech to welcome guests and thank them for being there to celebrate the special day. Writing and delivering a memorable wedding speech is no easy feat, though, especially if it's your first time. It requires preparation, creativity, and a hefty dose of confidence. To help ensure you give a great groom speech on your wedding day, we chatted with wedding vow and speech writer Alexis Dent of XO Juliet. Ahead, learn how to write a heartfelt, entertaining groom's speech and speech tips on how to deliver it with confidence on the big day.

How Long Should a Groom Speech Be?

Grooms speeches typically take place during the wedding reception. In general, it's best to keep wedding speeches relatively short, especially if there will be multiple speeches such as the father of the bride speech, the best man speech, and the maid of honor speech. You don't want the speeches to cut into the dinner and dancing portion of the wedding reception. According to Dent, about three minutes is the sweet spot for a groom's speech. That would equate to about 300-400 written words, depending on how quickly you speak.

How to Write a Groom Speech

A Groom Speech Template

Every groom's speech will be unique and different depending on their personality, what they'd like to share, and who they want to thank. But, in case you need some guidance, here's an outline of a structure Dent recommends following as you write your groom's speech. Whatever you do, Dent adds, ensure that you tap into your emotions and write your groom toast from the heart.

Thank your new spouse. First and foremost, start by thanking your new spouse and say a few words about how much this new phase of your relationship means to you.

Thank VIPs in your life. This could be your own parents, mother and father in-law, friends, family members, your wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen), or anyone else who made the wedding day possible.

Share a story. Next, follow the thank yous with a story. Dent suggests a positive anecdote that illustrates the road you and your new spouse had to travel to make it to this milestone.

End with a toast. And last but not least, Dent recommends concluding the groom speech with a toast to your forever partner and a lifetime of love together.

Who Does the Groom Thank in His Speech?

"Grooms should thank everyone that made an impact not only on their wedding day but on their relationship as a whole," Dent says. "Most grooms thank both families and members of the wedding party." Be sure to include a thank you to anyone else who is particularly special and those who traveled far as well, she adds. You can also throw in a quick thank you to your wedding vendors (wedding planner, photographers, staff, etc.) for making the wedding day possible.

That said, ensure you keep the focus of your speech on your significant other. "While it's important to thank the people in attendance and the people who made this day possible, at the end of the day, it comes down to you and your new spouse — and your speech should reflect that," Dent says.

How to Give a Groom Speech

Groom Speech Jokes

For jokes in a groom speech, Dent's best piece of advice is to know your audience. For instance, a dirty joke may be funny at an adults-only wedding reception but not appropriate if kids are in attendance. Use your best judgment on whether a joke will be well received. Also, Dent recommends avoiding inside jokes as only a handful of guests would understand them and can make things feel awkward if the joke doesn't land. If you're unsure of what joke to include, Dent's fail-proof groom's speech joke is to mention how guests are here for dinner drinks and not to listen to long speeches like these.

Groom Speech Example

Got writer's block? No worries. Below Dent shares a fully written groom's speech you can use as inspiration.

"Good evening everyone!

I know everyone is probably dreading one of my infamous and long-winded stories right now, but I promise to keep it short so we can all hit the dance floor.

I wanted to take a few moments to express my appreciation for all the support we've received; it has made this day and evening one to remember. There are too many people that I am utterly indebted to for helping our wedding go off without a hitch, but I want to shout out our photographer, our wedding party, and our parents in particular.
To all of our guests, who traveled from both near and far, I appreciate each and every one of you for taking the time out of your lives to celebrate Alex and me. This day would not be nearly as magical without you all here, and I'm incredibly grateful for your presence.

Quite a few of you are involved in our love story and have played an integral role in us making it to this amazing milestone in life. I want to give special thanks to Alex's family in particular. You have accepted me entirely, you treat me as if I was your own, and you have really helped Alex and me over the years when times were tough. I have felt such a level of acceptance from all of you in a way that I never could have expected. Marie and Dan, you have truly raised a wonderful human, and all she is is because of you.

Now for my own family! Mom and Dad, thank you for the unwavering emotional support you have shown me throughout the years. You have given me more grace than I deserve and have loved Sam like she's your own. I aspire to have a marriage half as strong and a love half as unrelenting as yours.

Once again, thank you Trina, Kari, Tom, and Rick for helping us make it down the aisle. You guys are the best friends and most epic entourage that a guy could ask for.

Last of all, thank you, Alex. I still cannot believe how lucky I am.

Let's raise a glass to each other, to love, and to happily ever after.

Cheers!"

How to End the Groom Speech

The end of any speech tends to be the most memorable as it's the last thing your guests will hear so you really want to make it count. Don't let this stress you out though. Dent says keeping the groom speech close super simple is best. She recommends simply raising a glass to your new spouse and toasting to many happy years of marriage. Classic, short, and to the point—you can't go wrong.

Write the groom speech on paper.

Although it may be tempting to just read your speech off your phone, Dent advices writing it on paper or printing it out instead. "Reading from a piece of paper is much more visually appealing, and it'll look much more timeless when you look back at your photos," she says.

Practice, practice, practice.

Preparing for public speaking requires repetition. Even though you'll be reading it off the paper and don't need to memorize it, be sure to still practice reciting it a few times before the wedding day so you feel confident in your delivery and can maintain a nice rhythm and eye contact. Dent suggests practicing in front of close friends and family as well who can provide feedback on the content and the delivery. "You want to be sure that they are happy with the speech and that it is reflective of both partners," Dent says.

What NOT to Say in a Groom Speech

When it comes to what not to say in a groom's speech, negativity is definitely at the top of the list. "Focus on the amazing wedding day and the joy it has brought — even if everything about the wedding has not gone as planned," Dent says. Also, she adds, avoid sharing embarrassing stories about your new spouse in your speech, unless, of course, you've discussed it with them and it's an interesting or funny anecdote that would entertain your guests.

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