Does a wedding speech have to be funny?
That’s it. That’s the blog.
Ok, so I’m not a comedian. To be fair, I never said I was, just that I’d answer the question, and my answer is that there is no rule that wedding speeches have to be funny.
The media makes us feel like wedding speeches have to be funny
In media, we see time and time again that wedding speeches are being portrayed as these hilarious speeches that thrill the audience as if they’ve attended a stand-up routine, but this isn’t a realistic expectation for most people.
Best man speeches have been hit the hardest with this expectation, but it’s not fair to just expect someone to be funny just because they’re giving a wedding speech.
Humour is so much more than just reading a good joke. It requires a thoughtful delivery and confidence in your jokes. You need to know when to pause, to understand which parts to emphasize and be able to read the room.
If writing a funny wedding speech feels like an extra burden to you, you’re not alone with this feeling! For most people, giving a wedding speech comes with so many challenges.
Common wedding speech challenges and fears:
- Public speaking
- Standing in front of many strangers
- Saying the wrong thing
- Not being entertaining
- Being judged
You’re already dealing with many challenges, so adding the unnecessary pressure of “you HAVE to be funny” is just absurd.
“If my wedding speech doesn’t have to be funny… how should my speech sound?”
Instead, write your speech naturally to match your personality while respecting the couple and the audience.
- Are you naturally funny? Does it make sense to tell jokes? Do people know you as a funny person, or do you just think you’re supposed to be funny in this speech?
- What do you want the couple to feel on their wedding day? Do you want to focus on jokes, or do you want to focus on sentimental words to make them feel special and loved on their wedding day?
Choose what feels best for you.
I’ll give you an example of how this can go wrong when we give in to pressure.
I attended a wedding a few years ago.
During the speeches, a person delivered a hilarious speech. The audience was literally gasping with laughter. BUT the person giving the speech is well known as a hilarious person. They regularly deliver speeches to crowds that are filled with well-thought-out jokes. Plus, they knew the audience members well, and they knew how to deliver the speech to meet their humour. Overall, it was the perfect balance of funny and loving while matching the person who gave it.
Now here’s where things went wrong.
The person who was scheduled to give the next speech panicked. I remember sitting at the table with them before they went up, and I could see they were shaken. Right before they were called to deliver their speech, they were scribbling wildly on a napkin, and I knew they had scrapped their original speech and were trying to create something on the fly to try and meet the tone of the previous speech.
They were unprepared. They were out of their comfort zone, and they weren’t confident in what they were saying. This person isn’t known to be funny, so their forced humour wasn’t genuine, and it felt awkward.
Because they were telling jokes for the sake of telling jokes, they weren’t well thought out or purposeful, so the speech ended up sounding mean and harsh because they were just flinging insults at the groom.
They would have been much better off delivering the thoughtful speech they had prepared the week before. While it had no jokes, it was loving, genuine, and matched who we all knew this person to be.
“So, if people don’t think I’m funny, I shouldn’t tell a joke?”
I feel like someone reading this is thinking this exact question.
No, you can absolutely still tell jokes if you’re not known as a funny person. But tell jokes because you believe in them. Because they match what you want the couple to feel on their wedding day. Because they’re organic and have a purpose.
Tell jokes because you want to, not because you think you have to.
When we think we have to do something and force it, it’s not genuine, and the audience can tell. So take some time to think about what you really want to offer in your speech and match the tone and style accordingly.
Writing and delivering a wedding speech can be hard work, so give yourself a break and write and deliver the speech you want to share—the couple will appreciate it!
Not sure what to put in your speech? Check out my blog on how to choose which story to share in your speech!
What if I REALLY want a hilarious speech, but I don’t know how to write it?
There are some fantastic comedic wedding speech writers out there who have awesome reviews to back up their claims! You’ll have someone who can not only write you great jokes but who can give you some great pointers on your delivery.
On Google, look for a “comedic wedding speech writer” and choose the writer whose style and reviews match what you’re looking for in your funny speech.