The groom's speech is the easiest. You've had all the advice you need above - just say Thank Yous. And remember to KISS.
Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Don't forget to raise a glass to absent friends either - be they people too far to travel, or people who have passed away (in which case, I named them - there were only two or three family members to list though).
IIRC we got gifts for parents, bridesmaids and best man. Buggered if I can remember what any of them were except the latter - engraved pewter beer mug ;)
EDIT: and congratulations, of course! Matt's Top Tip for the day: try and take a few minutes out every now and then to sit down with your wife and just watch what's going on. It's all too easy to spend all your time mingling and feeling like you have to talk to everyone, to the point where you don't get to enjoy your wedding as much as everyone else and you don't actually see your new wife.
Likewise - and we'd had the name change timed specifically, so I used my groom's speech to announce that my wife wasn't the only person taking on my family name that day. I think every female relative cried at that point.
Originally Posted by Iain.Faulkner
Bullet points on a card, written the night before at about 11pm (when you remember you've forgotten to write it), wing it. :)
Think I got away with it, I would definitely use the "wife and I" bit. From what I remember, you echo the father of the bride in thanking everyone for coming, thank your new wife for "making you the happiest man in the world" or whatever other soppy phrase occurs, thank those who've helped with bits from the wedding. Nail your best man to the wall beforehand, or get him plastered so he can't speak (or threaten him with his wedding day if it's likely to occur) - also, don't drink too much before your speech. The best man should thank the bridesmaids as part of their speech iirc, but I'd thank them as part of yours anyway - better to thank everyone than miss someone because you think someone else is going to thank them.
And be yourself - sell things to people (if someone made something for you for the wedding, offer their services, taking a small percentage margin for yourself).
Good luck :)
In all honesty, no one* really cares about what you say, they're there to enjoy celebrating your commitment to your new wife
*this may not include your wife, your parents and her parents.
You could always sing it...
@Millgate - Congratulations in advance for the big day. Hope you are not planning a long honeymoon!!! You have my EES renewal to sort out!!! Just kidding (I'm not!!). Enjoy your big day.
Two things to remember:
You're amongst friends (most of whom will have had a few drinks). They're on your side. If you crack a joke, they'll laugh. If you say something soppy, they'll say "aah" and get teary. Don't worry too much about getting it right or being perfect - whatever you say will be appreciated. The important thing is not to forget to thank anyone and not to forget to say how wonderful your new wife is!
And second thing, grammar. "My wife and I would like to thank you....." = correct. "On behalf of me and my beautiful wife, I'd like to thank you...." = correct. "On behalf of my wife and I, thank you all....." = INCORRECT. Horrible pedants like me will be horrified :)
Best of luck for the big day and for the many happy years to follow.
That sounds wrong in my head, but then a lot of things do!
Originally Posted by ICTLady
Have a great day anyway and enjoy it!
Wow.. Congratulations first off!
For my speech I went for a couple of geeky Mac Fan Boy gags (as everyone knows I am one) for instance, I started by saying "So, apparently this is the point when I'm to give some kind of speech. I have to be honest with you, I only found out about half an hour ago, but then I remembered that great advertising slogan, and sure enough, there's an app for it" cue pulling out my iPhone and making a couple of purposeful gaffs in a Ron Burgandy reading whats on the prompt styley (though not the sweary types, just daft things and a few in jokes amongst friends) - then got on with what everyone else has already said, all the thank you messages, how beautiful everyone looks, gifts, etc.
Whilst the best mans speech is traditionally the funny one (and my best man did do a very good job of that) there's nothing in the rule books that say you can't make a couple of quips too. It's whatever you feel most natural doing. If you're more of a joke about kind of guy, then make the odd joke at the start and such, if you're more a serious dude, then don't - just don't forget all the thank yous and don't show up your best man if you are going to throw a few gags in. :)
You dont know Luke too well, she still has time to come to her senses!
Originally Posted by IrritableTech
On a more serious note, my speech was terrible but essentially you want to comment on your new wife (say nice things), do your thank you's to everyone for coming, your wife for agreeing to marry you (you need a big thank you for that one), your parents, everyone involved in the wedding (and give out gifts if thats what your doing), the hotel staff etc. Couple of small jokes, you could comment on whoeever is speaking next, probably your best man, and ramp up the pressure for him etc :)
I'm sure it'll be fine, though personally i hope you muck it up!