How to write a wedding speech… by Mr STG

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This is a guest post by Mr STG (Karen’s husband)

“Your wedding speech – it’s important”

I say your speech but I do not mean to imply that it’s only about the groom’s speech. At our wedding Mrs STG made a great speech. Why was it great? Because it was well thought out, it was original and it was straight from the heart….that’s Mrs STG all the way.

Further to my first post, I have thought about what additional contribution I could make to the ever flourishing Smashing The Glass and I thought back to our wedding to think about what I might be able to offer and I kept on coming back to my speech.

My speech was not something I was really looking forward to with relish. Like many of us I am not naturally given to making speeches even though through work I have had training and the need to do so, but making a speech at my own wedding felt very different. Why was I especially apprehensive? On reflection I think it was because this was a one-off opportunity to speak to the group of people who meant the most in the world to me.

The reason for this offering is to suggest that you take great care in making a speech and that you make it the very best you possibly can because it really is important.

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Karen, founder of STG, making a speech at her wedding to Mr STG

It’s Important

This is the first point I wish to share. It really is the opportunity to express; your gratitude, your love, your feelings and perhaps above all else yourself.

When I say “the” opportunity I mean that there are very few other life events when your world comes together to celebrate and be joyous and that is why I strongly suggest that you seize the opportunity.

Don’t waste the opportunity

I distinctly remember attending a wedding when after a long day of ceremony and reception in the late summer sun….(I suspect you already know where I am going with this one) a groom got up after an equally long dinner and rambled and mumbled some incoherent thanks, he had to be prompted a few times to mention certain bits and pieces and I remember thinking at the time what a waste of such an opportunity.

PPPPP (aka Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance)

Your wedding day is a maelstrom second to none. There is an enormous amount going on and unless you are one of those very fortunate people who can get to their feet without preparation and deliver a coherent, witty, entertaining speech whilst remembering everything that you wish to say then you will need to prepare.

I knew I wanted to speak to a few people directly in my speech whether to express love and / or to thank amongst other things. The task was how to collate and deliver those themes in a way that involved everyone and without being boring. I suspect that this is the basis of everyone’s desire who gets up to say something on their wedding day.

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Write Down Your Speech

My advice is that you need to write out your speech and I mean every word. The exercise gives you the thinking time to organise what you want to say, to give your speech structure, shape and form.

This bit does come from some of my training. Your “audience” will be the most receptive and supportive of audiences you are ever likely to speak to but they still need to know what they are going to get.

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Smashing the Bride’s Glass Ceiling

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This is a guest post by Lucy Jenkins (pictured above),
a newlywed television publicist living in London, whose wedding I featured on the blog last month.

Over the last few years there has been a huge renaissance in the rise of feminism, with women pushing for the right to equal pay, equal rights and against every day sexism. In the wedding industry, an industry which revolves predominantly around women, it seems bizarre that there are so many antiquated rules that determine how we create our wedding days.

Over the past year I was asked on a nearly daily basis how ‘my’ wedding plans were going, and very rarely did anyone assume that my husband was involved in the intricacies of the planning process. There were constant references to ‘Lucy’s wedding’ and a general assumption that the big day was higher up on my agenda than his. It is an extraordinary set of circumstances and outdated behaviour that a wedding day seems to belong to the bride, and yet her voice is the only one that we do not hear.

After many years working in publishing and now in television I spend my days talking non-stop, and you’d think that when I leave the office that my ability to talk and talk and talk would diminish, but it never seems to. When Matt and I first met, on a flashing dance floor of a club, he offered to buy me a drink and we spent the next three hours sitting in the corner talking about anything and everything under the sun.

Our first few dates lasted until 2 or 3am, moving from restaurants to bars, watching last orders being called around us while we were lost to the world deep in conversation. We are both chatterboxes, we love regaling our friends with stories, working any problems out by talking them through, having heated debates and are most definitely not known for our shyness. And yet when it came to planning our big day he seemed a little taken aback that I wanted to stand up on stage and say a few words.

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Image: Jez Dickson

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A Ritva Westenius bride for a city-chic Interfaith Jewish Wedding at One Marylebone, Central London, UK

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Today’s wedding from One Marylebone in the heart of London, is a masterclass in how to ensure your guests enjoy your big day. In particular, it’s an absolute must-read for anyone planning a mixed faith wedding. Lucy’s report is long – there’s no denying it – but it’s brilliantly written and very much worth scrutinising, particularly the section on how she and Matt developed and personalised their ceremony. It’s clear that Lucy’s Jewish faith is culturally and religiously of deep significance to her, and she and Matt (who’s taken to her Jewish-ness like a duck to water!) incorporated so many symbolic and personal details into their celebration.

And I love this…Six weeks before the big day they invited all of Matt’s friends over to their flat, and hosted a small Israeli dancing lesson as many of Matt’s friends had never attended a Jewish wedding before. Such a brilliant and fun idea!  As Lucy says, “while there is nothing that can prepare you for the sheer madness of running in circles and being thrown up in the air – it was great that the boys had a vague idea of what was going on so that on the day they knew how to get stuck in!”

The attention to their guests enjoyment didn’t stop there… Lucy and Matt really wanted to let their guests know how happy they were that they were there to share their big day with them. So they hand-wrote 200 (yes 200!) individual cards so that each guest had a personal note waiting for them on their place at the table.

Our bride and groom look impeccable stylish – Lucy in a beautifully cut Ritva Westenius gown, and Matt in a three piece suit by Hackett. And whilst we’re talking fashion can I just be frivolous and say that I am loving the gals’ personalised sports bras!

Photography is by Jez Dickson whose work I’m delighted to be featuring on the blog today.

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how we met

Lucy, the Bride: Matt and I met in the summer of 2010, at a club in Putney. We both had other plans, and as two staunch North Londoners neither of us were particularly enamoured with the idea of an evening so far from home! I spotted Matt on the dancefloor and danced near him, within a matter of minutes he had offered to buy me a drink – we sat in the corner nursing a single drink for the next three hours and had our first official date the next day.

On the Sunday he rang his mother and told her that he had met the woman he wanted to marry – she politely reminded him that I may not necessarily feel the same way after one short meeting. Nonetheless, 6 dates and 10 days later he asked me if I would be his girlfriend, after 4 years of dating he asked me to marry him and then 15 months after that we walked down the aisle!

We have never stopped talking or loving spending time with each other – and going south of the river that one night could not have been more worthwhile! Both of us are complete chatterboxes and one of the questions that everyone always asks us is who speaks when we get home? How do either of us get a word in edgeways? But somehow we’ve managed to find the one person that we can sit in silence with.

One Marylebone Wedding
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Juliette & Nick | Interfaith Jewish Christian wedding at The Brewery, East London, UK

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Some of you may be aware that at traditional Jewish weddings, the couple enter the reception under an archway of hoops to the sound of raucous clapping and cheering. Juliette and Nick chose to enter their party with that tradition but they added their own personal twist: Nick was a university fencer so they alternated the hoops with fencing swords. Brilliant! I love it when couples take age-old Jewish wedding traditions and make them their own and these are exactly the kind of personal details that ‘grab’ me when I look through a submission.

Juliette and Nick’s ceremony embraced both their faiths (Christian and Jewish) in a truly beautiful way, and it made me smile from ear to ear when Juliette told me that in the run-up to her big day, she loved seeing the range of mixed faith weddings on the blog. She was inspired by how other couples had worked out ways to incorporate two faiths into their day in their own unique way. Helping interfaith couples plan a meaningful Jew-ish wedding was one of the big aspirations I’d had for STG when I originally set it up so I’m one very happy blogger!

So what else do I love about this wedding? Well for one, there are some AWESOME musical choices – make sure you listen to those YouTube links further down the post. There’s also a groovy gin cocktail bar by those cool dudes, the Travelling Gin Company  and there’s beer imported from Brussels, as that’s where Nick used to live. And there’s an alternative to the traditional wedding cake made out of 20 kilos of cheese. That would have gone down VERY well in my house.

The venue is The Brewery and it gives this wedding an urban East London vibe that’s the perfect backdrop for a city-chic W day.

Photography today is by a much-loved STG-recommended supplier, Blake Ezra Photography. You can view more of Blake’s work and all his other STG weddings in his listing in my hand picked supplier directory, Smashing Suppliers.

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Debbie & Eyal | A Jewish Turkish lovebird-themed wedding, filled with colour, at The HAC (Honourable Artillery Company), London, UK

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It absolutely makes my day when I read that the couple who’s real wedding I’m putting together found their photographer via Smashing The Glass. That’s exactly what Debbie and Eyal did in order to discover the amazing Marianne Chua – and oh my goodness, aren’t Marianne images awesome?

Debbie and Eyal chose a really unusual theme… birds! They both adore our feathered friends so weaved them into their wedding stationery, their guestbooks, on top of their wedding cake, into their ‘nest’-style table centrepieces, and even as dancing props later on in the evening! Such an unexpected theme and so well-executed.

Not surprisingly with Debbie working in events, and Eyal being a theatre lighting designer, there’s a whole heap of personality and creativity flowing throughout the day. From the wedding logo of two birds, sketched by the bride, to their super fun wedding website, to the surprise song and dance performed by friends, to the highly personalised Jewish wedding ceremony punctuated by musical interludes, this W-Day is overflowing with individuality and character.

Debbie’s report is longer than average, there’s no denying it but it’s well worth an in-depth read. Perhaps gawp at the emotive imagery and then come back later for a proper sit down. I’ll admit that parts of Debbie’s report brought me to tears. It’s brilliantly written, straight from the heart, and she gives some of the best advice I’ve ever heard from a bride at the end of the post. An absolute must-read.

By pure coincidence, I also had the pleasure of meeting Debbie in the run-up to her wedding when I was giving a talk at Brides The Show last year. After the talk she came over for a chat to ask my advice on her big day. One of the things she wanted to know was how she could come up with an idea for a meaningful chuppah design. Well, without wanting to pat myself on the back, I must have said something right, as what Debbie and Eyal came up with couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s a great example of how your chuppah canopy can be one of the most meaningful and personal elements of your wedding day. I’ll let Debbie divulge the details – it’s so very special.

Oh, and the wedding film at the end of the post, by The Dreamcatchers is an absolute must-see too. So much love and happiness oozes out of it, I literally found myself gazing at it thinking how lucky I am to be able to watch this breathtaking film as part of my job. Don’t miss it!

Ok lovely Debbie, take it away…

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how we met

Debbie, the Bride: I was moving in with two friends, Alma and Shiri (my BridesMates!) who introduced me to Eyal. He helped us move into the flat actually. We were friends for a few months, and got together the day before he went off to South America for almost four months away. Timing! We thought we’d ‘pick up’ when he got back, but in fact we ended up Skype-ing, writing and essentially starting out as a couple. He returned in February 2013 and the rest was history.

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