In this episode of the Wedding Pioneer Show, Jake speaks with Geoff Woliner. Geoff Woliner is the founder of WinningWit.com, a site that specializes in writing speeches for weddings.
Geoff was asked to be the best man at a wedding back in 2011. After using a bit of his stand-up comedy background to entice the crowd, he realized how cool it might be to help others do the same!
Listen to this episode to hear Geoff talk about his experience with writing wedding speeches as well as:
- Tips and tricks to make your speech dazzle
- What NOT to say in a wedding speech
- Opening lines that work really well
If you’re worried about giving a wedding speech, Geoff says, “embrace the worry!” With preparation and a little know-how, you’ll be fine: even people with no public speaking experience, Geoff claims, can bring down the house.
Writing And Delivering A Wedding Speech: Opportunity Or Obligation?
Giving a wedding speech is an incredible opportunity. It’s a chance to lift the happy couple on their special day while energizing the wedding attendees. An epic speech is full of heartwarming anecdotes and hilarious stories that can excite the night and get the party started. A wedding speech is also a rare chance, a chance most of us may never have again, to stand before a packed room and command it.
A good wedding speech is thrilling to deliver, and the speaker often becomes the star of the wedding, fielding compliments, again and again, all night.
For many people, however, the problem of writing a good-humored speech poses a serious hurdle. Even worse, when it comes to delivering the speech, plenty of people who don’t often speak in public consider giving a wedding speech an obligation rather than an opportunity, a curse rather than a chance.
This is in large part due to a prevalent phobia: public speaking. In fact, some studies place public speaking as the number one fear experienced by human beings, even above death.
If you feel you’d rather die than speak in public, first of all, don’t die. And second of all, don’t panic. Thousands and thousands of people before you have felt stressed out about giving a wedding speech before delivering an utter smash on the night of the wedding. The most important thing is to prepare.
Who Should Be Prepared To Give A Wedding Speech?
The bride or groom can ask people of all types of relationships to give a wedding speech. There are a few key personalities, however, who almost always give a wedding speech.
Father Of The Bride
The father of the bride is the number one most likely to give a wedding speech. This is consistent throughout class and culture. The bride’s father is typically asked to speak in Chinese, Indian, Irish, and all other kinds of weddings.
If you’re the father of the bride or the father of a bride-to-be, chances are you will receive an invitation to make a speech.
Another very common speaking candidate is the best man. The best man typically has a more playful speech, one in which he roasts the groom a bit before sending off the couple with a blessing in the form of a toast.
Maid / Matron of Honor
The maid or matron of honor also often gets a chance to give a speech. The maid of honor speech is a chance to reflect on your relationship with the bride, acknowledge the groom, and send your close friend off on a high note.
Depending on the family dynamics, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or close family friend may give a speech too. If you’re very close with either the bride or the groom, you may want to think about sharpening your pencils.
What Is a Toast vs. a Speech?
A toast is ubiquitous at rehearsal dinners and is often short and sweet. The toaster should have a list of people to acknowledge, as acknowledgments are very important here. The toaster wishes the couple the best and has everyone raise their glasses.
A speech, however, is a much bigger occasion.
A speech broken into its parts is no bogeyman. Some constants unite all good wedding speeches, while each great address is deeply specific to the speaker.
Typically included in the speech are:
- Acknowledgments of the crowd
- Heartwarming personal stories
- Funny or (slightly) embarrassing stories / off the wall stories
- A big massive rousing toast that gets the crowd on their feet
What If I Have Performance Fright?
Anxiety is a huge factor in most people’s preparation for the wedding speech. It’s simply scary to stand up in front of all those people.
While most people recommend relaxing and meditating to get in a good headspace before the speech, Geoff Woliner says the opposite. He says to lean into the fear and let yourself feel it. Allowing yourself to feel anxiety will help fuel you into the high energy the speech needs. After all, the worst possible thing is being boring.
It’s also important to reframe your performance fright. Reframe the feeling from “what if I bomb” to “what an opportunity.” When else will you get a chance to light up a room? And it’s true; YOU have the power to light up that room.
The Best Man Speech
Best man speeches will differ from person to person, but here are a few general guidelines.
Like all speeches, a best man’s speech should start with a joke. Self-deprecating jokes are excellent speech openers to let the audience know you’re not too serious about yourself. After that:
- Backstory: how do you know the groom? Embarrass the groom a bit (no explicit stories unless the groom wants you to)
- Groom and his partner: your initial impression of them, your relationship with them, what do you think about the two together?
- Sum up with a well-wishing, be authentically you in telling the groom best of luck, then give a toast
The Father of the Bride
The father of the bride’s speech should be similar to the best man’s speech, but it should take on something of a paternal tone.
- Acknowledgments are really important
- Thank people by name (if, for example, some relative flew in from the ends of the Earth to attend the wedding)
- Acknowledge family members who passed on
- Follow the best man formula: talk about the daughter, then her partner, then the two of them together.
- Sum it all up with some fatherly wisdom, then a rousing toast
General Speech Tips
Whether you’re the maid of honor or someone else related to the bride and groom, you may have to give a speech. There are some general guidelines to keep in mind with all wedding speeches.
- No one should embarrass the bride. This is her big day.
- It’s always fun to “bust the groom’s chops,” as Woliner puts it.
On The Bride
There are plenty of no-nos to remember when discussing the bride to keep this day special for her.
Don’t mention ex-boyfriends or ex-husbands, even if they’re in the room. Don’t mention anything sexual related to the bride. Don’t say anything about the bride’s weight, age, or makeup that might be considered a slight. When “busting the groom’s chops,” don’t be so harsh as to suggest the bride “made a mistake” by picking her husband.
How To End The Speech
You can’t fail with a killer wedding toast.
There are great toasts from various cultures — it can be powerful to use one from the couple’s culture.
Ready To Start?
If you’ve been asked to give a speech, start preparing right away. Don’t procrastinate! Your speech simply won’t be as good if you wait too long.
Remember, a wedding speech should be an opportunity. It’s a chance for you to lift your loved one up in an extraordinary way while creating a powerful memory of your own.
Great speeches don’t just make an evening: an excellent wedding speech is remembered for years and years by all those who were witness to it.
Read The Full Interview Transcript Below
Jake 00:00:00 Hey, everybody. Welcome to the wedding pioneer show. My name is Jake, and I’m going to be your host today. Uh, today I’ve got a very special guest. Uh, I’m gonna let Jeff introduce himself. First of all, Jeff, thanks for coming on the show. Appreciate you being here. Why don’t you give us a little bit of a just professional background on you and kind of what you’re doing and then we’ll, we’ll leave that in and let everybody know what we’re going to be talking about today.
Geoff 00:00:22 All right. Well, Jake, it’s great to be here, man. I appreciate you having me on. And first one set the record straight. I’m not a special guest. Special has quite a connotation of my family Thanksgiving. That’s the special one. So our regular guests. Yeah, there we go. Now we’re cooking with oil, that’s it? I appreciate you having me on. I started my company winning wit 10 years ago. First of all, because I have no ability to hold down a real job. So that’s that we’ll get that. And I’ve been a comedian for over 20 years. I was the best man in a big fat Greek wedding. I roasted the groom. Somebody else came up there and gave the worst speech in the history of the world. And that includes all of our last five presidents. Afterwards. The light bulb went on in my head. I said, what if I could help write funny, engaging speeches for people who have no capacity to write and even less capacity to deliver everyone else’s in the wedding business, let’s create a whole new vertical and rock and roll, and it’s been 10 years and we just been doing our thing since.
Jake 00:01:20 Awesome, man. Very cool. So, uh, with that in mind, obviously today on our conversation, we’re going to be breaking down, uh, all things, wedding speeches. Uh, so if you are listening to this and maybe you’re about to give a wedding speech and you’re freaking out a little bit, uh, we’re hoping to help you out. So this will be fun. So, uh, let’s start out, uh, a little bit just kind of setting the stage. I mean, for people that are maybe for the first time, I think some of the obvious ones are like the best man speech like that. One’s one, we kind of know, but who should be, uh, on their radar, I guess, prepared to be giving a speech like from the people that you’ve worked with. Like if you’ve been asked to be a certain role or maybe your father or the groom or whatever, like who should be expecting to give a speech at like a rehearsal, dinner, wedding, reception, et cetera, who should be getting ready for this
Geoff 00:02:06 First and foremost father of the bride out there. You’re on notice gentlemen, you’re on notice by far the most common speech that we do as fathers abroad. Okay. As that is the expectation. And the one thing about father of the bride speeches is that that’s the one constant across every single culture. Okay. So we’ve done everything, you know, Indian weddings, Irish weddings, Chinese weddings, Peruvian weddings. I mean everything in between the father who has, gets up there and says a few words. So it’s always the father of the bride.
Jake 00:02:35 Okay. Very good. Uh, so yeah, father of the bride best, man. Who else are you hearing from? Anybody else here?
Geoff 00:02:42 Maid of honor is a big one. Uh, matron of honor is a big one too. You don’t, you don’t want to get that one wrong a lot of times I’ll, you know, I’ll say, Hey, we’d love to help you with your maid of honor speech path. Excuse me. That would be matron of honor. Get it right. Yeah. You got a lot of that. Those are the three most popular ones that most weddings you’re going to see that the father of the bride best man and maid of honor, but then it all depends on your family relationships, your family dynamics. Sometimes people were raised by our grandparents. Sometimes they were raised by an aunt or an uncle or a really close family friend sometimes. And we were talking about this off-camera you have a wedding MC that says the worst thing a wedding MC ever could, which is, Hey, whoever wants to come up here and say a few words, come on down. And then yeah, at that point, just take a shot to say your hail Mary’s and hope for the best.
Jake 00:03:32 So, uh, somebody again, you know, kind of speaking to that audience that, um, maybe has been asked to be in a wedding and they’ve never have no idea what’s going on. I’ve never done this before. Um, talk about, you know, I assume you guys write speeches and then also toasts. Um, what are just some of the differences there? Like if you’re giving a toast, versus if you’ve been asked to give a speech, like, um, can you give just some general guidelines
Geoff 00:03:55 On that? Absolutely. So if you’re going to give a toast and this is common for rehearsal dinners, you just want to give a quick toast. This is where you’re going to get up there. You need to clank the glass. They hopefully don’t break it. Hopefully it’s not cheap glass. I get a little bit and you get everybody’s attention. And then you just want to give a quick, welcome to everybody. You want to thank people by name who showed up. A lot of people came from out of town. You want to give a shout out to the people who put everything together. Thank you for organizing all this good stuff. Particularly if you have in-laws that paid for the rehearsal dinner, got to give them the shout out. It’s a good way to make sure next Thanksgiving is nice and smooth. So that’s the toast it’s really acknowledgements.
Geoff 00:04:30 And just a couple of well-wishes for the couple. A, I just want to tell you two beautiful kids, you know, or sometimes if it’s a fourth wedding, tell you two beautiful seniors that, you know, we wish you nothing but the best. And then all that good stuff. Each is a different beast. This is where you’re going to get into not only acknowledgements for the crowd, you’re going to start telling a lot of backstories. You’re going to get into a lot of deep emotion about what these people mean to you. You’re going to tell some heartwarming stories. You’re going to tell some sentimental stories. You’re going to tell some really, really funny and awful Wal stories depending on the crowd and not put up a name, big, massive rousing toast that gets the crowd on their feet.
Jake 00:05:07 Okay. Awesome. Cool, man. Well, we’re going to get into, um, some, some tips about specific speeches and just some of your go tos, you know, things like that. Um, before we do that, you know, I’m assuming that when people were coming out and reaching out to you about writing a speech, there’s a lot of anxiety, uh, from the person that’s coming to you, that’s just nervous about this. They don’t like speaking in public, that sort of thing. So obviously you guys are helping them out with, with writing the speech. But, um, do you have any like just general tips overall for somebody that’s dealing with that feeling about delivering a good speech? Like what, you know, when you give them the words to say, what else are you telling them? Like, how are you calming them down a little
Geoff 00:05:46 Bit? Yeah, no, that’s a great question. I get that all the time that anxiety is off the charts, everybody reaches out to me. So a few things I’d recommend to anybody out there who has anxiety about getting wedding speech or just the speech in general, you have to speak in public. It’s, you know, it’s the number two fear behind death. So I been bitten by a poisonous snake, but, um, I don’t know between you and the wall, little more worried about the Cobra than I am about being the best man, but what are you gonna do? I would just say it’s the first thing you want to do is a lot of people are going to tell you to, you know, to relax is to breathe this to maybe meditate and to try to even yourself out, I’m going to give you the exact opposite advice.
Geoff 00:06:24 I want you to lean into the fear. I want you to feel the fear. I want you to feel that kind of fire burning you up. I want you to feel that anxiety because that’s good. That is going to propel you into a high energy performance, which is what you want. Yeah. But worst thing you can do up there is not to bomb with bad jokes. The worst thing you can be is boring. Okay. I think that’s the biggest thing. People forget it’s boring is the worst thing. You can be not unfunny, but boring. If you feel that anxiety and you’re doing your thing, just seeing you up there, nervous is going to entertain people. So right out of the gate, you’re already wanting to feel that I would feel that energy. Then I would reframe your mind from, oh my God, I have to give a speech.
Geoff 00:07:01 What if I bombed to, oh my God, what an opportunity I have to bring down the house. How often in my life am I going to have a moment like this? Where I get a chance to just light up a room? Not everybody speaks in public collapse, very rare thing. This is the life moment. And you have that opportunity. So reframe your mind from what, if it could go really wrong to what if it can go really right now, you’re thinking and visualizing the best case scenario. You’re getting up there, get laughter. You’re getting tears. You have the crowd eating out of your hands. And by the way, let me tell you this. And this happens every single time. If you give a great wedding speech, people are going to be coming up to you the entire rest of the night, complimenting you on what a great job you did and people you’re going to see 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 years later are still going to remember that speech.
Geoff 00:07:47 And they’re still going to be talking about it. So you have the coolest opportunity right now in your mind. And then after you do that, what I want you to do is think about a song that really fires you up, cut a song that you need, drive it along. And you just, it comes on the radio. It comes on your playlist and just start kind of dancing in your seat. You know, like the really bad dancing uncles do at weddings. Like, you know, that that kind of dancing, that thing happens. You’re all fired up. It gets you moving. I want you to think of that song, play that song in your mind. Before you take the stage before you grabbed that mic, what’s your
Jake 00:08:18 Song? What are you playing in your head? Jeff
Geoff 00:08:20 Kickstart my heart by Motley Crue, eighties, hair metal brother. All the way. Okay. My gen X codifies right here, man. You’re good. You’re good. Yeah.
Jake 00:08:34 No, that’s that’s great advice, man. I love that. That’s very cool. Uh, let’s, let’s, let’s get into, um, the best man speech, um, which is one that I feel like a lot of people are out there searching for information on, I guess. Um, first thing I would ask you is that I feel like a lot of people are looking for the icebreaker to start with. And I don’t know. I feel like best man speeches are heavy on usually. I don’t know. Um, just seems that way, you know, it’s kind of like a guys ribbon each other, that sort of thing, but, um, uh, you know what, what’s your thoughts on that? Like if you’re starting out a best man speech, what kind of icebreakers are you telling people to lead off with? Like, is there like, you know what I mean? Like some can’t miss like formulas or whatever, to like a couple of good ways. It’s just like, go with this. If you’re starting out your best man speech to kind of get the momentum going.
Geoff 00:09:19 Absolutely. So like anything else you want to start with a joke, right? And the best kind of joke for a wedding speech is a self-deprecating joke. Okay. You don’t have to cry. No, look, you’re not taking yourself too seriously here. You’re here to have a good time. So, you know, a couple of go tos are, you know, just kind of start out, you grab the mic, you just say, oh man, I’m so glad to see you all here today. And I got to ask, are you guys having a good time so far? And everyone’s gonna start laughing. like, yeah, you know, you can get the energy up and then you just pause for a second. And then you just say, great, keep drinking sake and enjoy this part too. Right there. That’s going to always going to get a laugh. That’s always gonna warm the crowd up. Another one that we’ve been using this year, particularly because of our, our, the world that we live in. Now, you kind of, you grabbed the mic and you say, I know what you’re all thinking right now. Where’s the mute button kind of looking for the self-deprecation. As long as you can start out with something that gets a chuckle, lets the crowd know you’re not taking yourself too seriously. You’re good. You’ve got a meeting out of your hands right out of the gate.
Jake 00:10:14 Okay. Very nice. Very nice. So, uh, from there, you know, you get, you get a little chuckle, a little icebreaker. I mean, do you have, um, like when you’re writing a best man speech for somebody, do you have a bit of a, of a template that you follow as far as like what comes next? Like what kind of stuff should they be including like, could you just sort of lay that out? Like how you plan out? Okay.
Geoff 00:10:35 Absolutely. So that every speech has its own unique DNA, but they all have, I would say kind of the same human architecture, kind of like, you know, you and I are made of basically the same stuff, but we have a lot of different features so that the speech is kind of the same way. I would say the bones of his speech are for a best man. Specifically, you get up there, you have your opening joke. Then what you want to do is kind of give the back story about how, you know, the groom, how you met, embarrass the groom a little bit. Don’t go too far. Unless the groom specifically says humiliate me. And we’ve seen that. And that’s pretty hilarious. So I’m just saying, know your crowd, know your audience. Then after you take the crowd on the journey of you and the groom, then you want to get to the groom’s partner at that point.
Geoff 00:11:15 Okay. When did the groom first meet the groom’s partner? Like when, tell me about the first date. Tell me about the first time you met them. What was your initial impression of that? And tell me about your relationship with them at that point. What are things that just the two of you have shared then? What do you think about them together? If you’re starting with one, then you go with two, then you go one plus to that point, you want to send them into, this is my, this is what I wish for you. This is what I hope for you. Your here’s some wedding advice from somebody who’s not qualified to give wedding advice, come back into the self-deprecation and then end with a really heartfelt thing. You know, I listened, man. I love you. You’re my guy always been, you know, I’m super happy that you met the love of your life today. However you want to word that, obviously do it, but I would say do it in your words, do it in your tone, do it in a way that sounds natural to you. Don’t make it a hallmark movie. Don’t do that. Make it, you make it authentically you and then bring the crowd to their feet with a huge toast and then go off like
Jake 00:12:12 A champ. Yeah. Well that’s awesome. I love it. I love it. So that, I mean all that, that you just laid out, I think was perfect. Like, I mean, how long should that take? Like is there, what’s a good range? That’s not too long. Not too short.
Geoff 00:12:25 Yeah. So there’s two primary ranges that we, we generally aim for it and we have different packages that we offer depending on how long you want the speech to be. So the one range is kind of two to three minutes and the other is five to seven minutes. Now you can’t go wrong with either. The real difference is two to three minutes. You’re hitting all the highlights. So given that have a quick highlight of how you met, you’re giving a quick highlight of all the stuff you’ve given a couple of great jokes, couple of great sentimental moments, your roll up that stage. You’ll leave them wanting more great. Five to seven minutes is when you have some just killer stories to share. And we generally discourage people using stories and speeches unless they’re great stories. So a lot of fathers of the bride, particularly they want to give long winded, long winded talk of, uh, you know, and you know, when Katie was nine, she first started gymnastics and say about that time with her coach. And then I stepped in and then she was 10 and she started soccer and then, and the crowd is falling asleep before she even gets to middle school. So you don’t want to make the speech biographical. That’s the biggest thing I can say. You know, people, people can read the biography of the bride. What they really want is funny stories, like weird wacky, crazy things that happen. And that leads you to the five to seven minute range, but you still have their attention cause the stories.
Jake 00:13:44 Yeah. Uh, well that I, I’m kind of putting you on the spot here, but I’m just curious, like of the best man speech is whatever you’ve, you’ve written any, uh, stories like that, that stick out, like obviously hiding the names of Indiana Senator or wherever you want to say. Like just like general, like, you know what I mean? Like, do you have any examples of just like, that was like the perfect story to have for best man speech kind of thing,
Geoff 00:14:06 Which one best man speech. It was his wedding in California and the bachelor party when we’re talking like, okay, so there were three bachelor parties for this guy. Okay. Three of them and they got married three times. So the group started talking about all the different bachelor parties. They went up and the best story of was the first bachelor party, which was way back in 1998. Wow. And the guys went to Vegas and they ended up partying with Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman in Vegas. It was just a wild story. And he told me the crowd was going nuts and it was all, it was all true. That’s the best part. It was all true. And then he got reporting, number two was 2003 or 2009. I can’t keep track anymore, man one. And they did that one in new Orleans and it was a wild story there. And so that was really, really fun. That was a great time. Awesome.
Jake 00:14:58 Yeah. So I think the takeaway then is if you have a Dennis Rodman story
Geoff 00:15:02 Just include it. Always share it, share it, no matter the speech and you can never go wrong with it. Put that in there. Absolutely.
Jake 00:15:13 That’s great, man. So, um, so you shared with us a really good like sort of flow to follow. Um, so I just wanted to ask about some other, we talked about them other, uh, earlier some of the other common speeches that are given and just if there’s anything that you would maybe add to or change from what you had to say about the best man speech. So let’s jump to like father of the bride that earlier expect to give a speech. Right. I would assume these tend to be a little bit sappy or that sort of thing. Maybe not. Uh, but I’m just kinda curious, like, would you follow the same template you just gave us? Are you changing that up a little bit? What are you telling people that are, that are given that kind of space?
Geoff 00:15:51 Yeah, that’s a good question. I would say the father of the bride speech is that, is it kind of unique beast? You’re following some of the same template, but the acknowledgements are really important because in a lot of cases, this, this guy is a lot of, a lot of times, not always, but a lot of times pink for the wedding. So he it’s his job in a lot of ways to welcome everybody. So this is where you want to thank the people who came in from out of town. You want to thank some of them by name, you can’t thank everybody by name of you’re going to be there for an hour and a half, a couple of years. Somebody, for instance, steak, affluent all the way from Australia, got to give them a shout out by name. That’s a pretty big deal. Somebody who drove in from Chicago.
Geoff 00:16:30 Yeah. What are you going to do? So don’t worry about that as much. So that’s the first thing, making sure the acknowledgments father of the bride. Also, you want to acknowledge any family members who passed on who were really close to your family. We’re really close to the bride, acknowledged their spirits in the room and you don’t even have to be a spiritual or religious person to do it. But really as a respect thing, a lot of people in the crowd will appreciate that. And there are ways to do it without getting, I would say too sappy or too down the rabbit hole. Yeah. Um, a lot of times, you know, we, this past year has been a real challenge because a lot of people who have gotten married, particularly in 2021 have lost people to COVID we’re going to be at that way. And we’ve had to find a way to work that in without bringing the mood of the room down, that’s a balance for folks.
Geoff 00:17:17 You have to give the acknowledgement, but you don’t want to turn this into a funeral. You don’t wanna turn this into a eulogy, right? So how do you pivot right back to a joke immediately? So that’s the real challenge. So for the others, you want to be respectful. You want to acknowledge, and then after you given the acknowledgements, then you want to, oh, I can’t believe I’m using this word pivot, pivot to the bride. And then you want to talk about your daughter. You want to talk about that first time you held your daughter in your arms, what emotion was going through, what you felt in that moment. Because every father in the world who has a little girl will never, ever, ever forget the moment. He first held her in his arms ever. This is such a powerful moment. You want to talk about that?
Geoff 00:18:03 Because this is where you want to hook in the bride. Emotionally. I’d say for the best man, you want to create a show for the crowd, for the father of the bride. You want to create the memory for your daughter. That’s the most important thing you talk about that moment. She’ll never forget it. So now you start talking about that, then you talk about growing up, what it meant to you, watching her grow up, how you, how you’ve seen her grow into the young lady that she is today. That’s a huge component of it. Then you want to talk about this person. That’s sitting next to her. When did you meet them? When did you first hear about them? This is where a lot of humor gets into it. What were your first thoughts about them? What was the first meeting like and all of that good stuff, you know, as a father, I’m very protective, but, and then you kind of get into that and you could have some bait and switch jokes and then you follow the best man template. Let’s see you talk about her and you talk about push marrying. Did he talk about them together? And then once you talk about them together, then you give that fatherly advice, that fatherly wisdom, and then you send them off with a great toast.
Jake 00:19:01 Oh, very nice. I love it, man. You should do this for a living. You know, that
Geoff 00:19:07 I’d say the most, the most, the most incredible thing about it is that we’ve written for everybody from literally every walk of life. We’ve written for ice road truckers. We’ve written for CEOs of fortune 100 companies. Currently I’m working on a speech right now and we have a confidentiality agreement. So I can’t give the name, but either world champion wrestler, and everybody knows this guy and his daughter is getting married on Saturday because he wants to bring down the house that he’s, this guy’s a multimillionaire platinum superstar, but he’s just a dad who loves his little girl at the end of the day. Right. And that’s the coolest thing about what we do is we see all walks of life. What we realize our common humanity is brought out through these weddings
Jake 00:19:48 And it’s all. Nah, I love it. But man, if you don’t mind, I mean, you, you brought up a great point about, and the father of the bride speech, like kind of having the, um, you know, acknowledging people that are no longer with us, that kind of thing, but not doing it in a way where it doesn’t turn into feeling more like a eulogy or a funeral. Like, do you have just an example to share like, um, it doesn’t have to be specific, but just like an example of like how you might do that, like how you can acknowledge something like that quickly and then sort of get right back to the speech. Like how would you, how quickly would you do that?
Geoff 00:20:16 Yeah, absolutely. So we, we write for a decent amount of fathers who are widowers. And so the bride’s mom is no longer with us. I mean, they have to acknowledge her. So we say something along the lines of, you know, I know I want to acknowledge everybody who came here to join basically to join us today for this special occasion. But I particularly want to acknowledge some very special guests were here with us in spirit. I know your mom is standing right next to me right now because I feel, or I see her. I sent her, I smell her perfume. I see smile. And I know that smile is looking down on her little girl right now. This is the moment she’s been waiting for her entire life. And even from the other side, I know she’s with us. I know she’s part of this occasion.
Geoff 00:20:57 She’s with us in every drink that we have today, every bite that we enjoy, every dance move that we cut on that floor, every hug we exchange, every kiss we give this day is every bit as much curse as it is ours. And I just want you to know what this means to her right now. And I know she’s smiling down on you and then you pivot to somebody else in the crowd. So while you’re giving that, that this is going to get some tears from the bride, when you put in the right words and I’m just kind of spit balling here, but we went a lot better than that.
Geoff 00:21:27 We actually have a chance to go through the words, but the, the Bible will feel that emotion, the father will feel that emotion. And then we will immediately break that attention and saying, I know she’s standing here right now and she’s telling me you better behave yourself tonight. Because if you embarrass our little girl, I am going to haunt you for the rest of your life. And then everybody’s laughing. The big exhale comes out. So now we’ve gotten the emotion up, but you know how it is when you get really emotional, but then you break a little joke. It’s like that huge exhale and comes out at least that. So you release all that with a joke and then you can smoothly move on the next segment.
Jake 00:22:01 Yeah. Okay. I love it, man. That’s great. So talk to me a little bit and let’s switch gears to the, um, maid of honor, matron of honor. Um, you know, is that the template that, that they’re going to follow, um, is that pretty much similar to the best man speech? Like, um, anything that’s specific to that speech that you always try to include or a direction that you try to go with it?
Geoff 00:22:23 I saw a lot of fun with, so the matron of honor speeches and maid of honor speeches are different animals and the best man speech for the most part. Um, the best man speech, there is one commonality is both sides bust the grooms, the chops to high heaven and back. I mean, that is the one commonality. So if you, if you have a wedding where you have a bride and groom, the maid of honor specifically is going to tell the bride how much he loves her. And it’s going to tell, basically warn the room. Like, look, here’s the deal. Don’t worry about her. You got to worry about me. And it’s, it’s really funny the way she does that. And there’s really creative ways to do it. There’s some really funny stories that she can share, but the key to it is, and this is different.
Geoff 00:23:02 There is a difference that we’ve noticed. This is that a lot of grooms are much more comfortable sharing. The really embarrassing stories than brides are. So you can tell a really embarrassing story about a groom at a bachelor party in Vegas, but you probably don’t want to share with the bride was up to at her bachelorette party. Okay. So grandma’s going to be there. There’s like, you know what I mean? There’s a lot of considerations here. And a lot of that, is there a double standard, a hundred percent, a hundred percent. There’s a double standard, but that’s just reality. So we, we don’t, we don’t make the cultural rules, we just play within them. And, and one thing you can never go wrong with those busts in the groom’s chops. Just have fun at that guy’s expense, then you’re going to bring down the house every time. Yeah.
Jake 00:23:44 Very nice. So do you have a, um, uh, you know, an example or just a line of like that maybe you shouldn’t cross as far as like telling a story on the bride, like, um, how do you advise, like how do you know?
Geoff 00:23:58 Yeah. Ex-boyfriends first and foremost do not mention, ex-boyfriends do that mentioned ex-husbands that’s a big thing. We do a lot of second weddings. Third weddings don’t mention the exes. I don’t even care if the X’s are in the room, you don’t mention the extra since you don’t do it. Some of the Xs are in the room, we’ve done some fun stories like that. Don’t mention it don’t mention anything sexual that, you know, that should go without saying, but a lot of people fit that common sense doesn’t register with them. So we have to kind of beat that out of them a little bit. Don’t mention times when they got too drunk and throw up all over a cop. Probably not a good thing to mention. We’ve seen that don’t I would say things that, because at the end of the day, we can say, you know, it’s a wedding of two people, but it’s the bride show.
Geoff 00:24:45 The Platt is the star of the show and everybody else is simply an extra, including the person, the bride is married. Now we happened to write for a lot of LBGTQ wedding. And so you have two brides, which is great. They’re both starts with the show. We have a lot of fun with that, but for weddings, where you have a bride and groom, the brightest star of the show, this dude is just some guy threw on a tox, showed up and said, I do him. You can have fun with the bride. This is her big day. Don’t mess with the big day. Do not embarrass her no matter what. Okay. Good advice. Yeah, I like that.
Jake 00:25:17 Um, all right. So maybe one more, I don’t know if you do many of these, but, um, I’m just curious, you know, uh, about like siblings, so like, um, you know, brother of the groom or whatever, um, sister of the bride or vice versa, that sort of thing. Like, are you writing, um, many of those speeches and again, kind of the same question, like, um, if you, if you are a sibling giving a speech at a wedding, um, you know, is it more of a, uh, of a funny speech? Is it more father of the bride, like, or somewhere in between? Like what would your advice be to a sibling that’s supposed to give a speech at a wedding?
Geoff 00:25:52 I would say it all depends on the relationship. The sibling asks. So we’ve written for some siblings where the younger sibling was getting married is essentially like a kid. And, you know, maybe they’re like 13 or 14 years older. And what they want to do is give that, that almost like, like motherly or fatherly advice, as opposed to the sibling advice. And then we have a lot we’ve written for where we’re writing for twins. You’re not giving any advice as a twin at all. Yeah. You’re, you’re just, you’re doing your thing. You know what I mean? And you’re, you’re having fun with them and you’re telling some stories. And so I would say it all depends on the relationship. Some are going to be more apparent and some are going to be more best man, maid of honor ish kind of peer level.
Jake 00:26:28 Okay. Very nice. That’s fantastic, man. So let’s talk about, uh, we’re going to wind down with just a few, um, general questions and then I’ll let you close this out here in a couple of minutes with just, uh, how people can get in touch with you. That sort of thing, if they’re just, you know, Hey Jeff, I’d rather have you do this.
Geoff 00:26:47 I still, you know,
Jake 00:26:49 Um, so what’s, um, I, you know, general, so we talked about, uh, other speeches, but like if somebody is just figuring out no matter what their role is like, um, are there one or two ways that you should always start a wedding speech, um, in general, like maybe always start with an icebreaker or is there like an alternative to that? You know what I’m saying? Like, is there a couple of different ways that you’d say like, look, this is always just kind of a can’t miss way to get started, no matter what your role is.
Geoff 00:27:18 Yeah. I would say don’t try to get too cute. I want to do that. And they try to, you know, make it a whole big Broadway production. And unless you are a proven, proven performer, and unless you are very comfortable on stage and you know, you can pull this off like a boss. I would just stick with the tried and true start with the joke, start with an icebreaker, like a funny one to you. And he grabbed the mic. And then you look at your speech and say, well, the owner of a 2012 black Nissan Altima. So you get, you’re going to have fun with it. And just anything to get a laugh, to warm them up because there’s a lot of neuropsychology around this, where if you can find a way to get somebody to laugh, they like you immediately. And they will listen to what you have to say next, because you lit up all the fun stuff in their brain. You know, all the neurotransmitters that are getting all that serotonin flowing and all the dopamine hits and they’re feeling good, they’re laughing and they associate laughing and feeling good with your face. That’s a good thing. So start off with a joke and you can’t go wrong.
Jake 00:28:14 Okay. Very good. Uh, and then you touched on some of this, uh, in the, uh, the bride category, but, um, anything else that you would put on the list of like stuff you should just never say in a wedding speech? Like, don’t go there kind of, oh boy.
Geoff 00:28:30 Yeah. So probably a long list. There’s a long list. There’s a long list. So I would say that the biggest thing, obviously you don’t Xs. We would say Xs and sex is the biggest thing up affects stay away from him. Stay away from, I would say to, for yourself, don’t drink too much before you start the speech. People have nerves. They had, you know, take down a few and like, oh, I got this NATO. I’m telling you one drink is great. We actually encourage one. Drink is great. You know, loosens it up. You’ll sit up a little bit, but do not have more than one drink. Cannot emphasize that enough afterwards to let it knock yourself out. But before the wedding do not have more than one drink before your speech, that’s a hard and hard, fast rule. Never, ever had more than one drink.
Geoff 00:29:09 I don’t care. How big a guy you are. I got him and tolerance. Don’t do it, man. Don’t do it telling me, um, I would also say with the bride, you really want to make sure that you’re creating eye contact with the bride too. You don’t want to say anything derogatory about the bride’s weight, the price, makeup, anything that could possibly can be construed as an insult and only insult the groom in the, in the lens of good natured ball busting. You don’t want to actually basically say the bride made a mistake by marrying this person. I’ve seen that it’s not, not good. And you don’t want to insult the family. You don’t, you don’t want to, you don’t want to be a Don Rickles insult comic. You want to have fun, but you don’t want to actually cut people down to size. That’s a big one. Don’t do that. Okay.
Jake 00:29:56 Very nice. Yeah. That would be like business. Like, do you attend a lot of weddings? Like, do you go like for first studying, like, have you seen just tons of weddings speeches? I would kind of imagine you’ve seen like some really good ones and some really just terrible speeches is that
Geoff 00:30:14 It’s funny. I, I attend not nearly as many, many weddings as I used to, but I get a lot of videos from the folks that we write for and you know, how it all unfolds in real time. And it’s, it’s taught me and my team perfect. Our craft by really seeing, you know, what jokes stick, what don’t with the crowd react to. And that we’ve been able to perfect it over time. But we have seen some nightmares out there, nightmare speeches. There was one father of the bride speech that went on for 46 minutes. Yeah. And you couldn’t get them off the stage because the guy paid for everything. Big shot guy. The guy was a, he was one of like the executive vice presidents of a major pharmaceutical firm in New Jersey. And you just, he thought very highly of himself. You could not get him off stage. And nobody, nobody had the courage to cut them off going. And it was torture, torture. I think intelligence agencies use the footage of his speech to force confessions. I’m pretty sure about that because I feel like that you can never go wrong with that. I would tell anybody anything they wanted to know if they strapped me down and forced me to watch that speech.
Jake 00:31:22 There’s maybe like a related question off that. Like, is there a good way, like you said, the guy that kind of paid for everything, it’s a little bit tough, but like, I don’t know if you’re a, I don’t know if that would fall into like the groom or the bride or whatever, but like, let’s just say a bass man or somebody kind of going a little bit off course. Like, is there a tactful way to like, get them to shut up? Like go take the mic. Like,
Geoff 00:31:43 That’s tough because someone’s got to literally get out of their seat and walk up there in the middle of doing it. The only person who has power over the father of the bride generally as a father of the bride spouse. Okay. So that was the one person in the world where if they come up and say, you’re done, okay, I guess I’m done. And then they walk off, but these guys, maybe captains of industry, but they don’t want to sleep on the couch so I can, I can pull the plug on it. And of course the bride too, because you know, daddy’s little girl, you know, she has like, I wrapped around a little finger. If she says we’re done here, then we’re done here. So it’s a team effort.
Jake 00:32:22 Maybe get the DJ to play some like music that they do for commercial breaks on, at the Oscars when they’re going through the long and
Geoff 00:32:30 We’re moving on here some days we’ll do that too. Some DJs will have these little, little tricks they do with lush and cut the mic off. And a DJ will say, oh, let’s give a big hand. And it was not. And everybody thought that once that was great. That was a wedding in Boston. DJ was an absolute boss. Pull that off.
Jake 00:32:48 That’s awesome. Yeah. That’s probably a good way to do it.
Geoff 00:32:51 It was, it was brilliant. God kept going on and on and on. He cut and VJ was looking around. He’s like, I have 15 minutes and we’re done just cutting it in it. And DJ made it seem like they had technical issues. So, sorry, folks. We’re having some of the issues with the mic, but Hey, let’s give a big hand for the father. What a great speech that was. And that was, that was a way of, yeah. I love that. That’s all great. We went out into the chicken dance right afterwards, which was awesome. I just fire up the music, the chicken brand, right. Just immediately forget.
Geoff 00:33:20 Absolutely. It was a great time. Yeah.
Jake 00:33:23 Uh, so last question maybe. Um, so I asked a minute ago about, you know, the best way to start a speech. And you talked about, you know, that basically you can’t go wrong with getting everybody laughing. Everybody’s feeling good and you know, just a quick joke, whatever, whatever you got just to get everybody feeling good, ready for the speech. Um, kind of the opposite of that. Is there some advice you give people, no matter what speech you’re getting, like can’t fail ways to end a speech at
Geoff 00:33:48 A wedding. Yeah. You want to, you want to end on a great show. So what you want to do is get everybody to raise their classes and then you finish your toast. All right. Now, can everybody please join me and raise your glasses and a toast of the happy couples. Everyone raises their glasses. And then you kind of, you kind of pivot to the bride and groom one toast you could. And this is where it’s good to use like a cultural toast. So you have like a great, there’s a lot of great Irish toast. There’s a lot of great Jewish toast, celebrity, Italian toast, Chinese toast, Nigerian toast, everything under the sun. I would find a really good one from the culture of the people getting married. Or if you can, if there’s two cultures or more combine them. But if you want to just kind of use a generic one, what do we like a lot is maybe years be many made the troubles, be few made a laughter, always flow. I mean, the love always grow between the two of you. Cheers. And then everyone goes to chairs and like, if you put the mic down and then the applause, and then you walk over and then you give the big hugs and everything, and then, you know, you take a bout of the crowd and then the crowd gets up and it’s a whole thing. And then you’re the star of the show that night you deliver a wedding speech. You are going to be a star
Jake 00:34:50 That way. Yeah. That’s awesome, man. No, man.
Geoff 00:34:55 Yeah. Then out there, I’m going to keep this as PG as I can, but I’m going to tell you, I’ve never had a best man who, a single best man who’s delivered a great speech who didn’t have great wedding stories associated with that afterwards. So I’m just telling you there’s, there’s something powerful about it. I had a tux with a mic who just commands a room. It’s um, yeah, it’s the thing.
Jake 00:35:18 One of the parts of the job, huh?
Geoff 00:35:21 Job. We had one best man who was in a pilot outfit when you do the whole thing. And he said, yeah, you got, you got eight numbers from that after his speech and needed just to everyone was coming up there. And he was the star that he was a star and he was great. So. Wow. That’s awesome, man.
Jake 00:35:35 Well, Jeff, this has been fantastic. Why don’t you, um, close us out a little bit with, um, just telling people, you know, if somebody is listening to this show here and they’re probably listening because they’re freaking out about a wedding speech, they’ve got to give, um, talk a little bit about your service and just, uh, how people can get in touch with you. Um, how far out you need to know and just whatever you want to share on just how the process works and all that, uh, feel free to, to wrap us up with that. So people want your help. They know how to do it.
Geoff 00:36:03 Absolutely. So the first thing I would say is the minute you’re told that you’re giving a speech is the minute you need to start preparing a lot of people wait to the last minute, like anything else in life, you wait till the last minute, it’s not going to be as good. So immediately start preparing if you need help with your speech. Best thing I’d recommend is check out our website, winning wit.com that is winning wit wit.com. You can see all the different kinds of services that we offer. All the different packages that we offer. You can reach me directly. Our numbers right there on the site. My email address is right there on the site. So feel free to reach out. Even if you just want to pick our brain, you’re not going to hire us to help you out, but you just want some tips. We’re happy to help you out with that too. We’ve got you covered.
Jake 00:36:43 Nice. Very cool. What’s like the, uh, for you guys, what’s your, what’s your typical like turnaround time? Like how late is too late? Somebody like, listen to this and like, Hey, I got a speech.
Geoff 00:36:52 Yeah. I would say probably give us at least a couple of days. So we have a lot of, uh, as we call it panic buys or beep it’s letting Saturday like, oh my God. So we can help you with that. We can turn that around for you, but just know that we’re not going to be able to do the rounds of editing that we normally do. If you come to us earlier, we can do a couple of rounds of editing to make sure you really, really love the final product. We’ll write you something good. If you come to us a couple of days out, you come to us a few weeks out or a few months out, we’re going to write you something from out.
Jake 00:37:24 Okay. Awesome.
Jake 00:37:26 Thanks a lot, man. For being on the show, I enjoyed the conversation. Hopefully people got a lot of value from it, man. So best of luck to you. And, uh, thanks for being with me today. Appreciate it, Jake.