Classic groom speech structures

Why is your framework so important? Well, a properly structured groom speech will signal to the guests you’re a driver in control of his vehicle. They’ll know they’re in safe hands. You’ll therefore get more engagement. And more laughs. It will also help you decide what to include and what to leave out. So, let’s take a look at some of the key elements. We’ll then examine the options for their best order.

Groom speech opening section

Opening lines

Whichever groom speech structure you use, you’ll want to start with an icebreaker then welcomes. You could also make your very first line a quick thank you to the Father of the Bride (if he’s speaking first). It could be a simple: “Thank you for those kind words.” Or, if your relationship permits it, something cheekier. This could relate to the length of his speech, what he might have said about you, or his regret that he’s paid for a free bar.

Welcomes and icebreakers

After you’ve welcomed everyone, you’ll want to signal the speech will not only be sincere but fun. It’s time for an icebreaker. Potential angles include the interesting places people have travelled from, how nervous you are, how you’re missing a football game for this, how people have turned up because they couldn’t believe the bride would go through with it. For more inspiration, my groom speech tips page has examples.

TIP ALERT! If you use two icebreakers, you get two bites at the cherry!

The thank yous

Be careful here. Thank yous can breed like rabbits. You start with 2 and, before you know it, they’re popping up everywhere. You don’t want your speech to sound like you’re reciting a shopping list. So be strict with who you show your appreciation to.

Here are some people who might make the list:

  1. Those who’ve helped with the wedding planning and preparation
  2. Flower girl, page boy, and bridesmaids (if not toasted at the end)
  3. Best Man and ushers
  4. Parents-in-law
  5. Your parents

Once you’ve decided on the chosen ones, think about the order. Your parents raised and supported you, so they are probably the most important. You could show this by either starting with them or saving them till the end. The list above is a suggested ascending order of thanks.

TIP ALERT! Think of your speech as a bank balance: laughs add to it; long thank yous subtract from it. If you make each “thank you” light-hearted, you’re not going into debt.

Here comes the bride

What you have to say about your wife is the main event. Your big decision is whether to save it till the second half of the speech or go big early (after the welcomes and icebreaker). I’d recommend the bride section come after the “admin” i.e. all the thanks.

There’s so much to say and only a few minutes in which to say it. So what are the key building blocks?

How she looks

You could say how amazing she looks or let everyone know how you felt on turning to see her for the first time in her dress. Alternatively, you could save this praise till later and, instead, talk about how you met.

How you met

Whether it was in a bar, at work, on a dating app or through friends, it doesn’t matter. If there’s an interesting story to relate, great. If not, don’t worry. It’s how you felt when you first saw and spoke to her that really counts.

First date

The guests know the ending of the story – it all ends happily ever after – so it’s fun to flashback to the beginning. Were there spilled drinks, nerves or a late arrival? Did you feel an instant connection you’ve never felt before?

Your relationship

You will, naturally, want to praise your bride. However, this can sometimes become a bit of a list. So why not try to make it more of a story about how you came to get to know each other? So, think of quick examples of where she’s shown her kindness or creativity.

You can also include what she learned about you. Now’s probably not the time to talk about your bench press personal best, your IQ or your 25-metre breast stroke certificate. Some silly things you do would be good to include here. After all, the real story is that you’ve done incredibly well in becoming her husband.


No groom speech structure would be complete without some stories. If you’ve got any fun or important anecdotes, here’s a good place to include them. This could be holidays, evenings out, DIY disasters at home, starting a family or getting a dog who now rules the home. Don’t feel the need to include all milestones in your life or relationship. It’s a groom’s speech not a Wikipedia entry.

Your engagement

Everything prior to this naturally leads up to a proposal so you might wish to cover it. But it’s not a must-have. After all, you are now married so everyone knows you must have proposed. That said telling the story of how you tried to cover your tracks before getting known on one knee is always fun. It’s a mini-thriller.

Concluding lines

  1. You have now thanked everyone, made a joke at the expense of the Best Man, told the story of you and your bride and much else. You have certainly earned the right to go full-on heartfelt. So it’s time to unleash those amazings and wonderfuls and praise your bride to the skies.

Try to write one sentence that is the killer line. The reason she is so unique and special to you. This is the verbal equivalent of presenting her with a diamond ring. A line she can cherish for ever.

LESS IS MORE TIP: If you keep this heartfelt section to one paragraph (two max), it’ll have more of an effect.

The final toast

Traditionally this is to the bridesmaids. However, you might wish to do this earlier within the thanks section and end with a toast to your bride. There is no right or wrong way just the way you feel is right.

A twist on the classic groom speech structure

If you do the above sections in that order, you’ve followed the classic groom speech structure. It builds to the big moment of praising your bride. The big twist is moving the section about the bride to near the top. This can work well if you’ve only got a few thanks to make. You can round off your speech with them then move back to a few final lines about the bride before ending with a toast.

What you don't need to do

If you wish to toast absent friends, this is often done by the Father of the Bride, so check with him first. It’s also not obligatory to thank the venue or caterers (or DJ, etc.). The team will probably be busy preparing your food or drink anyhow. However, there is no hard-and-fast rule here. If they’ve been amazing, go for it.


Once you have your groom speech structure outlined, you can more easily balance the stories with the thanks, and the humour with the heartfelt. If you find yourself using a different structure to the above, don’t worry. As with all speech tips, it’s a guide not a set of instructions. As long as your structure is clear and you have balance between all the elements, it’s doing its job.

So, good luck. If you’d like some help from a professional speech writer – or more groom speech tips – take a look here.