Being the father of twin girls and writing two wedding speeches in one year is no small task. Should you find yourself in this, or a similar situation, I offer here what little advice I possess.
Don’t look at the first wedding speech. Period. Write as if you’ve never written such a speech before. You can repeat only about 5%. You can get away with repeating maybe the first couple of sentences – but no more.
This is the most personal speaking you’ll ever do. Treat it as such. Be specific with the content. Do not use grand, over-reaching, language. Make sure the speech sounds like you. (Minus the cuss words and seventh-grade humor.)
Don’t poke fun at anyone during the speech. What is funny to you while your preparing your remarks at the coffee shop has a high probability of not being funny at the reception with a microphone in front of your face.
That said, light humor is good. Sentimentality is not. Heartfelt, immediate emotion is good, heartwarming even, but don’t start crying during the speech. Crying while speaking publically is awkward for everyone. Everyone. Avoid it if at all possible.
Do not let the speech, at any point, suggest you raised your daughter by yourself – not unless of course you did. To leave your wife (or your daughter’s mother) off the page is a monumental mistake.
Make sure the speech has a good ending. It is important that you not simply sputter out and quit. Put a good, tight button on the final two sentences. Make sure they stick like a javelin in damp turf.
Unless your speech is very, very short or very, very simple, take notes up with you. This is no time to be a hero with memorized remarks. This is a high-stakes situation. Screwing the speech up because you decided it would be cool to appear spontaneous will cause much unnecessary regret. You’ve got enough regret. Don’t use this opportunity to manufacture more.
That’s what I have. Buck up there, fella. You’ll get through it.