The brain is a wonderful thing. It never stops functioning from the time you’re born until the moment you stand up to make a speech.
Weddings are one of those occasions when speeches are expected of people who don’t usually make speeches. Not surprisingly they can be the source of some nervousness for the inexperienced – not to mention the feelings of the guests on whom the speeches are inflicted!
The wedding speeches form a major part of the wedding reception and, if well done, can make it a memorable event. So they are really worth putting some effort into.
Make sure that everyone you expect to make a speech at your wedding is invited to do so well in advance. And then subtly check up on them to ensure they intend preparing their speech.
The usual speech makers at a wedding are:
- The Best Man
- The Father of the Bride
- The Groom
and it is becoming increasingly popular for the Bride to say a few words too.
If you have been asked to make a wedding speech here are a few pointers:
1. Don’t stress. Remember the audience is on your side – they want you to succeed. They want to be entertained and enjoy themselves so they really want you to do well. Once you know the audience is your friend and not your enemy you can feel more relaxed around them. And if you do mess up you can easily make a joke of it and move on. As a person who has delivered hundreds of talks I would not go with the old advice to “imagine your audience naked” – it’s not always a pretty sight and would probably distract you!
2. Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. There is nothing as good to calm the nerves and to make sure you deliver a speech to the best of your ability than knowing you know what you are going to say. So take some time out a few days in advance to script the speech, find good material (that’s what they invented Google for), put it together and become familiar with it. Don’t try to away with jotting down a few ideas and few moments before hand, or worse still thinking you can wing it, and expect to deliver a speech fitting for the occasion.
3. Use humour. A wedding is a fun occasion, not a meeting of the shareholders. So make the speech suit the happiness of the day. If you are not a natural humorist, then find an appropriate joke and give it a contextual twist.
4. Be brief. A wedding speech should not be more than five minutes long – so follow the speaker’s advice to “stand up, speak up, shut up”. Good preparation will prevent you from meandering on aimlessly and keep the speech tight. Generally a speech is to make a few appropriate remarks, thank and compliment appropriate people, wish the couple well and propose a toast.
If you are want the speeches at your wedding to be a highlight of the occasion rather than an embarrassment, it is worthwhile investing time and, if need be, some money in them. After all, you have invested so much in making the day memorable it is worth investing to make sure that the speeches which form the backbone of the reception match the rest of your efforts.
If you are looking for help with any possible speech to be delivered at your wedding I would recommend you have a look at these resources.
Here’s to your success with wonderful wedding speeches!