One of the make or break events of any wedding celebration can be the wedding speeches. Sometimes they are eagerly anticipated and sometimes they are not!
With this in mind for those not normally used to speaking in public it is no surprise that many of those who have to make wedding speeches can get anxious or have nightmares about them.
So here are some top tips to help guide those who need to make a speech on the day.
- Prepare well in advance – ie not the night before after you have had a skin full! You have more chance in building a decent structure as well as giving yourself chance to practice.
- Remember who the audience is – so Best Men in particular try and keep it appropriate. You can always hint at something that may not have been appropriate, but never actually talk about it! A good way to do this a maybe make a list of things you are not going to talk about and read that out as part of the beginning of your speech!
- Avoid telling actual jokes – if you were a comedian being paid by an audience to see you that would be fine. However, this audience is not paying to see you through choice and so many may not share your particular sense of humour, so beware. Telling funny, relevant stories however, is different, use as many as you have time for.
- Avoid rambling stories – keep your anecdotes short and sweet. You will loose your audience if you ramble, especially if they had to be there to appreciate them.
- Be aware of your time! – Contrary to popular thinking, talking for a long time at a wedding is not really the done thing. 5 to 7 minutes should cover most of what you need to say. If you can read your speech through in your head without interruption in about 3 minutes that will still take about 6 to 10 minutes to deliver with interaction.
- Try and use your own material – trust me, it is really obvious if you have copied other wedding speeches off the web. If you are going to use a quote, you will gain more respect by saying who you got it from.
- Try and have a clear structure – as part of the services I offer, I supply my bridal parties with structural advice. This helps give their speeches a clear pattern to follow, making them easier to deliver and helps make sure nothing of importance is missed.
- Ladies, this is not just a male thing – there is no reason why the fairer sex should not have a go too, We are no longer in the 19th or early 20th Centuries!
- Best Men and Bridesmaids – when speaking about the bride and bridegroom your job is actually to “big” them up, while proving that they are human. Best Men in particular be careful not to character assassinate the bridegroom. Trust me when I say no-one will enjoy the speech and you will be the one feeling the most embarrassed as a result.
- Practice, practice, practice! – Sounds boring, but if you know what it is you want to say, it makes it a whole lot easier.
Planning the wedding speeches
When planning who is to speak, try and allocate a total length of time the speeches should go on for. Therefore, the more speakers, the less time each speaker should step up to the microphone for.
Additionally, I very often run a sweeps take on the total length of time the speeches are to take. This has a way of concentrating the audience’s attention on the speeches, more so than otherwise. It also has the benefit of raising a little money for charity and also for someone’s back pocket!
Finally, if you are a little nervous. By all means have a glass of something, but don’t get drunk, as it won’t help. Before you are to talk, drink a glass of water as it will help lubricate the throat and keep one nearby in case you need a sip. However, the most important thing you can remember is this: