This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.
So, you’ve been invited to speak at a wedding!
Well done! The Bride and Groom obviously think highly of you! They’ve asked you to become a special part of one of the best days of their life.
Although it may feel like a daunting task we’ve put together some guidelines that should make the job easier. We know that you will want your words to be long remembered by the happy couple and all of the guests.
10 Great Tips For A Good Wedding Speech
10. Discuss your speech with the Bride & Groom.
This may sound fairly obvious, but it is amazing how often it is not done. Ask the Bride and Groom what they ‘do and don’t’ want you to cover in your speech.
If the bride and groom can’t give you much guidance you can always check with the MC. The MC generally knows who will be speaking and should also have a good idea of what each speaker will be covering. You should also find out approximately for how long you are expected to.
9. Introduce yourself.
Start by introducing yourself and outline what you are speaking about. Remember that there are probably a lot of people at the wedding who will not know you.
8. Humour & Balance.
It is always helpful if you can include some humour in your speech. Try not to make it embarrassing though.
You will generally speak about both the bride & the groom in your speech. Try to allocate about the same amount of time for each.
Speeches will usually conclude with a toast. A toast often starts with “so now can I ask you all to charge your glasses (wait for people to get their glasses) and drink a toast with me to ……..”
6. Know your audience.
It can be very easy to offend or embarrass people if you don’t take the time to understand who is attending the wedding. A private story or joke may seem harmless to you but it may be offensive for others at the wedding. The last thing you want to do is leave people feeling uncomfortable. If you are not sure about what you are planning to say- leave it out.
5.· Practise your speech until you feel comfortable.
It doesn’t matter if you are experienced at public speaking or not – one key to giving a good speech is to practice it over and over again. Reading it aloud also helps. Read it both in front of a mirror and to an ‘audience’ (but not the bride and groom!).
4. Speak Loudly, Clearly and Slowly.
Speak clearly and at a steady pace to ensure everyone can hear you – no matter where they are sitting.
One of the common mistakes that people make is to speak too quickly because they are nervous. This will make it more difficult for people to understand you. Because people can’t understand you, they won’t be able to respond to what you say. Getting little response makes many speakers go go even faster to get through their speech as quickly as they can!
Speak slower and louder than you would normally speak and allow for pauses as you speak.
3. Reading your speech is not a sin!
If you don’t feel comfortable speaking without notes, it is more than acceptable to use them.
Some people find that they write their speech word for word at first. They then practice it over and over again so they are comfortable with it. They then find that they can give their speech simply referring to dot points in their notes. The advantage? If you are able to do this, is that you can maintain eye contact with your audience.
2. Don’t drink too much.
One way people try to ease their nerves is to have a few drinks. This can be dangerous! Keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum before your speech. You want your speech to be memorable but not because you were drunk when you gave it.
There will be plenty of time after the speech to unwind and enjoy yourself.
1. They are on your side!
Everyone at the wedding is there for a good time- they are ‘on your side’. 99% of them will openly admit that giving a speech is one of their main phobias. They understand where you are coming from and want you to do well!
If you follow these simple suggestions you will enjoy delivering your speech & it will be well received.
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Bio: Craig Dougherty is the CEO of ‘My Ideal Wedding’ a recently launched online Wedding Directory.
Craig loves being able to help engaged couples take the stress out of what is normally a very stressful process. The FREE tools available include ‘To Do List, Budget Planner, Guest List & Event Planner and even a personal wedding website to send family & friends to!
For “A fun way to plan your special day”, see www.myidealwedding.com.au.