Wedding Speeches-How to get it right!
Wedding Speeches – Dos and Don’ts
So, the time has come in your life when you need to make a wedding speech. You are not alone if the thought has you running for the hills;
surveys commonly reveal that public speaking ranks higher than death (and spiders!) on lists of what people fear most. It needn’t be an ordeal – with a bit of planning and a positive mindset, you can make a memory to treasure. I have filmed a lot of Wedding speeches, some amazing, some had me in tears and some were just awkward! so here’s some advice from the ears and eye’s of experience. You can’t beat singing your speech or having Patsy stone turn up to take the floor!
1. Plan and draft your speech in advance – ‘winging it’ on the day is inadvisable and will result only in recurring anxiety dreams for the rest of your life. You also need time to practice delivering your speech and get a second opinion – ask a friend to record you and you can critique your performance together.
2. It sounds obvious but make sure your speech has a clear and cohesive structure with a beginning, a middle bit or ‘body’ and an ending. Without this your speech will come over as diffuse and disconnected and people will lose interest.
3. Think about your audience. ‘In’ jokes may go down a treat at a small and intimate do made up mostly of old friends, but would alienate and bore most people at a bigger wedding. Share anecdotes only if the story is genuinely side splitting, or highlights a foible or personality trait of bride or groom’s that people will recognise and smile about.
4. Be sincere. You cannot speak about people you love in a meaningful way without sharing a part of yourself; if you are not comfortable with this, dig deep and open up. You will forge a stronger connection with your audience and your speech will be authentic and original – after all, only you can do you.
5. Most importantly try to relax and enjoy the experience. You can’t build a rapport with your audience if you are squirming inside, and your discomfort will make people uneasy. Use the adrenaline to your advantage – instead of getting nervous, get excited! And when it’s all over, you’ll be on a massive high just when the party’s starting – result!!
1. Speak too quickly. It’s tempting to gallop through your speech so you can let your hair down, but your audience will tune out if they can’t take in what you’re saying. Maintain eye contact with your listeners – you will naturally slow down as you register their responses. Don’t eyeball the same person all the way through, though. Scary stalker is not a good look for key wedding party members, so mix it up a bit.
2. Embarrass or humiliate any members of the wedding party. You may be tickled by the groom’s penchant for kinky role play and costumery, but his grandma probably won’t be. Make sure that any laughs you get are not at the expense of anyone who does not share, and delight in, the joke.
3. Don’t take the notion of Dutch courage too far. Allow yourself a little snifter to take the edge off your nerves only if you are sure you can stop at one. Nerves make people drink faster and the outcome of this could be unthinkable, and messy. Weddings are expensive enough without being saddled with a dry cleaning bill.
4. Be predictable, use clichés or lift anecdotes directly from the internet.
We’ve all sat through speeches cringing and valiantly trying to muster a chuckle as some poor soul dies on his derriere at the top table, trotting out naff gags and spurious stories we’ve all heard before. And, while we’re on this subject….
5. Don’t get hung up on being hilarious. Granted, there is a popular idea that wedding speeches should be entertaining, but most wedding veterans’ expectations will be low. Remember, you are speaking at a wedding, not performing at the Edinburgh fringe. You do not have to be a comedian, even if you are a comedian. As Lenny Henry once said, ‘no-one expects welders to weld all the time’.