Speeches are imperative at weddings. Whether you are a guest of honor, father of the bride, best man or bridesmaid, its a ceremonial must to make a toast for the newlyweds.
The purpose of wedding speeches is to wish the married couple good luck for their future together. But delivering a toast for hundreds of wedding guests can be nerve racking. Public speaking is a common fear and the pressure to deliver a hilarious or emotionally heart-wrenching successful speech is high. Really high.
To help ease your nerves and hit all the right notes, here are seven tips for making a memorable wedding speech – for all the right reasons.
PREPARATION IS KEY
Preparing your speech, writing and practicing it ahead of time, is a must. Especially if you get nervous, practicing and knowing your lines will help you to feel more confident.
Write flash cards with notes or a word by word script to help you deliver a coherent speech and follow your original line of thought if you get lost.
STICK TO A SET TIME LIMIT
A good toast entails balancing a suitable amount of jokes with more personal and sentimental details, while engaging the audience and keeping them interested.
But time is also a crucial factor to keep in mind. No one wants to hear someone talk for more than ten minutes, much less over an hour long. A wedding is still a party and people want to have fun and celebrate, not sit in their chairs listening to a rambling speech.
A 5-8 minute length is sufficient to convey any message and keep the momentum of the day going.
INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND THANK THE GUESTS
Start your speech by introducing yourself and describing your relationship to the bride or groom. Weddings have hundreds of guests, so some attendees may not know who you are.
Thank everyone who played a part in the ceremony, the bride and groom’s parents particularly. You should also comment on how lovely the bride looks, how lucky the groom is and how proud the parents must be, for example.
ADD HUMOUR TO YOUR SPEECH
Taking into consideration your audience, tell some funny details or stories about the bride, groom or couple. How they first met, humorous characteristics about their personalities or brief references to their childhood.
Bear in mind, a wedding reception is not the place for inappropriate jokes or foul language. Keep the humour suitable for all guests and do not offend the bride or groom with embarrassing or crude material.
FOLLOW A CLEAR STRUCTURE
Giving a speech is almost like telling a story. It should have a beginning, middle and end. Each line should be connected to the previous one to give your speech a good flow. This will also keep the guests focused on what you are saying, following your thought process.
Try not to copy or use examples of wedding speeches found online. Even though they are great for inspiration, using your own material is preferable. It is always better to speak from the heart and express yourself in your own words.
If you have good songwriting skills, replace the lyrics to same famous tunes and sing your wedding speech. It takes a bit more dedication and work but the result is extremely entertaining.
DON’T FORGET THE TOAST
Finish your speech by proposing a toast to the new couple and wishing them all the best for their journey together. Ask everyone to raise their glasses and drink to the groom and bride’s happiness.