Amongst all of the exciting and stressful planning for the big day, some people may find that the thing that fills them with the most dread is the speeches, especially if you’re not used to public speaking and find it utterly terrifying.
Have no fear! Woodflowers.com has the five best tsteps to make your wedding speech smooth and entertaining without causing you too much anxiety.
The basic foundations of what makes a good speech can be applied to any type of wedding speech, whether you’re the groom, best man, bride, maid of honor or father of the bride, or whether you’re speaking at the ceremony, fancy dinner reception, or during the disco later on in the night.
Everyone wants to do themselves proud by ensuring their big moment is a hit with the crowd. No matter what, you will get through it alive, and you will make at least one person entertained. Who knows, you might even be the talk of the party!
The “theme” of the speech depends on how you are related to the wedding, and at what stage in the wedding you are making the speech. The theme will also depend on what kind of reaction you want from the audience, or what mood you would like to set the event in.
For example, if you’re the best man, it’s likely you will want to include a lot of jokes and funny stories to embarrass the groom and make people laugh. Whereas, if you’re the groom you probably want to create a warmer tone with your speech.
Although, the theme of the speech doesn’t have to be dependant on your role in the wedding. If you are the parents of the bride, you may feel a responsibility to make your speech heart-felt and emotional to cause a big teary reaction from the crowd, but don’t put pressure on yourself. If you find emotional speeches too hard or that it’s just not really you, you can make the speech your own and take it in a different direction.
On the other hand, just because you’re the best man, doesn’t mean you’re speech has to be anything massively hilarious if you don’t feel comfortable. An interesting or nostalgic speech is just as well received as a comedic one.
What you need to ask yourself is; how do I want people to feel after listening to my speech? Is it happy, grateful, emotional, amused, sad, nostalgic, excited? Do you want to make people cry, or laugh? When in doubt, let the bride and groom decide what kind of atmosphere they would prefer.
The things you do need to keep in mind when settling on a general theme for your speech is who you are speaking to and whether your words are appropriate for the occasion. If you want to talk rude stories and innuendos, you might want to make sure there are no small children at the event.
In general, a speech performed at the ceremony tends to be more emotional and romantic, because the ceremony is symbolic of the beautiful and intricate union of two people, whereas speeches at the reception dinner usually include anecdotes, childhood stories and accomplishments. However, don’t squeeze in stories if you don’t feel they fit with the speech because it will feel forced.
Theme is everything because it will set the topic points and foundations for your speech, and therefore it will make it easier for you to plan what you’re going to say.
A large portion of wedding speeches are dedicated to thanking family members and friends, particularly close parents, siblings, bridesmaids and anyone who has helped out significantly with the planning, funding or creative aspects of the wedding.
In some cases, this can seem quite tedious, especially when you feel you have to raise a toast after mentioning each person, but this part of the event is very important and it’s a way to really show your appreciation for the most prominent people in your life, whether you’re thanking the guests or the bride and groom.
If you’re the bride or groom, the best way to do this is by making a list of everyone who really made a difference to your life, your relationship or your wedding. Maybe your big brother taught you everything you know. Maybe your best friend introduced you to your partner. Maybe your mum helped out with key design and arranging decisions on the big day which made everything that little bit less stressful.
There can be a lot of people who touch your heart throughout your life and this is the moment to thank them with your own words. Additionally, if you’re not normally an emotional person, you can use the event as an excuse to say all the thank yous and words of gratitude that you have never had the chance to say before.
The mistake most people make is that they feel it is their responsibility or expectation to mention everyone, when in reality only thanking a handful of people can make the speech more concise, and it makes the people you are praising feel more special.
If you’re friends or family of the betrothed couple, your speech is a great way to show your pride and admiration of the bride and groom, as well as the union as a whole. Even though it is the bride and groom’s special day and they should rightly get all the loving attention, a lot of people forget to also think about how the event is a union of two families, potentially even two communities, and this can easily be touched upon in your speech to make everyone feel welcome and included in the celebrations. After all, without the guests, it wouldn’t be a wedding.
Who doesn’t love a good bit of nostalgia?
If you want to include a bit of nostalgia in your speech, which always creates a positive response from a crowd, a good place to start is with how the bride and groom met. This is always interesting for those who might not know how the relationship all came together and it’s a nice way for the married couple to reminisce over how far they’ve come.
First impression stories are also a lot of fun, especially if they are insanely different to how things turned out. Funny childhood stories, even those ones everyone has heard before, and anecdotes about the couple’s journey and history growing in the relationship, all give the guests a bigger insight into the life of the bride and groom. Reflecting on the past allows you to segway into looking towards the future and it brings everyone closer together.
Some of the most viral wedding speeches out there are ones sung, danced or rapped. We’re not saying you have to do those things to make a good impression, but if you’re struggling to really strand out and you’re not afraid to do something a little more quirky and fun, thinking outside of the box might just pay off.
Visual or audio aids should also not go a miss. It’s not cheating if you use props, photographs or video clips to thicken your speech, and it will definitely keep everyone focused if you’re worried about people getting bored.
Using these physical props can also help draw attention away from yourself, which can be helpful if you are extremely nervous about talking in public or feel self-conscious. Additionally, a song or a video clip can prevent you from getting too shaky or emotional if you feel you are likely to lose your composure.
It’s such a stereotype that you shouldn’t make your speech too long but it’s so true. One of the most common reasons why wedding speeches are not well-received is the length. The 10-15 minutes sweet spot is sweet for a reason because, after this point people usually begin to get agitated, tired or hungry, and it’s worse if there are children at the wedding.
A wedding itself is a highly-focused event and a lot of people feel drained from talking or smiling all day, particularly the bride and groom who probably feel slightly deflated after the months of planning and organising.
The dinner speeches are normally the time people want to relax completely and, unless you are an expert at entertaining a crowd, the communal attention span for focusing on just one person doesn’t usually last longer than 20 minutes.
The great thing about keeping your speech short is that you don’t have to write too much if you’re not a confident writer and you can cut lines you feel you’re only including out of politeness or expectation. Remember; only mention the people or stories that really mean something to you, who really are worth the time and words.
If you’re speech is full of anecdotes, people usually respond best if you include three stories only. Three is the magic number and people remember things more prominently and for longer when set out into three parts.
Make sure you write several drafts of your speech, each time cutting out parts which you think are dull or unnecessary. It will definitely pay off! A short and sweet speech will keep the crowd entertained and focused.
We wish you all the best of luck on your wedding speech! Make sure you speak loud and clear, don’t stress about it too much and, most importantly, have fun!
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