Whether you have spoken publicly before or not this will be a daunting task because a wedding speech is soooo personal.
We have seen professional comedians and paid public speakers find their task of speaking at their daughters, sisters or best friends wedding a lot harder than if they were at work.
So, NUMBER 1 don’t worry that you are nervous! If you panic about being nervous your nerves will get worse and overtake you. Let go of the worries engulfing you about what you will sound like, how you will look to others and what to write and just think that everyone there is…
A. on your side and
B. listening to what you are saying and not judging you on how you look or sound.
You will be your biggest judge so give yourself a break and “Let it Go!” You might think we are mad saying to do your best and enjoy it but really THIS IS WHAT WE ARE SAYING! The more you enjoy yourself the more your audience will enjoy your speech, we all love to be around a happy, relaxed and confident person so even if you are faking it, be that person for the few minutes you have been asked to and give your talk with pride and confidence. Believe in yourself!
That brings us nicely to NUMBER 2 – A few minutes! As a venue we recommend speeches should be no longer than 10 minutes. The shorter the better if you can! Why? Because there are often three or maybe four people speaking so that takes the speech window to 30-40 minutes, now imagine you all run over and it turns into an hour or even two hours of speeches inside a wedding day! Yes we have seen speeches take two hours plus and the guests are bored and want to get on with the party, they have stopped listening and are sick of the person with the microphone loving the sound of his or her voice! So, don’t overstay your welcome!
How to keep it short and sweet! There is only one way to know you are going to be under 10 minutes and that is PRACTICE! Yes give yourself time to write your speech, get everything put in that you are wanting to say before you tweak it into the ten minute time slot and then practice until hopefully you’re not even reading it anymore but just using props or hints to keep you on track. Practice in front of people that won’t be at the wedding and ask for their support too. That way you won’t lose your way or go over the important time allowed.
When to have your speeches? We always recommend just as your guests have sat down because you have their attention, you have them altogether at the same time, hopefully they have had some canapes and aren’t therefore too hungry and anyone making those speeches get them out of the way before drinking too much. After the meal you will find people disappearing for a cigarette break or the toilet or following restless children around. The time to get everyone’s attention is straight away and get them out of the way.
Now the speeches are set for before the meal so there is no excuse! STAY SOBER! Well maybe not 100% sober but don’t be slurring your words! You will thank yourself when it comes to your turn to stand up if you haven’t had too much alcohol! A bit doesn’t hurt to calm your nerves but too much and your feelings might get in the way or something you think of might pop into your well-oiled speech and you might just blurt out something you wish you hadn’t. Plus you will enjoy it so much more if you’re not struggling with the alcohol in your system
OK Let’s get down to the content of your speech….Whether you are the bride, groom, bridesmaids, best man or a parent please remember you are speaking for the guests and couple NOT FOR YOURSELF. Please fill your speech with stories everyone in the room wants to hear from the grandparents to children! So nothing rude, indecent or embarrassing! If you try and embarrass the bride or groom thinking you are being funny you will be the one with a red face and no laughs at the end of the day. We have seen it at Thief Hall and it doesn’t go well, some stag and hen stories should stay on the stag and hen do’s. This is a wedding and not blue comedy club. So, you know what not to say… What should you be saying…. Everyone loves a laugh but make it universal, make something funny without it being because of a downfall, props always come in handy and can be great for reminding you what to say without reading your speech. Gifts of thanks go well too but make sure they are in place and ready before you start. And if you are still stuck Google has a world of knowledge when it comes to Best Man speeches and Father of the bride clichés but be aware 99% of the people in the room will of heard them before and give a knowing groan rather than a laugh so make sure to add your slants into them and create your own unique twists just using Google as your guide not paste and copy.
Doing it together, if you are worried and can’t get over the nerves ask someone to do the speech with you, we have had plenty of groups and couples giving their speech together for support or just because they want to and it is really effective so feel free to rope someone into it with you but remember to practice and still keep it within 10 minutes!
Do you have a Master of Ceremony? Most venues provide you with a host but you might want to use your own or chat about what they are going to say….At Thief Hall our wedding coordinator is your Master of Ceremony and will announce you into the room and support you with your speeches. Sometimes a member of the bridal party will do this and we support them with timings and help them with what to say….Do you want your venue to do this or have you a member of your party in mind for the job?
Toasts! The whole point of a speech is to toast the couple and congratulate them so remember the toasts! We are seeing more and more weddings either ditching the prosecco toast drinks altogether because guests use the drinks they have or popping the bottle on the table to pour your own meaning those who aren’t drinking, or happier with a beer or gin don’t waste the pre poured toast drink wasting money and alcohol.
And finally here is the order of your speeches on the day… Father of the bride first and toasts to his daughter and the happy couple, Groom goes next and thanks the bridesmaids, parents and toasts to his new wife and finally the Best Man who toasts the bridesmaids and the happy couple to finish. However now days traditions are being created by families and you should do exactly as you please!