Handling props and equipment

Written by    Last updated: June 6, 2006

If you’re looking to spice up your wedding speech, here’s some suggestions for props, and how to make the most of them…

By using props, music, slides or even film in your speech, you will underline everything you say with big impact. People won’t be expecting it and will appreciate the extra effort. Your speech will be funnier, punchier and all the more memorable for it. Here’s how:

Breaking the ice

Props are a great way to ease the tension everyone feels at the start of a speech. If you’re known to be quite an emotional person ‐ or hard as nails start your speech by throwing out packets of tissues to everyone.

Slide show

Slides are easy to set up and can be put to great effect. Pick five to ten photos and tell a story, short and sharp, as the pictures flick past. It’s original and eye‐opening, will add power to whatever you say and takes the pressure off you a little too (all eyes will be on the images).

Musical youth

Make a montage of 20‐30 photographs, covering your subject’s childhood, adolescence, holidays etc. Add a poignant piece (or pieces) of music to go with them. The audience will be totally absorbed.

Cinema paradiso

OK, it’s a hassle, but if you’ve got a film projector and you can arrange to have it set up in advance so you can show between one to five minutes of footage (again with music or commentary), it’s a guaranteed winner.

Similarly, you could use old recordings or home videos. You’ll need a large TV, but the rewards are huge, and you don’t need to be Spielberg to cut together a few minutes of your favourite bits, each linked to a gag or theme in your speech.

Incriminating evidence

Your best mate’s old Adam Ant jacket, a revolting pair of flares ‐ use anything incriminating from the past to add visual spice to your stories.

Ask siblings and old friends for suggestions too ‐ they’ll be delighted to help. Photos, enlarged and backed on card, are great fun too.

Make sure you prepare thoroughly

Once you’ve got the ideas for your little performance together, you need to make sure that you’re suitably prepared. The greater care you put into getting ready, the less nervous you’ll be and the greater your chances of a smooth performance, so always:

Visit the venue

Go on a recce to the hall/pub/hotel before the big day. Find out how much space you’ll have, what props or facilities you can use (plug points, space for film screen, PA system etc). Think about what would work in that room. Showing a film may be a no‐no in a small room above a pub, for example, but you may discover it’s got a fab sound system there. Ask questions and judge for yourself.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Whatever you’re going to do, set it up at the venue in advance, and run through everything. If you use slides, make sure you can easily change the pictures from where you’re standing, or nominate a friend to help. A tape player/TV will need a remote or a sound‐man/woman with clear instructions and cues.

Mic or no mic?

It may not be common at weddings, but there is no denying a microphone adds instant power and authority to your voice. Everyone can hear you clearly, you won’t have to shout yourself hoarse so that Aunt Nelly can hear at the back and you’ll appear professional and well prepared. If you can borrow or hire one, make sure it’s got a good PA.

Microphone technique

Mics are worth practising with if you’re not used to them. When you stand up, calmly pick it up and hold it still, just below your chin. Make sure it’s comfortable, that it doesn’t obscure too much of your face and, most importantly, that you can be clearly heard. Don’t make the all‐too‐common mistake of jamming the mic under your nose, not unless you particularly want to sound like a platform announcer!

And finally, remember these top speech tips:

  • Keep it personal, short and sweet
  • Keep it fun and light‐hearted
  • Be prepared to laugh when things go wrong ‐ you’ll be just as entertaining

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