Wedding speeches – they’re an essential and traditional ingredient to a wonderful wedding day. When wedding speeches are amazing humorous and heart-felt, their words and sentiments will be remembered long after the wedding is over.
Image courtesy of Floating Fish
For most of us however, just the thought of having to get up in front of a hundred people and actually make a speech that is interesting or funny or from the heart can be a fearful prospect! Writing and delivering a good speech can be very stressful, and if you try to ‘wing it’, it’s easy to mess it up. Here are a few pointers to make sure that your speech goes down a storm.
Practise your speech several times before the big day
You don’t have to memorise and recite it, or read it word for word. The most effective way to practise your speech before the big day is to write a list of cue words for each topic you want to cover, and then speak about them as if you were telling a friend.
Speak slower and louder than you think necessary
Being nervous can make you speed up or mumble, so taking your time and pausing after jokes will help everyone listening and help you to pace yourself.
If you don’t want to say a speech, just read it instead of using prompt cards
It’s fine to do this if it makes you feel more comfortable. If you’re very nervous, it can help you to remember that all you have to do is read. You know how to read.
Don’t drink too much before you give your speech – it really won’t help you
Have one drink for Dutch courage if you really feel you need it, but being in control will help you to deliver a better speech. We’ve all heard those stories of speeches gone wrong due to too much Dutch courage beforehand.
If you get a laugh from your guests, wait for it to finish before you carry on
That’s what great comic timing is all about. It’ll also ensure they don’t miss what you say next and will put everyone at their ease for listening out for the next laugh. You’ll feel like you’ve never been so popular!
Try to relax – after all, the guests are your friends, and they all like you
Yes, this is the easiest crowd to win over, you simply can’t go wrong! And if you do feel like you’ve ‘gone wrong’ they won’t even mind!
Unless you have a great talent for it, don’t ad-lib – stick to the script
Not all of us have the ‘gift of the gab’ so stick to the script and you’ll be sure to avoid nervous pauses and faux pas.
Don’t be tempted to do the speeches before the meal
Try to avoid this as your audience will always be more responsive after a few drinks!
If you’re unsure about your speech, show it to a trusted friend
A second opinion can help you to get it right but do this at least a week before the big day, so that there’s enough time to change it.
Have your speech professionally written
If you are really suffering from writer’s block, you may consider the services of a speechwriter – it’ll take away the most stressful part of your wedding day so you can focus on the most important thing – having a good time!
Take a deep breath – what to do when it’s going wrong
Sometimes it takes a little time for the guests to warm to speeches. Even if your first joke falls flat, it doesn’t mean that all of your speech will. Stick to the plan and don’t let it bother you – it will get better.
If you’ve really tried to make your speech work, and it’s turning into a disaster, pull the plug and speak from the heart. Tell the guests how you really feel about your husband/wife/daughter and make it positive.
If you get emotional, it doesn’t matter – your guests will feel for you (and some will join you in a tear or two). It’s the emotional heart-felt words that will stay with those listening, not the jokes.
Once it’s all over, you won’t believe you felt so stressed about it. Treat it as a fun part of the day and enjoy it!
Floating Fish are a totally bespoke, personal writing service who specialise in wedding speeches, with a team of experienced writers who create outstanding speeches tailored to your exact needs. Take a look at wedding speech writers
Kate Thompson is Confetti's features editor and wedding expert, and has worked in the wedding industry for 15 years. A widely published lifestyle writer, she has made BBC television and radio appearances discussing wedding trends in the UK.