Groom and best men speeches are traditionally funny and tongue in cheek, but should a bride’s speech be the same? What are the issues that worry brides as they plan their speech? In this practical guide, Robin Kermode, Europe’s leading communication coach identifies how women can look to challenge the traditional wedding stereotype and deliver a truly knock out speech!
While we are seeing a rise in the number of brides wanting to make a speech at their weddings, the number is probably not as high as you might first think it is. A lot of brides seem not to want to speak. The main reason seems to be that they feel they migt have enough stress on their wedding day without having to worry about giving a speech!
But it needn’t be too stressful. Here are some top tips to help you say what you want to say and enjoy the day too!
Dealing with nerves
Before you stand up to speak, breathe in through your nose slowly for a count of three; then breathe out for a count of three. Repeat this three times. This should take a total of 18 seconds. In that time you can lower your heart rate and you will feel calmer. And the good thing with this breathing exercise is that no-one can see you doing it!
There is no pressure on you to be funny
If you are naturally funny then, of course, feel free to bring the house down, but only if you find it easy. Your audience won’t necessarily expect the bride to be a stand-up comedienne. It’s your wedding day – just be genuine and mean what you say.
Start by telling them a personal story
This will grab their attention right away. Most people waffle at the start of their speech but this will help you to jump straight in. For example, “On July 9th last year, I went Ten Pin Bowling and happened to bump into an exceptionally good looking man …”
Just tell them how you feel. If you simply said, “As a child I read all the usual fairy stories. Well today, I feel like I’m starring in my own Fairy Story. Because today I know, deep in my soul, that I have found my very own Prince Charming”, I guarantee there would not be a dry eye in the room!
Use normal words
Don’t use over-formal words because they will make you sound formal and feel too stiff. “It’s great to see you all here” is so much better than “It’s a great pleasure to welcome you here on this auspicious occasion”.
Use your own voice
Speak as if you’re talking to your friends in the pub. Try not to put on your ‘poshest’ voice or your ‘public speaking’ voice.
Let the microphone do the work
You will sound more natural if you don’t speak too loudly. Using a natural volume will make you feel more relaxed, more real and more like yourself.
It’s generally advisable to speak for no longer than three to five minutes. And once you’ve planned your speech, time yourself so you know how long it will actually take. The biggest advice here is ‘Less is More’. A really genuine two minutes is so much better than a waffley five!
When you stand up to speak, wait two or three seconds before speaking. This will give you time to compose yourself and will make you look more confident.
This is your wedding day. You can do exactly as you want, so enjoy it. If you want to be funny then be funny. If you want to be serious, be serious. If you want to tell the world how you feel, then do it. It’s your day. So all the best of luck to you, and have the best day of your life!
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Robin Kermode is one of Europe’s leading speech directors and private speech coach for those looking to improve both public and personal communication skills. Working with a range of individuals including: senior executives, entrepreneurs, politicians, auctioneers, charities, corporate teams and media personalities, he has been coaching personal and public communication skills for over ten years.