Wedding Speeches: Don’t Worry, Everybody Loves You
Even experienced speakers tend to get nervous when it comes to wedding speeches or toasts. So when it comes your turn, remember, the two secrets to a good speech are preparation and delivery.
The best preparation is to write down what you want to say. Start by writing a few notes on a page, and progress to writing your speech out in full. Then practice it, literally. Maybe get a friend to sit there and listen to your delivery. You may have a fantasy that you want to just be spontaneous and unrehearsed; well that is what you will sound like unless you take this seriously enough to prepare. The old adage “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” certainly applies here.
Your delivery also can benefit from a few pointers and some rehearsal. First of all, don’t drink too much before your wedding speech, tempting as that may be to calm your nerves.
Secondly, slow down. Let your points sink in and, if you include a little humor, wait for the laughs. Breathe, sip some water, and take your time. When you’re on center stage, stand with your weight evenly on both feet and gaze out upon the audience for just a moment before you begin. If you have to hold a written copy of your speech, that’s all right, just look up and make eye contact with the collective group of guests more than you look down at the paper. Think about the audience while you deliver in order to engage their attention. You’ll come off more sincere and at ease. Remember, this is a performance, but it is not an act.
3 Types of Wedding Speeches
Generally, there are three kinds of wedding speeches delivered at the reception; bride’s father’s speech, bridegroom’s speech, and best man’s speech. Today’s weddings tend to be less formal, so it is perfectly acceptable for the bride, or maid of honor, or any of the parents to stand up and speak. Often the best man acts as a toastmaster, and he will be inclined to begin with the father of the bride, but if that is not you, try to go next, so you can enjoy the rest of the celebration.
The bridegroom’s speech needs to be the most gracious and generally will be the last for the day. It’s appropriate during his speech to acknowledge his parents for their love and care raising him. Also, the groom can take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped pay for the celebration (without actually mentioning money) and all who worked to make the event a success. This will include bridesmaids, ushers, and whoever helped decorate, cook or set up tables. At this time he can also remember all those who could not attend or close family members who may have passed away.
Final advice, wedding speeches are most effective if they are personal, light hearted, even funny and short.