Wedding

10 Tips For The Best Wedding Speech Of Your Life

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Hello best man and maid of honour! Here’s a post just for you – we’re tackling the tricky subject of wedding speeches. If you’re not a public speaking aficionado, wedding speeches are probably something you want to avoid at all costs, but a little preparation and you’ll be as well-spoken as Her Majesty.


 

1. Deep breaths. It’s all okay.

Remember that time in school where you had to stand up and talk for five minutes about Macbeth, metaphors, and ghosts? We promise you, wedding speeches not as bad. For one, you actually like the topic you’re speaking about (unless you’re me, a Shakespeare fangirl). For another, you’re not doing it for a grade. This is a speech that’s about sentiment and love, and a longstanding friendship. See? It’s already easier.

2. Jokes are good… just consider your audience.

For all the guys (and girls) out there who’ve read The Best Man’s Guide To Speeches, this isn’t the time where all those poker-night jokes are par for the course. (Sorry.) You’re not just speaking to your friends, you’re also speaking to the bride and groom’s families… which may very well include a very conservative Nana or two. Of course, humour is absolutely great – just remember to ask yourself whether you’d make this same joke in front of, say, your local priest. If not, maybe think about nixing it.

3. Cover all your bases.

Want to know the difference between good wedding speeches and fabulous speeches? The fabulous one hits all the right notes. You don’t have to be a world-class orator to get this right, either. In order:

  • Welcome everyone: Super easy. Mention the newlyweds, mention how happy you are to be there, and mention anyone who’s important (parents, bridal party, people who have travelled a long way).
  • Story time: A personal story is a gorgeous touch – whether it’s that funny moment with the groom that you’ll forever hold over his head, or the time the bride first fell for the groom. You can mention anything that will make the others shed a tear. (Look back up at point two. Same rule applies.)
  • Quote someone: Or, offer your own advice. Usually it’s easier to rely on someone else’s wisdom, but if you’re a married man or woman, you might have your own gems to share. You can also personalise this to your heart’s content – for example, you might offer advice by saying that the bride isn’t the best of morning people, so the groom would do well to approach her with coffee of a morning. Something funny, something sweet. You can’t go wrong.
  • Cheers! Toast the couple and share your good wishes for the future. Sip your Champagne, sit down, and relax. DONE.

4. Be prepared.

It was Alexander Graham Bell who so aptly said that before anything else, preparation is the key to success – and it holds just as true for wedding speeches. Start jotting down ideas a few weeks before the wedding day. A speech hastily scrawled on a napkin isn’t going to be your best effort, and will undoubtedly just leave you more nervous than you would be with just a bit of a prepared speech behind you! Practice speaking, too. It’s a great way to pace yourself and familiarise yourself with what you want to say.

5. Make sure your notes are legible.

At uni, I was unfortunately forced to do public speaking courses. (Hello, introvert – I hated every moment.) Despite the shaking knees and butterfly-filled stomach, there were some fabulous tips we learned – and one of those is to eschew palm cards, and instead go for an A4 sheet of paper with your speech on it in large type. You’re more likely to fumble palm cards and lose your place, whereas with one piece of paper, you’re always going to be in order; with large type, there’ll be no unsightly squinting and awkward pauses as you try to find where you were.

6. Consider what’s in your speech.

At a recent wedding I attended, the father of the bride was incredibly nervous, and rather than devoting his speech to the newlyweds, wandered off on a tangent about the family farm. While he did pull it back on track, his written speech actually made mention of the farm plenty of times, a note which we were all a bit confused by. You might really, really love something (last night’s episode of CSI might have had you on the edge of your seat), but unless it’s really worth mentioning in the context of a wedding, leave it for small talk.

7. Short and sweet is all you need.

A point everyone is no doubt cheering over – we all know the best wedding speeches are the short speeches. Say what needs to be said, and nothing more. You don’t want the guests to glass over and dream of any other moment than this. A good guideline is three to five minutes, or 1000 words at the most. You might not even need that amount if you speak slowly, clearly, and pause for effect.

8. Don’t mention exes.

A hopefully obvious point, but one to remember: exes are verboten at weddings. Don’t bring up exes in your speech, and definitely do not refer to them as ‘the one that got away’. Just… don’t. It’s a recipe for disaster.

9. Make any compliments sincere.

“How about those bridesmaids, huh?” Yeah, it comes across as tacky, doesn’t it? Genuine compliments are the way to go – compliment character as well as looks, and involve your audience. “Don’t the bridesmaids look beautiful – and haven’t they done a great job helping with everything today?” Cue raucous applause.

10. Reminisce, don’t mock.

Sure, the groom does some really stupid things sometimes. Sometimes the bride can be a little overbearing. But just like people have irritating bad habits, they also have myriad wonderful qualities. Make sure you’re complimenting their great qualities in your stories, too, and that if you are teasing, you do so in a gentle way that people recognise as playful fun.


Seem overwhelming? Don’t stress. Take it all slowly, give yourself time, and you’ll be delivering a speech worthy of the loudest cheers.


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